I remember it like it was yesterday. While playing racquetball in December 2011, I felt a sudden click in my right knee. I just knew that I had torn my right knee medial meniscus. The knee MRI proved it. The pain was excruciating, and it was compounded by the thought that this happened 9 weeks before my annual Rocky Mountain ski trip.
The misery did not last long though. I’ve been through this scenario before. I did the exact same thing to my left knee in 2010. (I have the MRI for that one, too!) So, I turned to the revolutionary treatment that got me back up on my feet and on the slopes last time this happened.
If I had gone the surgery route, my trip would have been cancelled, as surgery and rehab can take 3-6 months – with no guarantee of outcome. But I was on the slopes as planned! — Not just any slopes, but the “Expert” slopes! I skied for three gorgeous days in a row without pain or problems! No surgery. No downtime. No rehabilitation. Just a simple injection and then my body did the rest. I was completely healed, completely pain free by the time I left for my trip. All this only eight weeks after treating my right knee.
Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not…it’s PRP – platelet rich plasma. PRP is the cutting-edge therapy that even professional athletes have turned to when faced with career-limiting injuries.
PRP is short for platelet rich plasma. With PRP, a patient’s own blood is drawn and the platelets are extracted into a small amount of your own blood plasma. Platelets contain numerous beneficial, natural growth factors and chemical messengers that initiate and aid in healing and tissue regeneration. As the PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood, there is no risk for rejection or disease transmission. The PRP is then injected into the injury site. In my case, my knee. It’s that simple. Still not convinced? Let’s compare PRP therapy versus traditional arthroscopic knee surgery, which would be the usual prescribed course of treatment for an MRI proven torn meniscus.
Risks associated with Surgery may include:
- Possible complications due to anesthesia
- The surgical procedure itself – with no guarantee of pain relief
- Increased knee pain during recovery process
- 3-6 months rehabilitation after surgery
- 3 hours or more of lost work per week due to therapy plus drive time to appointment
- Use of narcotics to manage pain
- Possible risk of addiction to pain killers
Risks associated with PRP:
- Essentially zero
Pretty startling contrast between the two, don’t you think? Oftentimes, patients may complain PRP is not covered by traditional insurance and therefore too expensive to pay out-of-pocket. If you look at it a different way: Add up the co-payments associated with both the surgery and 3-6 months of rehabilitative therapy plus the missed time at work, you could have easily covered the cost of PRP therapy. That does not even include the downtime that you will have before and following surgery.
Remember, with PRP therapy there is no recovery time, no anesthesia, no narcotics, no downtime. You have one shot on Friday and are back to work on Monday.
PRP may not be right for every situation, but if you have an injury or condition that you’ve been told requires surgery, it’s definitely worth checking out! This is true not only for knee problems (not limited to a torn meniscus) but also for shoulder pain, rotator cuff injuries, hip pains, ankle injuries and plantar fasciitis (foot pain.) Remember: surgery is irreversible and narcotics are addictive. Surgery never comes with a guarantee and frequently patients have more pain after the surgical procedure. Avoid them if at all possible! For more information on the non-surgical treatment of joint pains and learn more about Sarasota PRP here.
I remember discussing my knee with my physical therapist friend who marveled at my rapid, complete recovery. He looked at me and said, “Why isn’t there a line out your door right now of patients waiting to get PRP instead of surgery?” I thought to myself, “He’s right. Too many patients are getting knee, shoulder and foot surgery who could do extremely well with PRP therapy.”
Ready to make your appointment today and start living pain free?