Positive Results Through Two Years of Follow-up
New York, NY—April 5, 2017
A clinical study of 49 patients who underwent intradiscal platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections for low back pain found significant improvements in pain and function through two years of follow-up. Dr. Gregory Lutz, Founder and Medical Director of the Regenerative SportsCare Institute, and Physiatrist-in-Chief Emeritus, Hospital for Special Surgery, presented the two-year results at the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation’s Annual Conference in Broomfield, Colorado last month.
The study’s findings show that using intradiscal PRP to treat early-stage degenerated spinal disc disease resulted in lasting improvements in pain, function, and patient satisfaction in 60% of the patients treated. The strengths of this study were its double-blind, randomized, controlled trial design, a rigorous selection process, and long-term data collection for the majority of participants. In addition, all of the patients in the study had failed conservative treatment and were considering a spinal fusion surgery for treatment.
Age, poor posture, and injury weaken spinal discs, causing cracks or tears to develop in the disc wall over time. Because spinal discs are filled with small nerve endings, these tears can develop into sources of chronic back pain in many patients. The adult disc has a limited blood supply, and therefore poor inherent healing potential. Conventional treatments for degenerated discs, which include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and spinal fusion surgery, are often not effective in the long-term and can be fraught with complications.
Intradiscal PRP is an outpatient procedure that uses the patient’s own blood platelet cells to address the underlying issue of disc health, rather than merely alleviate disease symptoms. “Blood is taken from the patient, processed in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets, loaded into a syringe and then gently advanced into the painful disc levels under precise x-ray guidance,” said Dr. Lutz. “Growth factors are activated to help repair the tissue and the PRP fills and seals the tears in the outer wall of the disc. The beauty of intradiscal PRP is that it harnesses the patient’s own innate ability to heal.”
The subjects in the study included a 20-year old powerlifter and a 54-year-old woman with severe, chronic low back pain, among others. After two years of failed therapies and pain, the female patient, having received PRP injections at the time of discography, reported near complete pain relief. At 2 years post-procedure, she continued to report sustained improvement in both pain and function. The results attest to the potential of intradiscal PRP to sustain long-term improvements in patients suffering from degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine.
“Biologic therapies like intradiscal PRP represent the beginning of a paradigm shift in orthopedics. Using a patient’s own cells, we are able to help patients not only avoid more aggressive spinal fusion surgery, but also eliminate the need for long-term medications.” Dr. Lutz and his research team will be initiating research trials in the near future for knee osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions using the patient’s own stem cells.
About low back pain (LBP)
As the number one cause of disability among Americans between 45 and 65 years of age, LBP affects approximately 80% of adults, who will experience at least one episode of LBP during their lifetime. Furthermore, LBP imposes a significant economic burden on the US healthcare system, amounting to the costliest musculoskeletal problem in the nation.
About Regenerative SportsCare Institute
The mission of the Regenerative SportsCare Institute (RSI) is to provide patients with safe and innovative musculoskeletal therapies that harness the body’s own natural capacity to heal and regenerate. At RSI, patients receive high quality, personalized care in a state-of-the-art clinic that accommodates same-day diagnosis and treatment. Understanding that each patient is unique, RSI’s team of healthcare professionals embrace a philosophy that involves replacing drugs and surgeries with more natural, pro-healing regenerative treatments. Their team of doctors treat a range of musculoskeletal conditions, including sports injuries, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and tendon tears. RSI is located conveniently in New York City’s Upper East Side and online at www.regensportscare.com.
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