Value of Blood Treatment Questioned

The New York Times—New York, NY—January 12, 2010

It is a new procedure, based on an idea that once seemed revolutionary: Inject people with their own blood, concentrated so it is mostly platelets, the tiny colorless bodies that release substances that help repair tissues.

"The underlying rationale for P.R.P. makes sense," said Dr. Scott A. Rodeo, an orthopedist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and author of a review of the treatment. But, Dr. Rodeo added, "We don't know the most fundamental things about the causes of tendinopathy," the degenerative changes in tendons underlying many injuries.

Meanwhile, researchers are asking fundamental questions: Should injections be done immediately or after time has passed? Do the injected platelets quickly diffuse? If so, can they be held in place? How long should they stay in the injured area? Do people need more than one injection?

Research is now under way.

 Dr. Rodeo is studying platelet injections during surgery to repair rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder. And he is doing more basic research on the biology of platelet injections.

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