LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The human body is truly amazing when it comes to healing itself from many health problems. Sometimes, though, it needs a little kick-start and in this Healthcast, we show you how one procedure involving a patient's own fluids might be the answer.
Three weeks ago, 16-year-old Kolby LeJeune couldn't perform the simple task of bending her leg without hurting. "I was unable to walk, unable to bend the knee, in extreme pain," she says.
When orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Drez with Lake Charles Memorial Hospital diagnosed her injury as inflammation in her patella tendon, she had the choice of giving up marching band to ease the pain or try out a new treatment option. "There was absolutely no option of quitting marching band," says Kolby, "I plan to attend college and it's on a music scholarship."
So, with that determination to keep on going, Dr. Drez suggested "platelet-rich plasma therapy" for Kolby, a treatment involving the extraction and injection of a person's own serum into the injured area. "It has various growth factors in it that accelerate or kick-start the healing process," explains Dr. Drez.
It takes about 15 minutes to get a person's blood separated to what will and will not be used. "We start the process with drawing the blood," says Dr. Drez, "then we spin it down. After you spin it down you separate the clotted red blood cells and white blood cells from the serum, which is the yellowish fluid. That's put into a syringe and injected into the area where the inflammation exists."
Like oil and water, the platelet-rich plasma separates in a solid layer above the red blood cells. Dr. Drez says the injection of the serum back into the patient is extremely safe. "It has absolutely no detrimental effects," he says, "because you are using the patient's own blood or serum to do this."
Kolby had her first and only injection two weeks ago and is now back in step with her high school band. "I hope to continue doing band and everything that I love for years to come," says Kolby.
*Dr. Drez actually got the idea to do this therapy after learning about Pittsburgh Steeler's team doctor, Jim Bradley's, success with an injured wide receiver just before the Super Bowl. The only side effect noted at this time is discomfort for 24-48 hours at the site of the injection.