Platelet-Rich Plasma: Helping Patients Heal Themselves

LOS ANGELES. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – It’s a new way to treat an age old chronic condition. Doctors are now using patients’ own bodies to heal them.  You may have heard about the use of platelet-rich plasma by famous athletes, like Tiger Woods and Dwight Howard, to relieve pain in large tendons around the knee and shoulder.  But now, doctors are also using the PRP procedure in much smaller areas to stop and reverse arthritis.

Jean Ellison-Shanon and Snuggles are back working in the garden now that Ellison-Shanon is pain-free. Arthritis in her thumb had her sidelined for months. She didn’t want to take the usual steroids, but had heard of platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP.

“I was definitely interested in doing that, because if it hurt this much in the beginning stage, I did not want it to progress anymore,” Ellison-Shanon told Ivanhoe.

Joseph Giaconi, M.D., a musculoskeletal radiologist at Cedars-Sinai Imaging Center in Los Angeles, California said Ellison-Shanon was a good candidate because her arthritis was fairly new. It’s not an option in more advanced cases. He drew blood, spun it down in a centrifuge and separated the platelets.  Platelets are full of proteins and growth factors. Then, he injected the PRP into Ellison-Shanon’s  thumb using an ultrasound for guidance. You can see the PRP going in, in the center of the screen.

Dr. Giaconi detailed, “By injecting this into the joint, you’re promoting the body to heal itself, and what you’re really doing is causing the degenerative process to slow down.”

Ellison-Shanon said the pain started easing quickly and after three injections over three month, it’s almost gone. She’s back doing the things she loves, enjoying her retirement.

Dr. Giaconi doesn’t know how long the effect of the PRP will last because the therapy for arthritis is so new. He’s hoping to start a clinical trial at Cedars-Sinai. Right now, insurance doesn’t typically cover the procedure, which can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3000.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Brent Sucher, Editor; Rusty Reed, Videographer.


Nilou Salimpour

Media Relations