New Treatment Offers Glimpse into Medicine's Future

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Platelet-Rich Plasma is a natural therapy for soft-tissue injuries and conditions and may represent the future of medicine.

“If you believe in a holistic manner of treatment then PRP is a natural way to help the body jump start the healing process."

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Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) may be the beginning of future medical possibilities where doctors cure patients with debilitating injuries and conditions using cells from patients’ own bodies. Doctors at The Orthopaedic Center (TOC) in Huntsville, Alabama have begun using Platelet-Rich Plasma on patients trying to heal soft-tissue injuries while avoiding the rigors of surgery.

During PRP, a doctor concentrates the patient's blood platelets (naturally occurring blood components that stimulate healing) by spinning a small sample of blood in a centrifuge. Those platelets are then delivered directly to soft-tissue injuries. The entire process takes about an hour and requires only a standard blood draw and simple injection. “PRP is a simple concept: using the person's own growth factors that normally circulate in their blood, concentrate them and place them where they need to be to stimulate the healing response,” says Stanton Davis, M.D., former team physician for the San Fransisco 49ers and Auburn University. Dr. Davis now performs orthopaedic surgery and PRP at The Orthopedic Center (TOC) in Huntsville, Alabama. “In orthopaedic surgery the time for recovery is limited only by how quickly tissue can heal. PRP may jumpstart that process,” Dr. Davis added.

“PRP is a safe and 'natural' therapy because it uses the patient's own blood product that once separated, is immediately re-injected for optimal results,” said Dr. Davis. The PRP process is very safe, with almost no risk of side effects because the platelets come from the patient. “It (PRP) potentially speeds healing and recovery for athletes and other individuals who need to return to prior sports and activities as quickly as possible,” says TOC orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine expert, Dr. Michael Cantrell. Last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruled athletes would not be restricted in their use of PRP. “Most major league sports organizations and even the World Anti-Doping Association have approved the use of PRP on athletes, due to a lack of evidence that PRP enhances athletic performance,” Dr. Davis said.

Because of the rapid emergence of PRP as a therapy, researchers have been desperately trying to keep up. A variety of PRP studies have shown varying degrees of success in tendonitis, Achilles tendinosis, plantar faciitis, osteoarthritis, knee ligament injuries, and muscle tears. A recent study found PRP more effective in treating tennis elbow than corticosteroid. Because of these applications, PRP has been widely used in professional athletics. Hines Ward, Troy Palamalu, and Tiger Woods are among a growing list of professional athletes who have used PRP to expedite their own healing. “Blood platelets are your body’s own ultimate vitamins,” says Dr. John Greco, head team physician for Alabama A&M University and orthopaedic surgeon at TOC. Dr. Greco continues, “If you believe in a holistic manner of treatment then PRP is a natural way to help the body jump start the healing process.”

PRP has far more potential to improve quality of life in patients wishing to avoid the rigors of surgical repair than in professional athletics. Because Platelet-Rich Plasma is an emerging therapy with amazing healing potential and minimal side effects, The Orthopaedic Center currently offers it as an option for certain patients who have failed conventional treatment methods.

The Orthopaedic Center in Huntsville, Alabama provides the ultimate orthopaedic care. For more information on PRP, please visit The Orthopaedic Center’s PRP website: http://www.huntsvilleprp.com or call TOC directly at (256) 539-2728.

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