March 1, 2016

Natural Injections to Promote Healing

St. George Health & Wellness

By Dr. Todd Parry and Dr. Randy Clark

Do you have a stubborn tendon injury? New technology has provided us with another option to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.

There has been a lot of interest in the use of platelet rich plasma (PRP). This is an exciting new technology that allows the surgeon to inject a concentrated group of the body’s own healing factors into torn or injured tissues. The healing factors (platelets, enzymes, proteins) are concentrated from one’s own blood and re-injected to promote the body’s own healing response. We would like to take this opportunity to clarify the indications and limitations of this treatment option.

First, let’s review what PRP is. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a portion of one’s own blood which has been spun down in a centrifuge to isolate certain factors and proteins. Plasma and platelets are separated from red blood cells and white blood cells. Due to these growth factors, many investigators have postulated that PRP may be beneficial in conditions that require tissue healing. It is felt these recruit and concentrate the healing mechanism of the body to the tissues in which they are placed.

Platelet rich plasma has multiple orthopedic applications:

PRP has an excellent application for chronic tendinopathy. Tennis elbow is effectively treated with platelet rich plasma injections. PRP has shown to be more effective then local injections of anesthetic, whole blood or corticosteroids.

There has been some use of PRP with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and even rotator cuff repair. Early studies show some accelerated graft maturation and healing with the use of PRP in ACL reconstruction, but not much beneficial use for PRP for rotator cuff repairs.

Achilles tendon repairs supplemented with the use of PRP demonstrated faster recovery of range of motion and time to running, in some, but not all of the studies.

Though PRP has not been shown to make bones heal faster, it does contain factors that have been shown to be critical to joint repair. In some orthopedic studies, platelet rich plasma has shown promise with improved joint related pain and excellent clinical outcomes as compared to other orthopedic injectable options. There is excellent evidence that PRP injections for cartilage defect’s around the ankle demonstrated significant improvements in pain, stiffness and function scores, compared to other injectable options.

The body of evidence for the use of PRP is rapidly expanding, however, PRP is still not covered by many insurance plans.

We at Coral Desert Orthopaedics feel that PRP is a viable option in certain clinical situations. We offer PRP injections under ultrasound guidance and would be happy to discuss whether this is a good conservative treatment option for your care.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at Coral Desert Orthopaedics 435-628-9393, or email us with specific questions at cdo@reverehealthcare.com.

Dr. Clark is an orthopedic surgeon originally from St. George. He was happy to return to this area with his wife and four children when the opportunity arose. After graduating from the University of Utah School of Medicine and completing a five year orthopedic surgery residency program at the University of Iowa, Dr. Clark completed a sports medicine/arthroscopy fellowship at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute of Sports Medicine.

Dr. Todd Parry left his practice in Texas 10 years ago to join his brother, Dr. Scott Parry and Dr. Michael Anderson at Coral Desert Orthopaedics. They have grown to a group of six surgeons and four PAs. His busy practice also includes joint replacement of hip, shoulder, knee and fingers. He enjoys the ability to take care of pediatric fractures, high school athletes, knee injuries and providing care right into the later years of life when joint replacements become necessary. Dr. Todd Parry loves the many activities of Southern Utah and is involved in canyoneering, watersports, auto racing and mountain biking.

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