PRP Offers Hope for Common Ailments
Our Blood Stimulates Natural Healing Ability
Platelet rich plasma, or PRP, is a safe and effective treatment that uses our own blood’s growth factors to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. It has been shown to produce effective and safe results for a growing number of health concerns.
PRP is produced by the treating physician during an in-office treatment by taking a sample of blood, as done for any standard blood test. The blood is spun in a centrifuge, which allows the red blood cells to be removed. Once the red blood cells are removed, the remaining plasma is again centrifuged, with the final product, being PRP. This is then injected back into the body. Once injected, the platelets release growth factors into the local environment which, in turn, results in the activation and proliferation of stem cells. These further enhance the healing function of the platelets. The growth factors involved include transforming growth factor beta, which stimulates collagen synthesis, vascular endothelial growth factor and fibroblast growth factor-2. The latter enhances the growth of new blood vessels. Other growth factors released are platelet-derived growth factor, insulin-like growth factor and epidermal growth factor. With all of these working together, the platelet cells in PRP are being shown to heal the body in a number of ways.
Arthritis of the knees, shoulders, hips and elbows are three common problem areas that respond well to PRP treatments. The heel pain of plantar fasciitis can be resolved by a PRP injection. Professional athletes in the National Football League, Major League Baseball and other industries have reported that the injections allow quicker recovery from injuries and a faster return to activity than other methods of treatment. It is important to note that cortisone injections, the mainstay of treatment in many of these conditions, are known to be effective for a limited period of time. Often repeating the injection is done, but it is known that cortisone can cause permanent damage to the joint that is being treated. The long-lasting PRP treatments do not cause the side effects and dangers associated with repeated cortisone injections.
Male Sexual Dysfunction
The treatment for this condition by PRP is also known as the P-Shot by its inventor, Charles Runels, MD. He writes that this treatment increases blood flow to the penis by opening the small arteries and capillaries. Since it is done using the body’s own platelets, there are no known systemic side effects. As with healing any wound, the rejuvenation of the penis involves numerous tissue types, such as blood vessels, nerves, smooth muscle fibers, lymph vessels, connective tissues, endothelium and others. When the penis is given a concentrated solution of platelets in plasma, the generation of new tissue throughout the entire penis is accomplished. It takes up to three weeks to see results and the full effects are achieved within three months. The patient experiences better strength of erections and 60 percent of patients report a small increase in penis length and girth. The effects typically last over a year. Additionally, Peyronie’s Disease, which is a curvature of the penis, is also treated by PRP with good results.
Injection of PRP into the scalp stimulates the hair follicles and rejuvenates them. This treatment is done over three visits, spread out over 10-12 weeks. Results are seen within the first several weeks and continue for several months as the hair grows in. The existing hair is healthier and the scalp sheds less hair. A thicker, fuller head of hair is the final result.
Stem Cell Treatments
PRP is used as an additional benefit when given to patients that undergo stem cell treatments for their hip, knees, shoulders and other areas. The PRP can be given at the same time as the stem cells are utilized, or as an additional enhancing treatment a short time after the stem cell treatment is done.
Aesthetics, Female Sexual Dysfunction and Stress Incontinence
Plastic surgeons and other physicians working in the aesthetics field have found that PRP added to a variety of their treatments enhances results. For women that experience painful intercourse or have difficulty achieving orgasm, PRP can also be used by giving an injection to the affected area. PRP treatment also helps stress incontinence.
Henry Sobo, MD, a Stamford-based medical doctor practicing internal medicine, also has a license as a homeopathic physician. He is a board-certified member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and a diplomate candidate of the American College for Advancement in Medicine. Connect at DrSobo.com. See ad, page 10.Edit ModuleShow Tags