Platelet-Rich Fibrin Therapy
Platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) therapy is the newest and most exciting addition to the field of regenerative medicine. This treatment option will essentially replace platelet rich plasma (PRP) as a more effective and advanced option. PRF is replacing steroid injections in many cases, due to its safer profile and longer-lasting results.
There are some specific differences between PRP and PRF. PRF is processed in a centrifuge using a lower spin speed so that more stem cells can be maintained in the platelet product. There is also the advantage of using less heparin during the processing so that the final product is essentially more pure. The typical PRP product has anywhere from 2-5 times the platelet concentration that we typically have in our body. A PRF product has at least 10 times the platelet concentration we have in our body. Overall, PRF is the direction that platelet-derived regenerative medicine products will be moving in. We are very pleased to offer this product already.
The procedure of collecting PRF is very straightforward. A simple blood draw is performed, and the whole blood sample is then placed in a special centrifuge, which separates the platelets and plasma from the remaining cells in the blood. This platelet and plasma mixture contains a concentration of platelets several times higher than that found in the human body. This PRF is then drawn into a syringe and placed into the target area of tissue damage under either ultrasound or fluoroscope guidance.
Platelets are known to contain hundreds of growth factors, which aid in decreasing local inflammation and healing injured tissue. When PRF is placed into areas of tissue damage, the time needed to heal the tissue drastically decreases. There are minimal risks with this procedure, and results can be seen within a few weeks. In some cases, more than one PRF injection may be necessary.
All regenerative medicine patients at Spine & Joint Solutions will receive a comprehensive approach to their treatment process. This will include a full consultation, during which all questions will be answered. A packet will be provided that includes information on what to expect before, during and after the procedure. This will include post-injection protocols and activity modifications, as well as what to expect from the rehabilitation process, which begins four weeks after the injection. An outline describing an anti-inflammatory diet, suggested supplements, and recipes will also be included. Patients may be asked to wear a brace or use crutches to offload the joint or spine region that was treated.
Additionally, each patient who undergoes treatment with either PRF or stem cells will be asked to take part in the research that is being conducted at Spine & Joint Solutions. This will consist of filling out simple questionnaires before treatment and again at specific points following treatment. Repeat imaging may be pursued to ensure tissue healing.