A Patient’s Experience
Regenerative Medicine is a fairly modern approach to treating patients who are suffering from chronic and acute pain. It uses Platelet-Rich Plasma found in your blood to regenerate damaged or injured tissue. We have talked about this process in detail in previous blogs, and go over questions and answers in our latest video discussion.
As physician in pain medicine I am constantly seeking further education, and researching the latest procedures to help heal patients suffering from chronic pain. One of the treatments that I truly believe in is, Platelet-Rich Plasma injections. It’s a cutting-edge treatment that may help to relieve chronic/acute pain, heal an injury and prolong the need for surgery. I have actually done this treatment to my own knees a few times and have seen a significant improvement.
Today, I want to talk about one patient in particular. His name is Mark Levrett and he is a 57 year old male dealing with chronic knee pain. Mark is an avid mountain bike rider and hiker. He enjoys being active, but has had to retire from other sports that he loves because of the health of his knees. His Knee pain started in his teenage years. Mark was a motocross rider/racer in Northern, NV.
During a race he injured his knee while on his motorcycle and had to have surgery. The diagnosis was a medial and lateral tear of his meniscus. Mark wanted to make racing motorcycles a career, but because of his injury he couldn’t continue and decided to retire.
From then on Mark continued his active life in extreme sports. He went from motorcycles to racing jet skies, go-kart racing, avid tennis/racquetball player, and then later in his life he was an off-road racer. A few years ago Mark had to slow down with the level of activity he was maintaining because his knees wouldn’t keep up with his lifestyle and the pain continued to get worse.
What Made Him Choose Regenerative Medicine?
After walking around for years with a limp, succumbing to the pain, Mark heard about PRP injections and decided to inquire about the procedure. Not wanting to have surgery, Mark decided that he was willing to try alternative treatments to see if he could get some relief from his pain and regain his strength and range of motion.
Regenerative Medicine was a treatment he had never heard about, but after speaking with myself and doing his own research, he came to the decision that this is exactly what he was looking for. He knew it was safe and liked that it was his own body that is regenerating and repairing itself. He also was keen on the idea that it could possibly prolong the need for surgery.
Mark flew to Scottsdale from Reno, NV to receive his first treatment. After going over his medical history and doing a thorough ultrasound exam I found that there was a full tear in his medial meniscus tendon on his right and left knee. The health of his knees were very poor and had severe fluid retention and damage. Seeing the damage of his knee tissue, I understood why his pain has been so severe. Because his knees are so badly damaged, I advised him that he may need more than one treatment.
We also talked about the importance of following the post-procedure protocol to help increase his results and give him a better outcome. I really tried to fully communicate that this is not a magic treatment and it won’t fix the problem overnight, but if he’s dedicated to getting better and does the work, he may notice a significant difference.
On the day of his procedure, Mark came into the office fasting and properly hydrated. When a patient fasts it helps to create more nutrient dense blood which then creates quality PRP. Being properly hydrated is important as well so the patient has an easier blood draw and we have a good chance of finding a good vein. Once Mark filled out his paperwork, he came into the exam room where I went over his medical history again and did another ultrasound exam to confirm my initial findings.
I explained the process to him in detail and showed him what I saw during the exam. He was then escorted into our relaxation room for a standard blood draw. The blood was taken and placed in our state of the art centrifuge to be spun down. That whole process took about 20-30 minutes. During this time, Mark watched a movie in our relaxation room before being escorted into the procedure room.
Once the blood was done spinning, I removed the tube from the centrifuge and transferred it into several syringes. I then cleaned and sterilized Mark’s knee and then properly draped the area. While doing the injections I used my ultrasound machine to guide me through the process. This showed me exactly where I was putting my needle and gave me the accuracy and safety that I need when doing an injection. Mark asked for numbing with the injection to make the procedure more comfortable and tolerable. He said this helped tremendously and he barely felt the injections.
After the injections were done, I cleaned the area again and bandaged it up to keep the area sterile. I then placed a brace on each knee to give him the support he needed. I went over all of the post-procedure protocol and sent him home with a complete guide of what to expect. This guide includes, do’s and don’ts after the procedure, physical therapy recommendations, anti-inflammatory food menu, shopping list and recipe guide.
We scheduled our follow up for about 6-8 weeks out. We will do this via zoom because he does live in another city and it is more convenient for him. I advised Mark that the first night is uncomfortable and it will slowly get better, but there are going to be good and bad days. Some days he may notice no pain at all and others a little more than normal. This is all part of the healing process. I told Mark to rest from any major activity for at least one week to give the knees the proper healing that they need. Mark expressed that the procedure was easier than he expected and that the pain of the procedure was not terrible.
After the Procedure
Mark was sore the first night, which I expected. Each day after he slowly has been getting better. I checked in with him this morning and he said that he had a great day yesterday and was able to work on his feet for almost 12 hours without an issue. The goal is to let his knees continue to heal and get better over time. With the proper diet and physical therapy routine, Mark has a high chance of receiving a level of success from the treatment.
When a person has this treatment done, it is a process. Depending on the severity of your injury will determine how well you will heal. Someone with minor injury and discomfort may be able to heal with one treatment, whereas someone like Mark or even myself, may need a few treatments. There is no one size fits all and we just have to start with one treatment and go from there.
For me and for several other patients who have done this treatment the benefit is to hopefully prolong surgery and get back to a better quality of life. If this is achieved than I would say the procedure is a success.
Watch the video that is included with this article to see the entire process from start to finish. You will also be able to meet mark and view his journey.
Here’s to better health and less pain,
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