Platelet Injections to Promote Healing Now Being Used During Surgery at Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus

BRUNSWICK, Georgia: May 8, 2012 – Platelet-rich plasma therapy, a promising treatment that helps accelerate healing, is now being used as a complement to podiatry surgery at Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus. Gary Grolemund, DPM, began using the treatment in April for several patients who have had surgery for bunions and heel spurs, and he is seeing good results.

When used in conjunction with surgery, platelet-rich plasma therapy involves collecting a small sample of the patient’s blood while in the surgical holding area. The amount collected is about the same as would be for a laboratory test. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge, a machine that spins the blood and separates the platelet-rich plasma from the rest of the blood. This small amount of platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the patient around the surgical site. The high concentration of platelets — from three to 10 times that of normal blood — can activate the growth of new soft tissue and bone cells. The process is extremely safe because using the patient’s own blood means there is no risk transmission infection.

Dr. Grolemund explains the theory behind platelet-rich therapy. “Platelets are known to be responsible for blood clotting, but in the last 20 years we have learned that they also contain healing proteins called growth factors,” he says. “When the body is injured, platelets in our blood migrate to the injury site and release these growth factors that initiate healing. By injecting these platelets in concentrated form at the surgical site, we can jump-start the body’s natural healing process and hasten a patient’s recovery.”

Platelet-rich plasma injections are also being used in conjunction with surgery by several podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons at the Health System’s Brunswick Campus. Across the United States, it is becoming a popular treatment in doctor’s offices as an alternative to surgery to relieve pain and promote the healing of tendon injuries and osteoarthritis.