About PRP Therapy
One of the most interesting fields of study in medicine is focused on how the body heals itself and how medical science might utilize this process to promote faster tissue repair and healing. An innovative treatment that has proven effective is the injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into areas of the body that are causing pain, such as the joints, ligaments, and tendons, in order to accelerate healing and relieve pain. For individuals with spinal pain and conditions, PRP therapy can successfully reduce inflammation, tenderness, pain, and stiffness. Dallas-based spine surgeon Dr. Kendall Carll has been one of the leading physicians in using PRP to treat back pain and as an adjunct to certain surgical procedures. Contact us at Spine Care of North Texas to learn more about this advanced treatment option.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Blood consists of many components, but it is mainly made of a liquid called plasma, which helps to transport blood cells and platelets. The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain proteins called growth factors, which are very important in healing injuries.
PRP is created by separating the platelets from the rest of the substances within the blood for a more concentrated solution. To create the PRP solution, blood is drawn from the patient and spun in a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the platelets. Once the platelets are separated, the red blood cells are discarded, and the remaining product is the platelet-rich plasma. This solution is then prepared to be reinjected into the patient, either at a surgical site or in the tender tissues. By concentrating the platelets, the net effect is a concentration of key growth factors, which will hopefully promote faster healing from injury or surgery.
"I recently experienced a pinched nerve that severely affected my ability to use my right hand. I contacted Dr. Carll who immediately went to work on my behalf. Knowing that this was a time sensitive situation Dr. Carll went out of his way to ensure that I received the appropriate MRIs, CAT scans, and nerve studies to properly diagnose my situation. After reviewing all the test Dr. Carll exhibited true professionalism and integrity by referring me out to Dr. Patty Young (I am so thankful for your referral) who specialized in the surgery that I would need. Dr. Carll could’ve chosen to operate because I had several degenerative disc, however he chose ethics over profit. Dr. Carll is a true professional that will put your health over profit! When it comes to your health there’s nothing more important than having a doctor that you can trust to be professional and ethical. Thank you Dr. Carll for providing me with both!"- K.H. / Google / Aug 29, 2018
"After being in pain for 3 years, my neck surgery changed my life!"- K.B. / Google / Apr 30, 2023
"Dr carrell read my chart even after not seeeing him for over one year and I appreciate that more than anything. Thank you!"- C.T. / Google / Apr 17, 2023
"Dr Carll treated a broken L4&5 on our teenage son years ago - and is helping me with a degenerative disc. The office is nice, the PA is wonderful, Miss Mary even called back to let me know the prescriptions were called in. Dr Carll was kind, helpful and professional. I couldn’t be more grateful as we work to reduce this pain. I highly recommend Dr. Carll."- A.B. / Google / Mar 27, 2023
"Had an excellent diagnosis, back surgery, and recovery. Dr. Carll must have done an excellent job because I was back on my racing bike for a (short) ride only 7 weeks after surgery - and after 3 months I was back up to 60 miles. 100% recommended."- W.S. / Google / Mar 17, 2023
PRP has been used most often to treat areas of the body that are causing inflammation and pain, such as injured joints. It is also believed to promote healing in damaged cartilage. Platelet-rich plasma injections are used to treat a wide range of physical conditions, but for spine patients, they are most effective for the following conditions:
- Lumbar spine disc pain
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction and pain
- Lumbar and cervical facet dysfunction and pain
- Recovery from back surgery
Factors that can influence the effectiveness of PRP treatment include:
- The area of the body being treated
- The overall health of the patient
- Whether the painful area is the result of an injury or a chronic condition
Before the PRP injections are administered, blood will be drawn and placed in a centrifuge. This process allows for the creation of the concentrated growth factors. Prior to the actual PRP injection process, an anesthetic is typically not needed for most patents, but a local anesthetic may be available upon request. The number of injections needed will vary depending on the condition being treated, as well as the size of the treatment area.
What to Expect
When structures around the spine are being injected, Dr. Carll may use x-ray fluoroscopy, which captures real-time x-ray images to guide the needle and ensure that the platelets are injected in the proper area. In most cases, between two and six injections may be necessary to ensure healing takes place. These injections will be done over time unless part of a surgical procedure. The most noticeable side effect of PRP therapy might be that the injection site may be more painful than before the injection for a period of time. If the PRP is successful, patients should notice a reduction in total pain within 6 – 8 weeks after the procedure.
As with other spine treatments, some level of physical therapy might be recommended following PRP therapy. However, it is important to be careful to not put too much stress on the area following a PRP treatment.
Optimized Injection Therapy
Steroid injections and injections of anesthetic solutions will wear off over time, but PRP therapy could provide a permanent diminishing to pain and/or inflammation. This could prevent the need for future surgeries or the long-term use of pain medications. Furthermore, given that PRP therapy is administered on an outpatient basis, it has a significant advantage over the surgical procedures that might be deployed to treat certain back pain conditions. We invite you to contact one of our North Texas facilities today to learn more about receiving a PRP treatment from board-certified surgeon Dr. Carll.