South Nassau Communities Hospital

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South Nassau in the Community

04/12/2010

PRP: An All-Natural Approach to Heal, Recover Quickly from Orthopedic Injuries, Surgery


If you’ve come across news or heard talk at the gym or in the locker room about a new, minor treatment that is credited with inducing exceptionally speedy and full recoveries from orthopedic injuries and surgeries, most likely that it was about PRP therapy.

Clinically referred to as “Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy,” PRP is a holistic approach to speed the regeneration and healing of ligament, tendon and muscular injuries, reducing recovery time. PRP is an innovation from the expanding field of medicine known as orthobiologics, which is developing new techniques that combine the body’s natural ability to heal itself and the use of stem cells and advanced medical technologies to repair and heal orthopedic injuries. Used since the 1990s to assist with the healing of spinal injuries and to facilitate recovery after plastic surgery, PRP garnered international attention when it was reported that Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward of the Pittsburg Steelers received PRP prior to the 2009 Super Bowl. More recently, it has been widely reported that PRP was used by Tiger Woods while he rehabilitated from micro-fracture surgery in 2008 and the New York Mets all-star shortstop Jose Reyes in September 2009 to assist in the healing of his injured hamstring.

Craig Levitz, MD, chief of orthopedics at South Nassau Communities Hospital, along with other sports medicine specialists at South Nassau is among the few orthopedists on Long Island to offer PRP. “Regardless of the cause of the injury, PRP has demonstrated that it can be an effective non-surgical option to repair cartilage, ligament, and tendon tears and to accelerate healing and recovery after surgery,” said Dr. Levitz.

Platelet Rich Plasma is blood plasma with a high concentration of platelets with significant bioactive proteins, which are vital to the repair and regeneration of musculoskeletal soft tissue. It is extracted by drawing a small amount (approximately 10 CCs) of the patient’s blood into a test tube, which is then put in a centrifuge (lab equipment that spins at a high speed to create centrifugal force) to separate the blood into layers with the blood cells collecting at the bottom and the plasma collecting at the top of the tube.

The plasma and platelets are taken from the test tube, put in a syringe and then injected into the patient’s injured or surgically repaired area. The bioactive proteins activate tissue recovery, new blood vessel formation, bone regeneration and connective tissue repair. PRP is safe because the platelet rich plasma is taken from the patient’s blood and adheres to the highest standards of patient safety and sterile technique.

“In addition, age is not a factor in determining if PRP would benefit a patient,” added Dr. Levitz. “PRP may be used on young athletes or older weekend warriors.”

PRP is just one more example of how Dr. Levitz and orthopedists at South Nassau’s Center for Advanced Orthopedics and the Long Island Joint Replacement Institute™ (LIJRI) are using minimally invasive and image-guided surgical technologies to repair common and serious musculoskeletal injuries.

Musculoskeletal injuries repaired at the Center include knee cartilage and ligaments tears; shoulder instability, impingement, recurrent dislocations and rotator cuff or labrum tears; foot and ankle and hand and upper extremity injuries. In addition to total knee and hip replacement surgery, LIJRI surgeons perform custom-fitted total joint replacements and partial joint replacement techniques, including Birmingham Hip™ resurfacing and the Uni-Knee™ partial knee replacement. Orthopedic spine surgeons use a range of surgical approaches to fix painful lower back problems. These approaches include lumbar disc replacement, kyphoplasty, X STOP, and satellite surgery. South Nassau’s Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Therapy (SMART) Center ensures that patients achieve the best possible outcome after surgery. It offers patient-specific rehabilitative programs to promote short- and long-term health and wellness.

For more information about the Center for Advanced Orthopedics, LIJRI or the SMART Center, please call 1-877-SouthNassau.



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