Dr. Brian Kahan of The Kahan Center for Pain Management is seeing tremendous results with platelet-rich plasma therapy
When Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis went down with a severe triceps injury in week six of the 2012 season, many feared that his team’s playoff hopes went down with him. As an essential part of getting him back on the playing field as soon, and as whole, as possible, Lewis received a relatively new treatment called Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) after it had delivered remarkable results to such fellow sports superstars as Lewis’ teammate Terrell Suggs and the L.A. Lakers Kobe Bryant.
“PRP has proved extremely effective in the treatment of a wide variety of sports injuries,” shared Dr. Brian Kahan of The Kahan Center for Pain Management, who’s been administering PRP therapy to his patients for nearly two years. “However, this treatment protocol is equally effective for all kinds of musculoskeletal injuries for practically everyone, whether that person is an athlete, was an athlete or has no athletic history whatsoever.”
According to Dr. Kahan, who has offices in Annapolis, Chester and Salisbury, we all sustain injury or damage to bones and soft tissue — including cartilage, joints, tendons, ligaments and skin — as a result of everyday living.
What’s more, even the most cautious and injury-free person will experience degradations to these key areas as a normal function of aging, since they all lose elasticity and become brittle over time. This inevitable reality makes PRP therapy a good idea for just about everyone, with potential applications that include lower-back pain, joint pain, nerve damage, osteoarthritis, cardiac muscle injury, oral surgery and even cosmetic surgery.
“PRP has demonstrated considerable efficacy in people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles,” emphasized Dr. Kahan, who was named as a “Top Doc for Pain” in 2012 by Baltimore magazine in addition to many other accolades and honors. “Just as important, PRP can be used not only for its restorative and regenerative properties but even as a preventative healthcare strategy. In other words, it’s really never too soon to administer PRP. The sooner in the degenerative process it’s used, the better the long-term prognosis is likely to be.”
With PRP, one’s own anticoagulated blood undergoes a two-stage centrifugation process that separates the red blood cells and certain other material from the plasma. Then, the plasma is enriched with autologous platelets that contain key growth factors and other cell-signaling molecules that stimulate the healing of bone and soft tissue. There is no chance of rejection by the body, either, since PRP uses only the patient’s own blood and platelets.
PRP therapy is approved by the FDA in two formats, and the process is ridiculously simple. Following an initial consultation and examination, practitioners like Dr. Kahan simply inject the target area with PRP synthesized from the patient’s own blood, then have him/her return approximately two weeks later for some physical therapy and a reevaluation. If indicated at that time, a second injection could be administered, followed by more physical therapy. Though there is no predetermined limit to the number of PRP injections one may have, Dr. Kahan reports that most patients need no more than two or three based on the applications for which the treatment is currently approved and recommended. And that’s about all there is to it. The process is simple, safe, virtually painless and vastly preferable, comparatively speaking, to either the invasive trauma and lengthy recovery time of surgery or the often problematic side-effects of corticosteroid injections. Best of all, it really works.
“I’ve treated at least 75 patients with platelet-rich plasma therapy so far, and I’d estimate that between one-half and three-fourths of them have experienced either full recovery or substantial improvement,” offered Dr. Kahan, who also said that the treatment is covered by most health-insurance providers and is eminently affordable to most middle-class budgets.
“Personally, I don’t think we’ve seen anywhere near the full range of applications for this therapy. In the years to come, I think PRP is going to improve the lives of millions, in a wide variety of ways.”
To the astonishment of many, Ray Lewis returned to the Ravens and has been practicing with them since Dec. 5. At press time, he was considered probable for the playoffs.
THE KAHAN CENTER FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT
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