Since 2014, an idea called platelet-rich plasma took hold as an alternative to knee replacement surgery in the sports world. Studies showed that therapies that were cell-based and regenerative medicine were safe and effective alternatives to knee replacement surgeries. Further studies supported the use of cell-based treatments and the positive reports continue.
Currently, new research has proven that stem cells are on the verge of becoming the go-to treatment for athletic injuries.
Platelet-rich plasma treatments have shown great promise in healing early stages of osteoarthritis in the knee and tendonitis. In addition, this therapy has been shown to also act to protect against additional deterioration of the knee joint.
By injecting the PRP into the damaged area, the therapy can not only relieve pain, but also promote healing by regrowing protein compounds. The science behind platelet-rich plasma is as follows:
- PRP uses your own blood
- It puts your blood into a centrifuge to separate out the platelets from the red blood cells
- Those platelets are recombined with the remaining blood and then injected into the problem area of the knee
- The PRP stimulates and recreates the body’s natural healing process
- Human platelets are very rich in connective tissue growth factors
Weight-bearing tendons are not able to accommodate cortisone injections because it can cause the tendon to weaken and possibly rupture. PRP injections, on the other hand, can be safely used in the tendons without risking a rupture.
The amount of injections needed will vary from patient to patient. You will see your doctor after three to four weeks to check on how well the knee is healing. For some patients, one treatment provides a very good result. Most often, two to three treatments are necessary for many injuries.
When will you start to see improvements? Usually within a week or two the knee pain will start to improve. The relief will continue to improve for up to six weeks after the injection. The residual relief following the PRP therapy can often last up to nine to twelve months. After that time you may wish to repeat the procedure.
Currently, insurance companies are not on the same page concerning coverage of the PRP injections, so be sure to check with your provider to see if they will cover any of the procedure. The costs can be anywhere between $500 and $2000 per treatment.
PRP therapy is very popular among professional athletes. Tiger Woods, Hines Ward, Peyton Manning and Troy Polamalu are among the pro athletes that have chosen PRP as a treatment for their injuries. It is a safe and minimally invasive alternative to surgery with a short recovery time. There are usually no side effects to the treatment because you are using your own blood. Most people resume their regular activities almost immediately following the PRP therapy treatment. The entire treatment from taking blood to the PRP injection takes about 45 minutes total.
Talk to your knee doctor about the possibility of choosing PRP therapy as a positive alternative to knee replacement surgery to avoid knee replacement Rockville, MD and explore other solutions such as PRP Therapy.
Thank you to the doctors at the Pain Arthritis Relief Center for providing insight on knee replacement.