Regenerative Medicine: Evidence Suggests Human Body Best Resource for Healing
The human body may be its own best ally when it comes to the treatment of injuries, ulcers and deformities, especially when it concerns helping a patient's foot or ankle to heal faster.
"One such advance is using a patient's own human cells/tissues to help them heal (regenerative medicine)," says Stephen A. Brigido, DPM, FACFAS, a Pennsylvania foot and ankle surgeon and Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. "An area of continued study among foot and ankle surgeons, using platelet-rich plasma (PRP), shows particular promise for patients needing quick recovery times from a foot injury or surgery," he added.
During a doctor's visit, a patient's own plasma is enriched with their platelets, by taking blood out, almost as if they are donating blood. The blood is then separated. Two healing parts of the blood (platelets and plasma) are injected back into the patient right where they need it most—the injury.
All kinds of patients can benefit from the use of PRP, but some injuries and conditions, or those who are on their feet often, may benefit more from using regenerative medicine techniques.
"Achilles tears, for example, are a common injury for those constantly on their feet," says Dr. Brigido. "The Achilles can be injected with platelet-rich plasma during a regular office visit and the injection is almost as quick as getting a flu shot. The 'healing qualities' of the platelet-rich plasma can turbo-boost healing," he adds.
Patients living with diabetes are also more prone to ulcers on their feet, wounds that can be very difficult to heal due to poor blood circulation. "The use of PRP treatments can help these patients by bringing healing platelet-rich plasma to a part of the body that is deficient in healthy oxygen-rich blood," says Dr. Brigido. "The great thing about PRP is it gives patients like this the extra nudge they need to get their own body to start to heal itself," he added.