LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant is among dozens of professional athletes who are opting for injection therapies such as PRP (platelet rich plasma) rather than surgery to help recover from injury
Bryant, who has struggled for years with an arthritic right knee, has undergone multiple procedures including surgery in an attempt to repair the damage. He has recently flown to Germany to undergo a series of PRP like injections as an alternative
PRP is a simple procedure that does not require lengthy recovery and rehabilitation that follows surgery A small amount of blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge to isolate platelets, which contain proteins that enhance and accelerate soft tissue healing.
Other athletes who have used PRP and prolotherapy for treatment of injury include Tiger Woods, Hines Ward and Rafael Nadal.
What doe PRP treat?
- Chronic pain such as low back pain
- Acute muscle or ligament injury such as ACL tear
- Chronic tendon injury such as Achilles tendonitis
- Post whiplash headache
- Post surgery and fractures to help stimulate healing and repair
- Hair loss
How does PRP therapy help?
• The body’s first response to soft tissue injury is to deliver platelet cells
• Packed with growth and healing factors, platelets initiate repair and attract the critical assistance of stem cells
• PRP therapy’s natural healing process intensifies the body’s efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets
• To create PRP therapy, a small sample of your blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds, separating the platelets from the other components
• The concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP) is then injected into and around the point of injury, jump-starting and significantly strengthening the body’s natural healing signal
• Because your own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection and a very low risk of allergic reaction
How long does it take?
The procedure takes approximately one hour, including preparation and recovery time. PRP therapy relieves pain without the risks of surgery, general anesthesia, or hospital stays and without a prolonged recovery. In fact, most people return to their jobs or usual activities right after the treatment.
How often should this procedure be done?
Up to four or five treatments may be necessary, usually performed three to six weeks apart. Some patients notice considerable relief after the first or second injection.
What are the expected results?
Because the goal of PRP therapy is to resolve pain through healing, it could prove to have lasting results. Initial improvement may be seen within a few weeks, gradually increasing as the healing progresses. Research studies and clinical practice have shown PRP therapy to be very effective at relieving pain and returning patients to their normal lives. Both ultrasound and MRI images have shown definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy, confirming the healing process. The need for surgery can also be greatly reduced by treating injured tissues before the damage progresses and the condition is irreversible.
Read more about PRP and injection therapy: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/30/sports/la-sp-kobe-bryant-knee-20110701