Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) speeds up and enhances the healing process
The latest treatment being utilized by orthopedic surgeons, heart surgeons, and even plastic surgeons does not involve adding or taking anything away from the body—just rearranging it. Used by dentists since the 1970s, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) speeds up and enhances the healing process when injected into specific areas of the body, whether in tendons, ligaments, cartilage, or heart tissue. PRP is the product of a process called blood spinning, in which a physician takes a couple of ounces of blood from a patient, spins it in a centrifuge to extract the platelets, and then injects the platelet-rich plasma into the patient’s injury site. Responsible for the secretion of growth factors that promote healing, platelets—or blood concentrated with them—have become the favored method of injury recovery among athletes, as well as a growing percentage of the general population.
While PRP is a relatively new treatment and further scientific research is required to determine the most effective approach, few problems have arisen from its use, primarily because patients are receiving injections of their own tissue. It is for this same reason that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate PRP, only the blood-spinning equipment. Patients mainly complain about pain. This is because fluid is being injected in places where it normally does not exist, at least not in substantial amounts. In response, doctors numb the injection site and provide patients with pain medication.
Although completely legal—even for athletes—PRP can be rather expensive for those of us not playing in the major leagues. The cost of each treatment ranges from $500 to $1,000, which insurance companies seldom cover due to the experimental status of PRP.
Hopefully, as further research is conducted, the price of receiving PRP will decrease, allowing more of the population access to it. As a California injury lawyer who has helped accident victims recover from injuries for many years, I look forward to the advancements in injury recovery care that will accompany this new medical technology.
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