With the proliferation of PRP injection therapy more and more doctors are using this form of treatment for many different medical conditions. One of the most successful set of medical conditions that is showing to respond very well to prp injection therapy are joint disorders.
So if you have knee, shoulder, hip or ankle arthritis, have a torn rotator cuff or slight tear in a knee tendon, can any M.D. perform these types of injections? The simple answer is no!
What Type of Doctor is Best?
Different types of doctors perform PRP injections when developing treatment plans for their patients. If you have a joint disorder or a condition that affects your skeletal system, you should choose a doctor that specializes in that particular practice area. For example an Orthopedic Surgeon is a doctor with a great deal of experience and specialized knowledge in arthritic joint conditions and degenerative bone disorders. They know exactly where the platelet rich plasma needs to be administered and how to ensure the correct placement of the injection. They understand joint function and can adapt each patient's treatment plan according to their particular condition and need.
Because prp injections are becoming a more popular treatment option, doctors who specialize in other forms of medicine are starting to implement them into their practice. A doctor whose specialties are in internal medicine or dermatology may have some training in the musculoskeletal system, but not specialized knowledge or experience in joint disorders. Even regular family practice doctors should not be used for this type of therapy without the specialized knowledge the procedures mandate.
Get the Correct Diagnosis
Different conditions require different measures to be taken to trigger healing responses. Some patients respond better to aggressive forms of treatment, while others heal better with time, physical therapy and ample amounts of rest. For example, a torn meniscus in the knee of an athlete will be treated much differently than a patient who has been diagnosed with the beginning stages of rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.
Is the pain in your knee being caused by a torn meniscus or arthritis? Who is going to diagnose your pain more accurately and identify the correct treatment plan?
Are prp injections the right treatment option or is Viscosupplementation or stem cell therapy a better option?
A doctor who specializes in joint disorders will be able to recognize your symptoms and accurately identify your condition.
How Do They Separate Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet rich plasma is obtained by first taking a blood sample for you and then separating the plasma from the whole blood. This is achieved either through centrifugal force or through an aqueous two-phase system that separates one from the other with the use of filters. The FDA requires that platelet rich plasma be separated from whole blood within four hours of being collected.
If a medical facility indicates that they will take your blood and then arrange for you to return the next day to finish the treatment, it’s a good time to get a second opinion.
Red blood cells are vital to the body because they carry much needed nutrients and oxygen to cells throughout the body. Platelets are tiny cells the blood needs to help control blood flow. They are responsible for allowing the blood to clot. During the separation process, the red blood cells are separated from the plasma and the platelets that it contains. Plasma also contains a large number of growth factors that elicit healing responses in the body.
Maintaining Quality Platelets
The highest quality of plasma can contain as much as 5 to 10 percent more platelets than lower grade plasma. So it’s important to use a medical facility that has a lot of experience in performing prp injections and separating the plasma and obtaining good results. Platelet rich plasma can be used to elicit healing in both muscle tissue as well as connective tissue, although it may take weeks for the benefits to become apparent, the higher the concentration of platelets, the stronger the healing response.
Get the Platelets Into The Right Spot
As the doctor begins to develop your treatment plan, they will need to determine the exact location of the injury and the amount of platelet rich plasma that will be needed to trigger healing. One of the ways a doctor can determine where the injection needs to be is through image guidance. By using ultrasound image guidance, they can place the plasma exactly where it needs to be to produce the best possible results. The potency of the plasma combined with the exact injection location are crucial elements in the success of the treatment.
If your doctor does not use image guidance and indicates they can perform the procedure by hand, your chances of a successful treatment are limited. Hit the wrong spot and the injection is useless, hit the right spot but place poor quality platelet rich plasma in the joint, the result will be the same.
The successes of PRP Injection procedures are depended on 3 things:
- Having a qualified joint disorder doctor, typically an orthopedic surgeon, diagnose and perform the treatments
- Harvest quality platelet rich plasma from your own blood and perform the procedure within 4 hrs.
- Inject the prp into the joint using image guidance technology
Each patient is different and your doctor should do everything possible to accurately diagnose your condition. If your doctor indicates you need surgery before attempting or counselling you on the possible alternative treatments available, look for a second opinion.
As with any form of medical treatment, you should consult with your physician before embarking on any treatment plan. The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be deemed accurate for the purposes of diagnosing your particular medical condition.