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The American Association of Orthopedic Medicine (AAOM) has officially weighed in on the usefulness of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy as a treatment for certain orthopedic issues. An original story published by HealthDay in December 2018 regarding the organization’s position has been carried by numerous other news outlets, including U.S. News and World Report.
According to the AAOM, PRP therapy has shown promise in treating “osteoarthritis of the knee, shoulder, hip and spine; rotator cuff tears; chronic plantar fasciitis; and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.” The organization went on to explain the process behind the treatment and what it accomplishes from a healing perspective.
As a company that specializes in providing PRP kits and other materials and equipment to doctors and clinics, we believe that the AAOM has done a great service to regenerative medicine by publicly endorsing PRP therapy. Putting their full weight behind PRP therapy adds legitimacy to a form of medicine that is currently struggling under a mountain of unnecessarily negative press.
Understanding the importance of AAOM’s endorsement starts with knowing a little bit more about the organization. The AAOM is an association of physicians in the U.S. and Canada that believe in the benefits of orthopedic medicine as a separate discipline for treating musculoskeletal injury and disease. The group was founded in 1983.
Up to that point, orthopedic medicine was used mostly as a follow-up to surgical procedures. Association doctors wanted to change that. By focusing on orthopedics as a separate discipline, they felt they could better treat illness, disease, and injury from a proactive standpoint.
Given the organization’s mission and its acceptance of other treatments, including prolotherapy, it’s no surprise that they are supportive of PRP therapy. The whole concept of PRP therapy is rooted in the goal of treating things like osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal injuries without having to rely on surgery and extensive use of pain medications. It is a proactive approach by its very nature.
At this point, it’s important to step back and seriously look at the mindset behind PRP therapy. In short, PRP practitioners understand that there is more than one way to treat a given illness or injury. For example, let’s talk about the ligament injuries that send so many professional baseball pitchers to their surgeons every year.
Tommy John surgery is one of the most well-known surgeries in all sports medicine thanks to the number of high-profile pitchers who have undergone it. But the surgery is not the only way to treat the underlying elbow injury. In fact, the surgery can permanently end a pitcher’s career just as easily as resurrecting it.
Plenty of baseball pitchers have elected PRP or stem cell therapy instead of Tommy John surgery. Many have returned to competitive play without ever having undergone the surgery. And among those who found PRP or stem cell therapy unsuccessful, surgery was still an option. Nothing was lost by trying one of the injection therapies before going under the knife.
Taking this discussion to its logical conclusion suggests that PRP therapy is something that should be available to everyone. It is, but it isn’t. How can that be?
PRP therapy is available to just about anyone who wants it in this country. And yet, health insurance companies do not cover it. So it really comes down to whether a patient can afford the therapy. The AAOM believes in it, and so do we. We sincerely hope insurance companies get on board sooner rather than later.
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