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Want to avoid surgery for joint pain? Pro athletes, others try PRP and stem cell injections

Charlotte Observer—November 25, 2016

Charlotte Observer's Karen Garloch reports on the rise of PRP and stem cell therapy in Charlotte. She writes that PRP therapy first gained widespread attention in 2009 even though research to support it is still thin. New providers are marketing regenerative medicine as an alternative to joint replacement surgery.

Brian C. Halpern, MD, chief of the primary care sports medicine service at HSS, is withholding judgment on stem cell injections until there is more data, but is enthusiastic about PRP. He got interested in PRP years ago after becoming concerned about the long-term effects of cortisone injections.

"The beautiful part about this is that your patient is healing themselves," said Dr. Halpern. "You're using their cells to heal them. You're not putting a drug in there."

Scott A. Rodeo, MD, sports medicine surgeon at HSS, also praises the potential for PRP and uses it on occasion but is careful about claims of success because research data is mixed.

"The marketing gets ahead of the science," said Dr. Rodeo. "There is great potential there. But we need more data."

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