According to a pilot study published in the
“PRP injections have been popularized by pro athletes,” explains
“Tiger Woods got PRP injections in his elbow, and
“PRP is a form of Regenerative Injection Therapy, an emerging treatment approach that helps stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself,” Dr. Zanotti explains. “Blood platelets contain powerful healing proteins called growth factors. Conversely, cortisone injections treat arthritis symptoms by getting rid of inflammation in and around the affected joint. PRP aims to address the cause of arthritis; cortisone treats the effect.
“Inflammation is a part of the body’s natural healing response,” says Dr. Zanotti. A study from
“PRP helps start the body’s inflammation and tissue regeneration cascade,” Dr. Zanotti explains. “In a PRP treatment, blood is drawn from the patient. The blood is then placed in a machine called a centrifuge, which spins it down to separate the platelets from other blood components such as red and white blood cells. This process, which takes just a few minutes, increases the concentration of platelets up to 1,000%. Then the concentrated growth factors are injected directly into the affected area to stimulate the patient’s healing.
Dr. Zanotti emphasizes the need to choose PRP patients carefully. “PRP isn’t for someone who’s 80 with total osteoarthritis,” he explains. “Ideal PRP patients are those with early arthritis who have good knee alignment, have probably had a knee scoped and cleaned out and have been told they have small arthritic areas or OCDs—osteochondral defects. If they’ve tried injections of cortisone or a lubricating gel such as Synvisc and they’re still having discomfort, PRP can be a good option.”
Case in point:
Kanzeg tried cortisone and Synvisc injections. She also had arthroscopic surgery after she tore the lateral and medial meniscus in one of her knees.
In September, Kanzeg had a PRP injection in her left knee and it worked so well that she had her right knee treated in October. “I feel wonderful!” she says.
Just a month later, she took a trip to the
“I’m a very active person,” Kanzeg adds. “I’m 54, but mentally I’m a lot younger. And I don’t want to stop doing the things I love to do. I don’t want my body to slow me down. We Baby Boomers are taking care of everybody—our parents, our children. Now we really need to take care of ourselves. And a big part of that is staying healthy.