I am very excited to offer PRP therapy here at Pulse Holistic Medical Centre in Minyama on the Sunshine Coast. We always try to expand our services with the latest cutting edge advances in medicine. What is more, I also adhere to our ideal of comprehensive holistic patient care. I have an interest in procedural work due to my background in emergency medicine and surgery. To this end, I think Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy fits well with our other functional medicine services. It means I have an extra tool to treat tendonitis, bursitis, osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis, erectile dysfunction, as well as some other common conditions.
What exactly is PRP therapy?
PRP therapy is a natural treatment that uses your own plasma as a “seed” to stimulate production of collagen and promote healing. I can use it for cosmetic purposes to improve the look of your skin, or as an innovative way to treat musculoskeletal injuries. Platelets are the primary component of PRP, but each preparation may also contain other cellular components such as white blood cells (WBCs) and peripheral stem cells. These play a role in the healing process when they are introduced at concentrated levels. PRP has a greater concentration of growth factors than whole blood. I use it to encourage a brisk healing response,
Platelets are a component of blood. Their primary function (along with the coagulation factors) is to stop bleeding by clumping and clotting blood. Interestingly, these same platelets contain many other components that promote and stimulate healing and collagen production. These may include supportive antimicrobial properties, infection control and the release of growth factors. Some of these growth factors help to promote angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth,) which is why it is a good treatment for erectile dysfunction. This also reduces inflammation and aids tissue regeneration.
PRP treatment is frequently more effective than steroid injections, and most definitely has less possible side effects.
I have my own diagnostic ultrasound machine here at the Pulse surgery on the Sunshine Coast. This means we can be very certain that the treatment is injected in exactly the right place.
How do you prepare PRP?
Creation of PRP is simple, painless, and conveniently done at a single consultation. The process only takes approximately 25-30 minutes. I draw a small amount of blood from the patient, just like a routine blood test. I then place the blood into a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood at high speeds in order to separate the red blood cells and concentrated platelets. Once I have separated these blood components, I discard the red blood cells. What is left is concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP.) This is then ready for me to use as the treatment. The plasma contains up to 1.6x the usual concentration of platelets. I use this plasma in an injection, usually under ultrasound control. I carefully inject the platelet-rich serum into the injured tendon, ligament, muscle, joint, or disc.
How many treatments will I need?
This varies with each type of condition being treated and the underlying function of your own platelets. Tendonitis, bursitis or joint injuries may only require 2 treatments separated by 4-6 weeks. If you had a good results from initial therapy, you may still benefit from additional treatments if symptoms return.
For skin rejuvenation and cosmetic applications, I get the best results with at least 2 treatments. I usually follow this up with a top up treatment once or twice per year.
Does it hurt?
Generally speaking, PRP injections are not painful. However the discomfort level depends on the part of the body I treat. Injections into a joint are of minimal discomfort. There is sometimes a small amount of pain after the procedure, particularly with tendonitis or bursitis, however this does not last more than a few days.
Are there any risks?
PRP is an exceptionally safe treatment option. There is no risk of allergic reaction because it uses your own blood. However, anytime I give an injection, there is a small theoretical risk of infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. These complications are very rare.
How long until I see results?
The benefit to PRP therapy is that unlike some other treatments, it has a sustained outcome. It is quite reasonable to think of it as a possible permanent fix. The timeframe for results is dependent upon the area of injury and the extent of the injury. On average, most patients start to see signs of improvement within four to six weeks. This improvement is in the form of reduced pain, or increased function.
Are there any reasons why I can’t have PRP therapy?
Women who are pregnant, breast-feeding or trying to conceive are not suitable candidates. This treatment is not recommended in people on anti-coagulant medication, active autoimmune conditions, low platelet count, active infection, or who have certain implants in the treatment area. So your past and present medical history, as well as your past procedural history will be assessed to determine your suitability.
Which conditions do you treat?
Musculoskeletal (Ultrasound Guided):
Shoulder tendonitis and Calcification
Intraarticular Knee Injection – for ACL/MCL instability or Osteoarthritis
Male erectile dysfunction
Stretch marks and Scars
Over time, I expect to add a few more procedures to this list. If you have specific enquiries, please don’t hesitate to ask our staff.
Written by Dr Tim Smith, holistic GP at Pulse Holistic Medical Centre in Minyama on the Sunshine Coast.
Please feel free to read my blog on identical hormones http://www.pulsemed.com.au/2017/09/02/bio-identical-hormones-sunshine-coast-2/