Treating injuries with blood spinning

Fox 5 New York—February 11, 2013

What do Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, and Tiger Woods all have in common? Blood spinning.

A healing technique called PRP, platelet-rich plasma, which was once available only to elite athletes, is now benefiting weekend warriors.

Valerie Oltarsh-McCarthy, 55, is an adventure traveler and works out five or six times a week. Valerie had experienced knee problems for years, but six months ago arthritis in her right knee sidelined her.

"It's really painful to squat or bend down so it really inhibits a good bit of stuff that I'd like to be able to do," she said.

In hopes of avoiding surgery, Valerie turned to Dr. Brian Halpern at Hospital for Special Surgery. He recommended PRP therapy, which uses the patient's own blood and platelets to heal the injury.

"We take your blood, we spin it down, we concentrate your platelets and we inject your knee with your own platelets," Dr. Halpern said.

A vial of the patient's blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge where it spins at an extremely high speed. Once the vial is removed, the red and white blood cells are separated from the platelet rich plasmas.

"It uses your own platelets, which you do not react to at all," Dr. Halpern said. "They talk to your own cells. They activate growth factors and try to reboot your healing computer for whatever body part we're dealing with."

Valerie, who had PRP done on both knees, said the results were really good.

"Within about a week or so there was a real diminishment of the acute pain in my knee and then over a couple of months much greater mobility in my knee," she said.

View the full story at myfoxny.com.

Read the news release on the study: Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment Shows Potential for Knee Osteoarthritis.

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