Arthritis Health is offering a new and evolving treatment for osteoarthritis and other causes of joint pain called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). It is an alternative to steroid treatment and is an advanced form of prolotherapy that uses your own body to stimulate healing. It involves the removal of a small quantity of blood via a standard blood draw and separation of this blood using a highspeed centrifuge into a teaspoon or two of plasma containing a higher concentration of platelets. This platelet rich plasma is then re-injected into injured tissue to stimulate the body’s own ability to heal.

Platelets are small cells found in blood that contain a variety of growth factors which stimulate the growth of healthy tissue. When injected into an injured area (joint, ligaments, muscle or adjacent nerve tissue) these growth factors promote a healing response. Despite great interest in PRP therapy, as evidenced by over 2,000 research articles in the literature, controversy persists concerning its benefits. It has not been proven unconditionally effective; however, we have seen its benefits and believe it should be available to our patients. Typically, a site is treated once initially and then one or two additional treatments over the following weeks or months.

According to Dr. Wilkinson – “As a naturopathic doctor I strongly believe in prolotherapy to stimulate the body’s ability to heal. I have been doing standard (dextrose) prolotherapy for years with generally great results. In standard prolotherapy, an irritant solution of primarily dextrose (sugar) is injected into the joint or injured tissue. This stimulates the body to bring in healing nutrients such as platelets over days. The advantage of PRP is that we can now concentrate the patient’s blood platelets and inject it directly into the joint to accelerate the healing process. Standard prolotherapy is still a great treatment but having the ability to offer PRP at Arthritis Health is good for patients that haven’t responded to standard prolotherapy or that want a quicker response.”

Additionally, Dr. Howard believes PRP provides a great alternative to conventional steroid based treatments. Dr. Howard states “Since PRP is a therapy that promotes anabolic healing and growth of injured tissues, it offers an alternative to more traditional steroid injections. Steroids can provide quick symptomatic relief, but in the long run can cause catabolic breakdown of joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.”

The entire procedure takes about an hour including the blood draw, PRP preparation, and injection. To assist in the PRP preparation, patients should refrain from eating fatty foods at least 5 hours prior to the procedure.

Because the growth factors in PRP incite an initial inflammatory response as part of the healing process, patients may experience an increase in pain immediately after the procedure that should abate over 24-48 hours.

Most commercial insurance and Medicare consider PRP experimental and therefore do not pay for it. However, we will provide a super bill that can be submitted to your insurance or used for tax purposes.

The current charge for PRP is $400 total per site or region treated. There are no other charges such as additional office visits for the procedure

interested in prp?

Please discuss with Dr. Howard at your next visit or get in touch today by calling (480) 609-4200 or filling out the online form.