Regenerative medicine is still deemed experimental in the United States. It is not covered by insurance or medicare. However, the results are so impressive that people like Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant are traveling overseas to get it.
The human body is in a constant state of degradation and repair. If we sustain an injury, tissue factors are released and this leads to a cascade of chemical signals that starts the repair process. This is known as “inflammation”. These signals call small cellular workers to the site of injury that clean up the debris and signal the surrounding area to lay down new tissue.
However, as we age that balance gets tilted towards more degeneration, and less regeneration. Due to a variety of genetic, environmental, and other factors, the inflammation is there but the process of repair is sluggish. Injury occurs and the site doesn’t completely heal, leading to scar tissue, poor blood flow, and chronic pain.
Platelets are a key cellular component to this process. When injury occurs, they release a myriad of chemical growth factors and signals that starts the process. We can now use this to our advantage. We can draw blood from your body and spin it down in a centrifuge. This separates the sample into layers of red blood cells, platelet poor plasma, and platelet rich plasma. It is the platelet rich plasma (PRP) that is drawn off and reinjected into your site of chronic injury.
This supraphysiologic concentrate has over thirty growth factors and signaling molecules. And best of all, it’s your tissue. There’s no chance of allergic reaction or rejection. Complications are incredibly low; much lower than putting medications and other foreign substances into your body.
This therapy is extremely effective for soft tissue injury like tendons and muscles. Tennis elbow, rotator cuff tendinits, bursitis of the hip, and plantar fasciits all respond very well to this therapy. The next most common area is injection into the knee, hip, and shoulder to treat cartilage injuries. And finally, early data is showing promising results by injecting it into the discs and facet joints to treat chronic back pain and avoid surgery.
The illustrations below demonstrate how we extract the PRP and areas we can treat.
As I stated in the beginning, this is considered experimental and is not covered by insurance or medicare. It is paid entirely by the patient. However, many patients have failed all other options and like the idea of using their own tissue factors to heal their body and avoid medications or surgery. I have used it on myself multiple times and I have been extremely happy.