Regenerative Medical Techniques Featuring ACP also known as PRP
Healing after an injury or strain involves an orchestrated series of events. The proteins in the blood promote effective repair. The highest concentration of these proteins is held within the special blood cell fragments for clotting called platelets. Platelets are formed in the bone marrow and flow within the blood stream in a quiet state. When an injury occurs, the platelets are activated are gather at the injury site just like an angry mob. They release beneficial proteins called growth factors. (This is better than an angry mob throwing rocks or bad fruit). This is the first step to the healing process.
Just as the computer industry grows exponentially, so does the medical field. Often the Veterinary field is actually ahead of human practice since most of the products are used on animals first. There are many different regenerative medical options available and many of them we can actually mix and match. I wanted to start today with the fastest and most financially affordable of the three most popular treatments. Autologous Conditioned Plasma (ACP) or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)-Dont stop reading!!!!, Im going to get simple now; they are derived from your animals own personal blood. We take a simple collection of a mere 10 ccs of blood, using a special double syringe. We spin it in a centrifuge which has a rotor arm specifically designed for this purpose. This occurs immediately after the blood draw, and the ACP is available for stall side treatment in less than an hour.
The plasma containing the concentrated healing factor is then injected into the injured ligament, tendon, joint, or wound. Often we assist the deposition of the ACP using ultrasound guidance.
Unlike the corticosteroids that we have always used in the past, there is no harmful effect. The cartilage is not degraded and the immune system is not depressed. ACP uses the patients own natural healing properties to treat the injury.
Tears, defects, degeneration or inflammation can often be treated successfully with ACP. It can also be a beneficial additional treatment to a site that has had a recent catastrophic injury. Picture a horse that has recently sat on a metal t-post. The sutures can pull the torn muscle together, but they would definitely appreciate some assistance. Then those large muscles that are basically tenuously basted together can mend with a more perfect matrix, rather than a cross hatched scar knitting them together.
ACP has shown significant promise for improving pain relief and function in the treatment of arthritis. The possibility of providing a treatment using the patients own blood products to soothe this common crippling disease is a huge benefit for veterinarians and their patients.
For more information regarding regenerative medicine treatments call to schedule your horses Lameness Exam and discuss treatment.
Dr. B.K. Thwaits Resident Vet