To listen to some people speak, avoiding knee surgery by undergoing PRP therapy is as bad as refusing to have your children inoculated against polio and measles. There is such hysteria surrounding regenerative medicine that some people cannot think of one good reason to even consider it. That is unfortunate because PRP therapy has proven itself as a viable option for musculoskeletal injuries, degenerative joint disease, and hair loss.
The doctors undergoing regenerative medicine training at the Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) in Salt Lake City learn how to administer the PRP procedure correctly. Upon completing their training, they are ready to go back to their own practices where they can begin helping patients looking for an alternative. And really, that is what this is all about.
The ARMI equips doctors to offer their patients an alternative to invasive surgeries, corticosteroid injections, and long-term pain medication. Those patients who willingly elect PRP therapy do so because they either aren’t interested in those other treatments or those treatments have already failed them.
The Need for a Bogeyman
It is rather curious to read news stories and blog posts discussing different viewpoints on regenerative medicine. It seems that for every one person with a favorable opinion, there are at least several more with an unfavorable one. But why so much negativity over procedures that have already been deemed safe by the FDA?
It could be no more complicated than society’s insatiable need for a bogeyman. Whenever something goes wrong, we look for someone or something to blame. We cannot just accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world in which bad things sometimes happen.
Because three patients down in Florida were given harmful injections by a doctor who clearly crossed the line, there is a knee-jerk reaction to condemn the entire regenerative medicine industry. Suddenly, PRP injections for osteoarthritis of the knee should be avoided. Suddenly the Miami case proves that all of regenerative medicine is dangerous quackery. It doesn’t make sense.
Along with our national obsession with bogeymen is a similar obsession with sensationalizing everything. It’s no longer enough just to report factual information. Everything has to be embellished in order to make for a compelling headline. And when you print a compelling headline, you have to back it up with sensationalized reporting.
Patients Do Find Relief
It is absolutely true that there are few clinical studies proving that PRP therapy is an effective way to treat osteoarthritis and thereby avoid knee surgery. Very few regenerative medicine practitioners will dispute that. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from actual patients themselves.
The fact of the matter is that patients do find relief via PRP therapy. Not all of them find permanent relief, and some don’t realize any reduction in pain whatsoever. But other patients go on to live the kinds of lives they enjoyed before their knee pain kicked in. Their stories are true even if critics refuse to believe them.
There are a lot of things in modern medicine worthy of concern and criticism. The ballooning cost of healthcare as a result of billions of dollars in unnecessary treatments is but one example. But people avoiding knee surgery by electing to try PRP therapy instead is not one of them.
PRP therapy is not a bad thing. As long as doctors make every effort to ensure their procedures are compliant with current regulations, they can be a very good thing. So let us stop treating PRP injections and other regenerative medicine procedures as though they are the biggest medical danger since the plague.