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Michigan Sports and Spine

Healing after an injury involves a well-orchestrated and complex series of events where proteins in the blood act as messengers to regulate the entire process. Many proteins involved in the healing process are derived from small cell fragments in the blood called platelets.

Platelets are small, colorless, cell fragments present in the blood. They are formed in the bone marrow and are freely passing through the bloodstream in a resting state. However, when an injury occurs, the platelets become activated and start to gather at the injury site to release beneficial proteins called growth factors. This is the beginning of the healing process.

For many years, blood components derived from the patient and then delivered to the site of injury have created growing interest for use in orthopaedic procedures. New research and technology has expanded the application of this therapy for use in orthopaedic procedures.

What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?

Platelet Rich Plasma is a concentration of platelets and growth factors created from a small amount of your own blood or bone marrow. Increased levels of growth factors have the potential to improve signaling and recruitment of cells. This concentrated portion of the blood or bone marrow is often referred to as platelet-rich plasma (PRP).




How does the PRP process work?

Your health care provider will recover a small amount of blood or bone marrow. This sample then goes through a rapid spinning process that separates and concentrates the platelets and other beneficial growth factors from the blood. The entire PRP production process is usually done in less than 30 minutes.

Am I a candidate for PRP Therapy treatment ?

Speak with your physician and ask if PRP is right for you. Your physician will perform an examination to make a determination if the use of PRP will benefit you. If you are taking anti-inflammatory medications or blood thinners, your physician may temporarily discontinue the use of these until your treatment has taken place.

What are the risks associated with this treatment?

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) uses your body’s own natural properties to treat your injury. Side effects utilizing PRP systems are very uncommon.

Will my insurance cover this procedure?

We find that a few insurance companies are covering PRP injections, but the vast majority wont at this time. It is highly unlikely that your insurance carrier will cover stem cells at this time since this is a new cutting edge procedure.


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How Does PRP Help Heal The Body?

  • The body’s first response to soft tissue injury is to deliver platelet cells
  • Packed with growth and healing factors, platelets initiate repair and attract the critical assistance of stem cells
  • PRP’s natural healing process intensifies the body’s efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets directly into the area in need
  • To create PRP, a small sample of your blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds, separating the platelets from the other components. The process is handled manually by a lab technician, producing higher concentrations of platelets and a much more pure concentration of the beneficial blood components
  • The PRP is then injected into and around the point of injury, jump-starting and significantly strengthening the healing process
  • Because your own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection and a low risk of allergic reaction

How Long Does the Procedure Take?

The procedure typically takes a couple of hours, including preparation and recovery time. Performed safely in a medical office, PRP therapy relieves pain without the risks of surgery, general anesthesia, or hospital stays and without a prolonged recovery. In fact, most people return to their jobs or usual activities right after the procedure.


Breathing And Relaxation For Chronic Pain


How Often Should the Procedure be Done?

This will be discussed between you and your physician. Up to three injections may be given within a six-month time frame. However, a large number of people gain considerable to complete relief after the first or second injection.

What are the Expected Results?

Because the goal of PRP therapy is to resolve pain through healing, it could prove to have lasting results. Initial improvement may be seen within a few weeks, gradually increasing as the healing progresses. Research studies and clinical practice have shown PRP therapy to be very effective at relieving pain and returning patients to their normal lives. Both ultrasound and MRI images have shown definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy, confirming the healing process. The need for surgery can also be greatly reduced by treating injured tissues before the damage progresses and the condition is irreversible.


Stem Cells

For more severe problems such as osteoarthritis of joints, we must create a bigger response and provide more assistance to the body by delivering larger numbers of stem cells into the affected area. This is accomplished by injecting stem cells from adipose tissue and/or bone marrow directly into the area. Typically PRP simply can’t recruit enough stem cells to adequately repair this level of injury.

Stem cells are rudimentary cells that can differentiate into other cells of the body. The goal of stem cell injections into the arthritic joint is to resurface cartilaginous structures and repair other diseased elements of the joint.

Mesenchymal stem cells are the cells that repair and regenerate muscle, bone, cartilage, or tendons and the richest source of these types of cells in the body is found in adipose tissue, your fat! Current fat stem cell harvest procedures are very labor intensive and not practical for most practices although new techniques are being developed to accomplish this process with consistency and safety. Often a small fat graft is added with a Stem cell injection. The fat graft provides a source of additional stem cells, favorable chemical mediators and a substrate or template which will help keep the stem cell injectate localized. The fat graft is typically harvested from the lower abdomen or flank (love handles).

Frequently Asked Questions

Are these stem cells the same as embryonic stem cells? No. They are your own adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can transmit genetic diseases that an embryo may carry. These genes could turn on certain cancers. In a young person, this might not initially be a problem but as this person ages the cancer chances will increase. If we used your own stem cells, there is no increased risk of cancer. Adult stem cells are much safer.

Is it better to get stem cells from the bone marrow and then grow them in a lab to increase their numbers?

There are a number of studies that show taking the stem cells out of the body and growing them in a lab makes the stem cells much less effective. More importantly, there is speculation and evidence that growing these stem cells out of the body may cause mutations to the cells possible causing tumor lines. When taking the stem cells from the patient’s very own marrow/fat and putting them right back into the body seems to eliminate these problems.

What is the downtime from a stem cell or platelet procedure?

Essentially, there is no downtime from either procedure. On the contrary, we encourage the patient to go out and use the extremity. This apparently helps the stem cells do their job better. Of course one should expect some post-procedure discomfort (the degree will vary based on the area being treated and your own pain tolerance) but this is usually limited to a few days or a week. Stem cells will usually hurt for a bit longer than PRP.

How do we know that this is a safe procedure?

There have been no reports in the literature showing adverse reactions from stem cells or platelets when using the patient’s own cells and putting them back into the same body the same day. It is hard to imagine something safer than re-injecting one’s own body. In addition the risk of infection is extremely low as both PRP and BMAC are bactericidal (i.e. - contains white cells and other products that help the body fight infection).

Will my insurance cover this procedure?

Even though this therapy has been around for years,  this is a cutting edge technology and  insurance plans do not  currently cover these injections.  

Please contact us for current pricing. These expenses may be reimbursable through qualified Health Spending Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Medical Savings Account (MSA), or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). Please contact your plan administrator for details.

How often does the procedure work?

We have performed many PRP procedures in our office with results usually equal to or surpassing more typical orthopedic procedures which involve surgery and sometimes substantial downtime and lost time from work.

For more information, please discuss with your health care provider .

PRP happens to be one of the safest procedures out there

Why Choose Us

Our studies prove that MSSC has patient success rates much higher than the national average.

Innovative leaders utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as muskuloskeletal ultrasounds.

MSSC is committed to resolving your pain, not simply masking it. 

We treat everyone from high-profile athletes to your neighbor next door.