Santa Rosa Orthopaedic’s Hand Center Now Offering Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) for Patients with Chronic Pain Issues

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SRO orthopaedic surgeons discuss the benefits of PRP treatments and reflect on new studies supporting the use of PRP to promote the healing process

Dr. Kai-Uwe Mazur and Dr. Dominic Mintalucci

This procedure helps to enhance the body's natural healing response, and generally results in pain relief, ultimately helping the patient to return to normal activities.

When it comes to the treatment of both acute and chronic soft tissue injuries, platelet-rich plasma injection (PRP) is a therapeutic procedure that is non-surgical, acts to reduce pain and provide long-term relief. New studies have recently indicated that PRP may also offer increased healing potential in tissues surrounding an injury.

“PRP is a relatively simple procedure,” explains SRO orthopaedic surgeon Dominic J. Mintalucci, M.D. “It involves collecting blood from the patient then separating the blood platelets using centrifuge, followed by injecting the nutrient rich platelets back into the patient's site of injury. This procedure helps to enhance the body's natural healing response, and generally results in pain relief, ultimately helping the patient to return to normal activities.”

A Brief History of PRP

PRP has been around since the 1970s and was first used in an open heart surgery as early as 1987. Doctors have used Platelet Rich Plasma therapy on an increasing basis since the mid-1990s focused primarily on repairing bone structures following spinal injury and aiding in soft tissue recovery following plastic surgery.

From early 2000 onward orthopaedic surgeons and reconstructive specialists have reported that PRP helps to enhance the body’s natural healing process in both bone and tissue, while offering pain relief to patients with chronic pain issues. “More and more scientific studies are now supporting the fact that non-invasive PRP treatments have the potential to support cartilage health and reduce pain,” Dr. Mintalucci says.

What are Platelets?

Platelets are cells that clot blood and contain over 300 active growth factors. They also contain hormones that help to facilitate growth and healing. The process of extraction followed by centrifugation of the blood allows platelet-rich plasma to be separated from the original sample which is then injected into the site of the injury. For those patients whose tissues are aging and therefore have a slower or reduced ability to repair and regenerate, the growth factors in PRP can help to improve the body’s healing ability.

How is PRP Different from Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy and PRP therapy are among the newest advanced regenerative treatments available today, and they are often confused with one another. While stem cells have the ability to differentiate and form brand new cells, platelets are a small fragment of blood cells, which help in clotting and enhance the healing process. The growth factors present in the platelets work to simulate those cells essential for a quicker recovery.

Most recently, famous athletes like Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and A-Rod have all been in the news for their use of PRP, presumably helping to keep them at the top of their game. Researchers support the many positive findings of athletes.One recent study conducted by the University of Alberta reported improvements in pain and mobility as well as improvements in the tissue in a group of patients suffering from rotator cuff tendinopathy. Results were evident in MRIs taken before and after which showed structural change and a decrease in the size of tears.

“We are finding that our patients who are treated with PRP injections also report improvements in pain and mobility,” says SRO Hand Center’s Dr. Kai-Uwe Mazur. “The evidence that these treatments may work to improve the healing in the surrounding tissue is encouraging for other patients who might like to take advantage of this procedure.”

An added benefit of PRP therapy is that the patient faces less risk of infection or allergic reactions due to the procedure, as the injected platelets are of their own blood. This combined with the fact that the procedure itself is quick and does not require general anesthesia or a prolonged recovery makes it a viable option for situations where standard treatments have proven to be ineffective.

About SRO

Dr. Mazur and Dr. Mintalucci both provide PRP injections to promote quicker healing and less pain as a compliment to the many other advanced surgeries and treatment options available to patients through the Hand Center. PRP treatments are also available through the Centers of Excellence from other SRO surgeons.

The SRO Hand Center affords each patient state-of-the-art medical care in a friendly and compassionate environment. The SRO team treatment model focuses on diagnostics and meticulous surgical details, in addition to carefully monitored post-surgical rehabilitation and recovery. For more information, visit the SRO website. For a consultation call 707-546-1922 (option #1) and request an appointment.

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John Beilharz
@srortho
since: 12/2013
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