For joint pain sufferers, painkillers and cortisone shots can cause unwanted side-effects and possible further damage.
There is an alternative treatment that avoids adverse side-effects and delivers significant and long-lasting relief: Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections help regenerate and remodel the connective tissues and bony surfaces of affected joints, reducing chronic pain, diminishing inflammation, and dramatically increasing functionality.
The photo story below shows the main aspects of this natural, safe and highly effective outpatient procedure.
Step 1: Utilizing a highly specialized and high-quality plasma kit, the patient’s own blood is drawn into sterile blood collection vacuum-sealed tubes and placed on a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the plasma containing the platelets.
Step 2: The different components of the blood are separated. The red blood cells are collected at the bottom of the tube and the plasma, with the platelets, remains on top.
The platelets in the plasma hold tissue-forming and healing substances known as “Growth Factors”. Because the red cells are separated and removed from the blood sample, the platelets become more concentrated, which increases the presence of growth factors by a factor of eight. The growth factors are activated with calcium, forming a very active and potent biological serum.
When injected into the worn out, severely inflamed and ulcerated connective tissues and irregular osteo-arthritic/osteoporotic bony surfaces, the microphages function is activated in order to clean the debris, damaged and torn tissue within the affected area. After performing their cleaning duty, these macrophages become stem cells, and also give the signal for massive production of stem cells for the different tissues that need to be repaired and/or regenerated.
Patients may start feeling improvement within 3 to 4 days after the injection, when the first peak of growth is established. The second peak of growth happens around week 3 and this is the best moment to reinforce the initial procedure to cause the growing new tissues to become even thicker and stronger.
Once the signal for progressive and sustained long-term regeneration of cartilage, tendons, muscles, ligaments and bone reaches its maximum peak growth (around the third month after the injection procedure), it continues and stabilizes for over a year and a half, and can only be disrupted by poor nutrition, lack of circulation, repetitive micro- trauma, new trauma, recurrent faulty posture and/or toxic exposure.
Step 3: A therapeutic ultrasound procedure is used to help increase the circulation and the metabolism in the area to be treated, to remove any residual irritants and non-effective inflammatory cells or fluid, and to make the collagen fibers more extensible.
Step 4: A precise application of the activated plasma serum is made through a gentle and safe injection procedure. The “healing inflammatory cascade” produced by injecting the patient’s own plasma is highly effective to regenerate new, healthy and strong tissue, and it is much more comfortable, controlled and gentle than when utilizing an economical but very painful, prolotherapy solution with dextrose.
The benefits of PRP injections are:
- No risk of an auto-immune or allergic reaction, since it uses and harnesses the power of the patient’s own blood.
- Highly effective, gradual and long-standing regeneration of connective tissues and articular surfaces it comes in contact with; including ligament, tendon, cartilage, fascia and bone.
- Controlled inflammation causes mild discomfort, if any, for only one or two days.
- Uses the body’s own genetic codes for repair and regeneration, knowing how much tissue to restore, develop and remodel based on every tissue’s specific function, tensile or weight- bearing demands.
- Outpatient procedure with minimal or no downtime at all.
- Weight bearing allowed upon patient’s comfort level, which is different when compared to very painful dextrose prolotherapy injections that require a non-weight bearing/partial weight bearing during a 3 to 5 day recovery period.
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This post was written by Dr. Claudia Chica