Joints, tendons, facial rejuvenation and hair growth
What is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative Medicine is a term that has been used in the medical field to describe treatment that promotes growth (or regeneration) of tissue. It has been studied for many years in various fields of medicine (tissue engineering, artificial organs, etc..). More recently, physicians have been working to bring this amazing field of research to clinical practice.
What is Platelet Rich Plasma?While PRP has been used for the last decade on elite athletes (think Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, and yes even athletes outside of the Pittsburgh region like Tiger Woods), it is an emerging treatment in the general population. PRP contains growth factors and bioactive proteins that promote the healing of tendon, ligament, muscle and bone. PRP therapy is a simple in-office procedure which is performed by taking a sample of blood. The sample is then centrifuged (or spun down) to isolate a high concentration of platelets. This platelet concentration contains the growth factors that promote tissue repair and regrowth. PRP is then injected precisely around the damaged tissue using ultrasound guidance. This promotes regeneration of healthy tissue, which can improve pain and help you to return to healthy activities. So, what does the research show? PRP has been studied for many years now to evaluate which conditions it will work best for. Let’s take a look at the evidence. For degenerating articular surfaces (or osteoarthritis), a large systematic review and meta-analysis was performed comparing 26 clinical studies of PRP for osteoarthritis. This systematic review included 9 prospective randomized controlled trials (8 for knee OA and 1 for hip OA), 4 prospective comparative studies, 14 case series, and 2 retrospective comparative studies. The conclusion of this systematic review supports the safety and benefit of PRP for treatment of knee and hip OA. This extensive review demonstrates superiority of PRP in regards to improved pain and function of the involved joint compared to several alternative treatments. While it highlights the benefits of PRP, one of the limitations of this study includes the variability in methodology of PRP preparation (including the platelet count of the final product). For chronic tendinitis, a systematic review and meta-analysis was published in the British Medical Journal evaluating the efficacy of PRP for symptomatic tendinopathy. A total of 16 randomized controlled trials were included which looked at PRP vs. control group with a median sample size of 35 patients. PRP was found to be more efficacious compared to control group in reducing pain related to tendinopathy. The results of this analysis also suggest that PRP treatment may last longer compared to the group with longer average follow up duration at 12 months. So overall, many large institutions and insurance companies are becoming more interested and continue to monitor the progress of our medium sized clinical research studies. Of course, there is always room for improvement. More studies are needed to evaluate the best methodology for the preparation of PRP. Very large research trials are limited given the lack of significant funding (in comparison to when the pharmaceutical industry of our healthcare system funds research studies for investigational medications). While most insurance companies do not cover this treatment as of yet, the VA Health System has recently recognized this as a viable treatment solution and covers PRP for our veterans of war. If you are interested in learning more about regenerative medicine for your condition, please call our office to schedule a consultation.
- Penetrate the dermal layers
- Deliver growth factors directly to tissue to stimulate collagen production
- Using your body’s own platelet rich plasma, the procedure is safe and effective
- SkinPen Microneedling (FDA approved device for microneedling)
- See our before and after gallery
- Most research on PRP for hair loss has addressed “androgenetic alopecia” or hormone-related baldness (which can occur in men and women).
- Evidence suggests that the treatment works best when combined with oral treatment, which will be discussed in more detail during the consultation.
- Check out this Harvard Medical School Health Blog for more information about these latest treatments.