Treating Injuries with Blood?

Platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) involves injecting platelets, which release proteins and other partices involved in your own body?s self healing process, near the injured area. According to the New York Times online, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu used their own blood in this innovative treatment before winning the Super Bowl. Other professional and recreational athletes have used PRP as well.

Dr. Mishra said that he was particularly encouraged by PRP therapy?s effectiveness on chronic elbow tendinitis, or tennis elbow. For a 2006 study published by The American Journal of Sports Medicine, he used the treatment on 15 of 20 patients who were considering surgery; the five others received only anesthetic. Two months later, the patients receiving PRP therapy noted a 60 percent improvement in pain measurements, compared with 16 percent for the control group.

?It?s a better option for problems that don?t have a great solution ? it?s nonsurgical and uses the body?s own cells to help it heal,? said Dr. Allan Mishra, an assistant professor of orthopedics at Stanford University Medical Center and one of the primary researchers in the field. ?I think it?s fair to say that platelet-rich plasma has the potential to revolutionize not just sports medicine but all of orthopedics. It needs a lot more study, but we are obligated to pursue this.?

Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Los Angeles Dodgers? team physician, used platelet-rich plasma therapy in July on a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in the throwing elbow of pitcher Takashi Saito. Surgery would have ended Mr. Saito?s season and shelved him for about 10 to 14 months; he instead returned to pitch in the September pennant race without pain.


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