Football fans are anticipating a competitive Super Bowl match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers this Sunday. Steelers’ fans might remember that the last time the Steelers were in the Super Bowl—in 2009— wide receiver Hines Ward was very close to being unable to play because of a sprained medial collateral ligament of his right knee. Fortunately, he was able to contribute to his team’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals with the help of a cutting-edge procedure called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.
Since Ward’s high-profile recovery, PRP therapy has become a popular treatment for those suffering from ligament and tendon injuries—and Emory Sports Medicine has become a leader in the PRP therapy field.
Here’s how it works: PRP therapy is an outpatient procedure, in which blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge for 15 minutes to separate out the platelets. The layer of platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the diseased portion of the tendon with the guidance of an ultrasound machine. Patients are then put on a program of relative rest followed by physical therapy for the first six weeks. After about 6 to 12 weeks, patients are re-evaluated for improvement. (Many patients require only one treatment.)
Sounds simple, right? It can be, but only if it’s performed properly and with the right expert guidance. Below we’ve outlined four factors that allow Emory Sports Medicine to excel at PRP therapy:
- We’ve been doing this since the beginning. PRP therapy is a fairly new procedure, and Emory has two doctors on staff who are skilled in performing it: Dr. Kenneth Mautner and myself. Both of us are dedicated to keeping up with the latest developments in the field.
- A vital step in the PRP process is the separating of platelets. We use only the most advanced centrifuge systems to ensure the highest concentration of platelets harvested from the process.
- We use ultrasound guidance to place the PRP into the affected tendon. Many other practices don’t use ultrasound—and the difference can be compared to dropping an atomic bomb vs. using a laser-guided missile. Although utilizing PRP in a generalized area can be helpful, placing it in a specific area will give the best chances at a positive result, proper healing, and full recovery.
- Emory Sports Medicine has developed a standardized post-injection protocol – a daily and weekly follow-up program designed to give patients the best chance at recovery.
While PRP therapy is still a relatively new procedure, when a skilled team of physicians does it properly, the results are remarkable. Just ask Hines Ward!
Are you considering PRP therapy? Do you have any questions regarding this procedure? If so, be sure to leave a comment here, or contact Emory Sports Medicine for an evaluation today.
About R. Amadeus Mason, MD:
Dr. Mason specializes in family practice and sports medicine. His areas of clinical interest include ankle, foot, shoulder, sports injuries, wrist, and ultrasound. Dr. Mason holds organizational leadership memberships with the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Georgia State Medical Association.