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Platelet Rich Plasma

Platelet-rich plasma is one of the latest technologically advanced treatment options being offered by many doctors to help relieve pain and stimulate the body's ability to heal itself. This therapy gives the body what it needs to start to heal itself. Our blood contains growth factors and clotting factors that hasten the healing process and reduces many symptoms that are experienced during the healing process.

The Body's Own Healing Resource

Our blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. It is responsible for both nurturing the tissues as well as carrying away toxins and contaminants. Blood is made up of the following basic components: red and white blood cells, plasma, and platelets that all work together to keep our bodies healthy. Although platelets only make up approximately 1% of our total blood volume, they contain the growth factors that encourage tissues to heal and the blood to clot.

The human body has many of the things it needs to heal itself. From stem cells to growth factors, most can be found in the blood that circulates through the body. The process of making platelet-rich plasma uses all of those components to create a healing resource that can continually be used to improve the body's efforts to heal itself. Because our blood supply is constantly being replenished, we never have to worry about running out or our supply being contaminated.

How Is Platelet-Rich Plasma Produced?

To make platelet-rich plasma, Dr. Fihman draws your blood and isolates the platelets. A plasma matrix is then created that contains approximately 3 to 5 times the normal amount of platelets per blood volume. By increasing the number of platelets in the matrix, the amount of growth factor available for the body to use to jumpstart the healing process is also dramatically increased. The matrix is then injected into the injured area and allowed to work naturally.

How Is It Used?

Platelet-rich plasma has been effectively used in treating many different sports injuries as well as repairing joints that have been damaged by arthritis and other forms of degenerative disease. While the blood contains an ample amount of platelets to keep the body healthy, it doesn't have enough to sufficiently support an injury. By concentrating the number of platelets and re-introducing them into the injured area, the growth factors encourage healing and help support the needs of the body. Instead of waiting months for the body to produce the amount of growth factor to make an impact on the healing, the platelet-rich plasma can be used to flood the area with exactly what it needs.

Platelet-rich plasma is effective at treating a wide variety of structural injuries, including the following:

  • Osteoarthritis in the joints
  • Ankle injuries and sprains
  • Knee instability, hyperflexion, and sprains
  • Sacroiliac pain
  • Tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Hamstring strains
  • Hip strains

PRP is also proven to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with many types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. By strengthening the tendons, ligaments and connective tissues in the joints, PRP also helps to improve mobility and flexibility.

How Does It Work?

Each treatment can take up to an hour to complete, from the original blood draw to the time you leave Dr. Fihman's office. After your blood is drawn, the matrix will be created and then re-injected back into your body. An x-ray may be needed to help guide the injection to the exact location where it is needed. In order to receive the full effects of the platelet-rich plasma, the matrix must be injected directly into the injured area. In most cases, the amount of discomfort you feel during an injection is minimal. The area and extent of the injury will be determining factors when it comes to how comfortable you are during the injection.

Once the injection has been given, you will be given instructions on how to care for your injury and a follow appointment will be made. When you are given a PRP injection, it's important that you avoid anti-inflammatory medications. The number of injections you will need to complete your treatment normally ranges from two to six. The extent of your injury and how fast your body heals will determine the number of injections you need to have.

How Long Do the Effects of A Treatment Last?

After the initial set of treatments, additional treatments may be needed every 6 to 12 months to provide the body with what it needs. In conditions that result in chronic pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative bone disease, long-term treatment may be needed to keep pace with the disease. As time passes, the use of the body's own blood products allows for a more complete and thorough healing. When the body's own resources are used, the results last longer and, in most cases, stronger than if other healing methods were used.

When PRP is used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular physical therapy or exercise, the results will be much longer lasting. Your level of pain and discomfort will be minimized, while your mobility and range of motion will continue to increase as your injury begins to improve. Over time, as your condition improves or the injury continues to heal, the number of maintenance treatments you need may be decreased.

What Are the Benefits of PRP Injections?

Platelet-rich plasma injections offer many benefits over and above other treatment options. First and foremost, the treatment relies on a matrix that is derived from the body's own resources. There is very little used in the treatment that is not derived from your body. This means fewer side effects and it minimizes the chance of any adverse reaction to potent medications and pain relievers. Because your own platelets are used, your body can utilize them much faster and more completely, hastening the healing process and reducing your pain and discomfort. The treatment also provides the body with the additional oxygen and nutrients needed to support the body's attempts to heal itself. 

If you've received a severe injury, platelet-rich plasma can stimulate the body's ability to heal and also reduce the need for more invasive procedures. PRP is an effective treatment option on its own, but when used in conjunction with a calcium-rich diet and regular exercise, it can help the body regenerate new tissues that are stronger and healthier. If your injury is extensive, prolonged use of PRP can support the body's efforts to heal the damaged tissues. While this type of treatment may take longer to get the desired results, the complications that often accompany surgery will be avoided.

Dr. Leonora Fihman is a board-certified podiatrist who serves residents throughout Encino and many other areas in Los Angeles County. She also offers a concierge service for her patients who have difficulty traveling and require home visits. She continues to stay abreast of the latest trends in podiatry as well as other fields of medicine. Platelet-rich plasma is one of the newest advancements that she has found that will benefit her patients. It can be used to treat many conditions that affect the feet, other than arthritis and plantar fasciitis. She can also effectively treat:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Tendonitis
  • Nerve entrapment syndromes

Platelet-rich plasma is injected directly into the injured area and closely monitored to determine how many treatments may be needed. Because the injection goes directly to where it is needed, less tissue is traumatized and any adverse reaction is kept to a minimum. If Dr, Fihman believes that platelet-rich plasma may be a beneficial treatment option for your condition, she will create a treatment plan and go over it so you understand everything that will happen. She will also answer any questions you may have pertaining to possible surgery or other treatment options you may want to consider. Her ultimate goal is to provide you with the treatment that best suits your needs and that will make you most comfortable.

When it comes to the health of your feet and ankles, you need to explore every option you have available. While minimally invasive procedures are extremely effective for many types of foot issues, they can often cause more problems than they resolve. The key is to find the right treatment that offers the desired results without adding any potential trauma or risk to the situation. Dr. Fihman nows offers platelet-rich plasma treatment as an effective option for her patients who would prefer a more natural approach to healing. Using fewer medications while boosting the body's natural ability to heal, she can help her patients get back on their feet without extensive procedures that may have risks. Contact Dr. Fihman at your earliest convenience if you are interested in learning more about the benefits of platelet-rich plasma and other treatment options that allow you to rely on your own resources for a more thorough and complete healing.

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