Applications for Platelet Rich Plasma

My experience with PRP is now about 2 years old. PRP is prepared from the patient’s own blood and is and is concentrated by density separation — some kind of centrifuge — in a range that can vary from 2 fold to 12 fold; it is then injected back into the body using local anesthetic to numb the area.  I have been using the Autologel system and the Angel system from Cytomedix, Inc., a company for which I am a consultant.  Part of my role is to try and figure out if PRP is effective and, if so, what is the right dose?

There is pretty good evidence that PRP really helps the closure of open wounds; it helps the body close a “gap,” and it kills bacteria.

In my hands PRP is at least as good as cortisone –– and without the cortisone side effect — for tendinopathy and for moderate arthritis of the knee. We are conducting studies to determine if one injection is sufficient, and to assess what the correct dose might be.  The proteins in PRP are “growth factors,” so the potential for regenerating tissue in some respects is not just a fantasy. One of the tricks of working with growth factors is that they need to be activated just at the right time and place; it is possible that a high dose is good for some applications and a lower dose for others. So far I have used PRP in the shoulder, the elbow, the knee, and the foot with good success.  Even if treatment does not result in a complete cure, it is worthwhile for many patients to explore methods that are non surgical and relatively low risk. Sometimes a high level of improvement, especially for athletes, is quite sufficient to keep them in the game — albeit not perfect!

The interested reader should go to pubmed.org, the database of the National Library of Medicine. You will find articles both pro and con. This is often the case with new ideas in medicine.