A popular new therapy that uses a patient’s own cells to help the body heal itself is now available at Virginia Interventional and Vascular Associates (VIVA).
Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) uses injections of a patient’s plasma—the liquid portion of blood—to accelerate natural tissue growth.
“It’s exciting to make this service available to our local community,” said VIVA’s Dr.
John J. McLaughlin, who was the first to receive the treatment at VIVA this past summer. Dr. McLaughlin had tried PRP treatment in Northern Virginia two years ago to relieve osteoarthritis pain in his right hip.
“Before treatment, my pain level was a 5 out of 10,” Dr. McLaughlin said. “After treatment, I was at a 0 or 1 at most.”
He sought to bring this new therapy to patients at VIVA.
How PRP Works
PRP is quick and fairly painless. Blood is drawn, then processed in a centrifuge that concentrates the platelets to nine times the concentration found in whole blood.
Using a small syringe and ultrasound for guidance, the platelet-rich plasma is injected directly into the area of injury.
Patients should allow 4 to 6 weeks for the growth factors to become effective and provide pain relief. Results typically last 6 to 12 months.
“In my case,” Dr. McLaughlin shared, “I am having annual hip injections.”
Many Uses for PRP
Candidates for PRP include patients with injured tendons, ligaments, or joints, or patients who suffer from mild to moderate arthritis or tendinitis. Any injury could potentially benefit from PRP.
In addition to pain relief, PRP injections can also help preserve joints and slow the onset of early degenerative disease, even before patients begin to experience pain.
PRP as an Alternative to Steroids
Degenerative diseases are often treated with steroids, which can be effective in reducing pain. What makes PRP different is that it increases the body’s own growth factors to accelerate healing. It is important to remember that unlike with steroid injections, patients will not experience immediate pain relief.
“Regenerative therapy is completely different from conventional medicine in that it’s less crisis-oriented and more holistic,” said Dr. McLaughlin. “Rather than suppressing or killing abnormal cells, the treatment utilizes the natural resources of the body to repair itself.”
To learn more about platelet-rich plasma therapy at VIVA, call (540) 654-9118 to schedule a consultation.