As it pertains to our professional athletes, there appears to be a negative connotation with the mere mention of performance enhancement, as the acronym PED’s (or Performance Enhancing Drugs) is now a part of the English vernacular. But legitimately injured athletes (professional or otherwise) have the ability nowadays to take advantage of perfectly “legal” technology to aid in healing and recovery: I’m speaking of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy has actually been around since the 1990’s, used primarily by some Plastic and Oral surgeons to aid healing. It’s an emerging treatment in a new health sector known as “Regenerative Medicine” or “Orthobiologics”. Athletes such as Tiger Woods, former and current Pittsburgh Steeler players (yes…I am a HUGE Steeler fan!) Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu, have received this treatment. No, PRP is not ‘stem cell therapy’, but rather an injection of concentrated autologous (i.e. your own) platelets delivered to the site of injury or needed repair. Platelets (which are cells that circulate in the blood and clot to keep us from bleeding) contain growth factors which ramp up your body’s ability to heal and repair. In theory, obtaining a ‘super concentrate’ of platelets (or PRP) and subsequently injecting it will secrete a large amount of growth factors that will spur bone healing and/or aid in tissue recovery.
Although a bit simplistic, for the sake of this blog, the method of PRP therapy is as follows:
1. A small amount of blood is drawn from the patient through a simple venipuncture collected in a vial.
2. This vial is then “spun” in a centrifuge, which separates the platelet rich plasma (PRP) from the other components of the whole blood.
3. The doctor will then inject this concentrate (PRP) to the needed site.
Advanced Foot and Ankle Care Centers is proud to offer state-of-the-art regenerative techniques such as PRP as one of the many options patients have in hopes of expediting the healing process. Not all conditions, of course, require this process. Feel free to schedule an appointment at any of our 4 locations, including Troy, to see if this technology may be useful for you.