During the early years of the Trump administration, PRP injections were quickly becoming the hottest thing in medicine. Everyone from professional athletes to weekend warriors were looking to the injections to help them recover from injury. Unfortunately, a small number of rogue and sloppy clinics got involved. People were harmed and regenerative medicine was given a black eye.
It shouldn’t be this way. There are bad apples in every industry, including healthcare. But a few bad apples do not justify condemning an entire industry. More specifically, a few sloppy clinics don’t negate the benefits regenerative therapies have to offer. Nor do they nullify the fact that the vast majority of regenerative medicine practitioners are responsible, trained clinicians who put patient safety first.
Limited Use at This Time
Research into regenerative therapies is currently limited. More studies are being done all the time, but the amount of data we have on regenerative medicine pales in comparison to diseases that have been studied much more extensively, like cancer for example. As a result, regenerative therapies have limited adoption right now.
One of the more commonly utilized regenerative therapies is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. It is one of the therapies offered by Lone Star Pain Medicine in Weatherford, TX. Lone Star doctors say that PRP injections are normally intended to treat musculoskeletal injuries and diseases. Typical examples would include:
- muscle pulls
- tendon and ligament injuries
- chronic back pain
PRP injections are offered as a way to promote natural healing by encouraging the body’s natural repair mechanisms to do what they already do, but better. Countless patients – including professional athletes – insist that PRP injections have helped them recover from injury.
Other PRP Therapies
There is ample anecdotal evidence suggesting that PRP injections can be helpful as a treatment for musculoskeletal issues. But clinicians are turning to them for other reasons as well. Next to musculoskeletal treatments, the next most popular application is cosmetic medicine.
Have you heard of the vampire facial? It is a cosmetic procedure that involves multiple PRP injections throughout the facial area using a device consisting of a roller with multiple needles. The procedure gets its name from the fact that it leaves a patient’s face temporarily bloodied.
The thinking is that PRP can help encourage collagen production, thereby slowing the effects of aging in the skin. Some people swear by it; others say it doesn’t work. But that’s the way it is for most regenerative therapies. Anecdotal evidence varies.
There Are Rules to Follow
It is important to note that regenerative medicine isn’t the wild west it’s made out to be in the mass media. According to Lone Star, there are rules to follow. Chief among them is the requirement that all biological material be both autologous and minimally manipulated.
Autologous material comes from the very patient being treated. So when an athlete goes in for PRP injections, the blood necessary to complete the procedure comes directly from him. The doctor isn’t injecting blood donated by someone else.
As for minimal manipulation, doctors are not allowed to manipulate autologous material in any way that significantly changes its makeup or structure. In the case of PRP injections, the blood is only sent through a specialized centrifuge to isolate platelets and plasma.
There is a lot more that could be said about regenerative therapy that space will not allow. The long and short of it is this: regenerative therapy is a legitimate form of medicine. It ought not be stigmatized due to a small number of sloppy clinics that do not follow the rules. Sloppy clinics do not negate regenerative medicine’s benefits.