P This treatment known as BP (blood patch), and PRP, platelet rich plasma), helps the injured cells of the body to heal itself.
This procedure has many doctors rethink the role of inflammation, which is increased temporarily in damaged tissues. Doctors try to reduce inflammation with cortisone and other anti-inflammatory medicines thinking this was a source of pain. Since the procedure involves injecting fluids into tissue that normally don’t have much space, some pain may be experienced.

Now the current thought is to harness the power of inflammation, by allowing the body to go through its natural healing process, get rid of the problem, and relieve the pain. Anti-inflammatory treatments can counteract the healing process of PRP BLOOD PATCH, and must not be given in conjunction with this treatment.

Blood is drawn from the patient’s vein, spinned in a centrifuge to separate the platelets, and injected into sites of injury. The plasma secretes growing factors promoting clotting and healing, sealing and repairing the injured tissue.

This procedure was used since the 1970s in obstetrics for spinal headaches, and was used in dentistry at that time also. Dr. Sarnacki, of the Acupuncture Institute of Michigan, using this procedure for the past eight years, calls it a blood patch, BP ( a term acquired from its use for blood injections in treating spinal headaches). He injects a small amount of whole blood, without separating it, injecting it into the injured sites, accompanied by medical acupuncture in affected sites has resulted in, good results.

This procedure, now used by orthopedic specialists, has proven effective for chronic tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis, and osteoarthritis of the knee, plantar fasciitis, calf and hamstring sprains, and other intractable sports injuries.

The nice thing is that you are using your own tissue, and people do not have reactions to their own tissue. Since the procedure involves only minimal manipulation of the patient’s own tissue, FDA approval is not necessary. The FDA however does regulate blood separation equipment.

Unlike human growth hormone, PRP or Blood Patch, is not banned by US pro sports organizations, since no foreign or banned substance is injected into the body. The costs range from $500-$1000 per treatment, and are not covered by insurance, since it is considered experimental.

This procedure has gotten ahead of scientific evidence. Heart surgeons are also using this to strengthen tissues in bypass operations, and some plastic surgeons and dermatologists use it as an alternative to facial fillers for cosmetic surgery.

Research is still going on to determine what conditions it works best for, and the amount and number of injections that are necessary. There have been very few small-randomized controlled trials to date.

Patients should try other conservative approaches before PRP or BP treatments. More research is needed to determine what kind of injuries is best suited for this treatment, and whether it’s any better than standard therapies.

Traditionally tissues that don’t do a good job of healing by themselves, like tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, all are helped by this procedure.
Sarnacki, Acupuncture Institute of Michigan
SteadmanREhab Clinic, Vail, Colorado
Khalfayan, Team orthopedist, Seattle Seahawks and Mariners
Monto, orthopedist Nantucket
Halpern, Hospital for Special Surgery, NY City
Galea, Tiger Woods Orthopedist

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