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Healthbeat 4: Treating joint pain with platelet rich plasma injections

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) —  You may have heard of a cortisone shot as a short-term solution for arthritis or pain in our joints.

But what if you could treat the pain with a mixture from your own blood?

It’s called PRP or platelet rich plasma.

Doctors at CNOS in Siouxland have been using this method of treatment for the past two years.

It’s a healing technique that uses a concentration of platelets and growth factors created from your own blood, stem cells or bone marrow.

“[PRP] will stimulate the cells to prevent them from throwing destructive enzymes into your joint. They’ll provide lubrication and they’ll also nourish the remaining cartilage,” said Dr. Raymond Sherman, CNOS Orthopaedic Surgeon. Cortozone just stops the inflammatory process. So after a while, that wears off and it doesn’t do anything to nourish the cartilage.”

Dr. Sherman says the process to get the PRP is rather simple.

Doctors will draw a blood sample, then it’s spun in a machine called a centra fuse that concentrates the cells.

Then the cells are injected back into the patient.

“So if it’s tendinous we use ultrasound or by palpation if it’s right on the edge and get the medicine at the right place,” said Dr. Shermna, “If it’s in the joint you want to make sure it’s in the joint and it’s in the correct joint in the right area so it can do its job.”

Dr. Sherman says they’ve treated 100 patients with PRP and have met or beat the national benchmark.
“They’re lasting better than the cortisone injections they are decreasing pain and improving function in that group compared to the ones that didn’t have it,” said Dr. Sherman.

Medical experts say prime candidates for PRP injections would be someone with chronic or inflamed tendon or mild to moderate arthritis on the knee, elbow or any joint.

Michelle Schoening

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