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?
Posted in Pain, Platelet Rich Plasma and tagged avoid surgery, blood, growth factors, healing, injuries, knee pain, meniscus, MRI, natural, Pain, platelet, platelet rich, Platelet Rich Plasma, platelets, PRP, PRP therapy, rich plasma, Surgery, therapist by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been used medically since the late 1990’s. Dentists were the first to use this natural healing mechanism to improve outcomes of dental procedures. PRP has been used since 2000 for intraoperative (in the course of surgery) therapy following orthopedic, thoracic and cardiac surgical procedures. PRP has found wide use in non-surgical orthopedic treatment of knee pain and other joint injuries.
Platelet rich plasma also can heal injured tendons, ligaments, muscle, cartilage and bone. Major league sports has discovered the incredible natural healing effects of PRP. Many national and international sports leagues have adopted PRP therapy as one of the first line treatments of their injured athletes. Professional sports has recognized the economic value of PRP in that one PRP treatment costs $1500-2000 as compared to the typical orthopedic surgery which can range from $20,000 – 40,000. Additionally PRP has virtually no down time and does not require months of physical rehabilitation. Platelet rich plasma has become an early treatment option in the treatment of professional athletes that have suffered muscle, joint, tendon and ligament injures.
NFL Players Who Have Received PRP
Hines Ward, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, has use platelet rich plasma therapy on at least two occasions for a torn medial collateral ligament — a knee injury. The use of PRP allowed him to go on and win two Super Bowls. Mr. Ward has attributed his ability to play to receiving PRP.
Other NFL players have successfully been treated with PRP for various injuries. Troy Polamalu, a Steeler’s defensive safety, has had his share of traumatic injuries. As one of the top defensive players, Polamalu has had repeated trauma to his knees. He had one significant MCL injury for which he had PRP therapy.
Donald Jones of the Buffalo Bills and Andre Dixon of the Hartford Colonials have also had PRP therapy for their injuries -all with excellent success. Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson suffered a high ankle sprain. To expedite the recovery process, Johnson underwent platelet rich plasma therapy.
These professional athletes were able to get back to playing football in only a few short weeks, instead of the normal 2-4 months of healing and rehabilitation time it take for more conventional therapies. Surgical treatment would sideline these highly trained athletes for a whole season. NFL physicians have discovered that PRP is the answer to getting these players healed quickly, with needing to resort to surgery. Platelet rich plasma regenerates new, stronger tissue in these injured players.
Major League Baseball and PRP
Alex Rodriguez, one of Major League Baseball’s most famous players used five PRP treatments to accelerate healing and recovery following hip surgery that left him in pain. His trainers were amazed to see how much faster A-Rod was able to get back into playing baseball.
Takashi Saito suffered an elbow injury in his pitching arm while playing as a Pitcher for the LA. At 38, surgery was not a good option, as recovery could have taken as much as 9 months. He had PRP therapy and was able to resume pitching in only a few weeks. Saito credited his unlikely recovery from a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament to PRP therapy.
In one year, Major League Baseball’s 30 teams had 519 players who spent 28,602 days on the disabled list for injuries sustained while playing baseball. This represented $455 million in total salary sitting idle, as these athletes were sidelined. PRP therapy can and does have a major effect in reducing recovery and down time.
National Basketball Association and PGA
One of the most famous basketball players, Kobe Bryant, has had several arthroscopic knee surgeries for right knee pain. He went to Germany to receive platelet rich plasma therapy. Being in his 30’s, he did not see more surgery as a good alternative. The promise of non-surgical, more rapid improvement with PRP therapy for his knee pain convinced this basketball legend to undergo therapy. Similarly professional golf star, Tiger Woods has undergone platelet rich plasma therapy more than once following ACL reconstructive surgery. His knee pain continued after surgery and he went with PRP with beneficial results.
National Tennis and World Soccer
Other major national and international sports have recognized PRP therapy as an outstanding alternative to “standard” conservative therapy and certainly its benefits over surgical intervention. World tennis star, Rafael Nadal underwent PRP therapy after injuring his knee. His physician, Dr. Mikel Sanchez, described platelet rich plasma as a miraculous regenerative treatment. Indeed, that is what PRP does, regenerates new tissue. Major League Soccer players have also discovered the potential for better, rapid healing with PRP therapy.
Jonathan Bornstein, one of the top new young stars in soccer, twisted his knee resulting in a torn ligament. Facing the prospect of being out of playing soccer for 10 weeks, Bornstein elected to have PRP for his knee injury. He was back to running in 3 weeks and was ready to resume playing soccer only 2 weeks later. The list of professional athletes in a broad range of Major League sports, who have undergone platelet rich plasma therapy is growing every week. This list is beyond the scope of this article. The conclusion though is that PRP therapy is here to stay in the treatment of these injured, highly trained athletes.
PRP therapy is considered to be acceptable medical therapy by the International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency and most professional sports association. Platelet rich plasma therapy is distinctly not blood doping and has been ruled on by the IOC and WADA as well as professional athletic associations.
Platelet rich plasma is a novel, non-surgical therapy to heal injured tissue. The platelets contain growth factors, cytokines and other agents that trigger the healing cascade. The difference is, is that with PRP therapy, a massively concentrated amount of platelets and supporting proteins are injected directly into the damage tissue. The body uses the same natural healing process for injuries but not in this high concentration. With this high concentration of healing platelets and growth factors, injured tissues can be regenerated and healed in only a few weeks. Many patients can have pain relief in 3 weeks. Many other painful conditions can be treated with PRP. If you suffer from joint, muscle, tendon or back pain – contact Sarasota Neurology for PRP therapy in Sarasota.
Posted in Back Pain, Pain, Platelet Rich Plasma and tagged Hines Ward, injuries, joint pain, knee pain, Major League Baseball, NFL, olympic, orthopedic, Pain, Pittsburgh Steelers, platelet, Platelet Rich Plasma, PRP, PRP therapy, prp therapy sarasota, rafael nadal, Tiger Woods by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.