Enhanced plasma shortens time off for injured athletes

November 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Injured athletes who have their own enriched plasma injected into their bodies are healing faster and spending less time on the bench or on the disabled list.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections involve taking some of the patient’s blood and putting it into a centrifuge that spins at high speed and separates and concentrates the platelets. The platelets contain the proteins and other particles involved in the self-healing process. Doctors then inject this platelet concentrate into the patient and the high concentration of platelets accelerates the growth of new soft-tissue to heal the damage.

“PRP injections don’t decrease the severity of the injury, but they do speed up the .” said Dr. David Lintner, an with The Methodist Center for in Houston. “If you have an athlete whose hamstring injury was going to take two weeks to heal, PRP injections might not knock that down to less than a week. A four week injury might only be one-two weeks,”

The hope is that this treatment, which marries technology and the body’s natural healing properties, will eliminate the need for surgery or other treatments such as cortisone injections. PRP injections work best when given within 24 to 48 hours after the injury occurs and can be done in the doctor’s office if they have the necessary equipment.

“This therapy has worked for players with sprained ligaments in the pitcher’s elbow, flexor tendons in the elbow, and hamstring injuries as well as sprained in the , but it can be used to treat many other ” said Lintner, who is also the head team physician for the Houston Astros and team physician for the Houston Texans. “It only works on tissue that has the chance to heal to accelerate that healing. But if a tissue has no chance to heal, like an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear or rotator cuff tear, the PRP won’t cure that.”

Lintner believes the next frontier for this type of therapy could be looking at ways to chemically-manipulate the platelets to see if they produce an even better result, and perhaps synthesize the healing factors directly.

“We’ve just begun to scratch the surface with this type of treatment,” Lintner said. “Any time you can keep athletes out of the operating room and off an extended stay on the disabled list it’s definitely a positive. So far PRP injections have been able to do that in a number of cases at the professional level as well as for the average person who wants to heal faster.”

Provided by Methodist Hospital System

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.