Patient's own blood heals

August 13, 2009 8:51:14 PM PDT
Some doctors are finding that one of the best healing agents is already inside our own bodies. The road to recovery for Brian Schneider has been a long one and it's not done yet.

In April 2008, the Philadelphia police officer was putting his motorcycle into formation for a routine escort when his bike slipped out from under him.

"I tried to recover and bring it back up, but it went out too far and I heard an amazing," Schneider said.

Brian's lower left leg wasn't just broken, the bone was split lengthwise

Doctors set it, but weeks later, when it wasn't healing, he turned to Dr. Samir Mehta of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Mehta is using a cutting-edge treatment called Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP. It's made from a patient's own blood.

"It takes what's in the blood, the natural nutrients in the blood, and it concentrates them," Dr. Mehta said.

With a blood substitute, he shows us how about 3 Tablespoons of blood is specially filtered, to get that concentrate.

What's left is about 2 teaspoons of nutrient-packed plasma.

Brian's had his blood drawn. It was filtered and then the concentrated plasma was re-injected into his fracture.

"His healing response once we applied this was dramatic, absolutely dramatic," Dr. Mehta said.

And now that the split has healed, Brian is focusing on regaining strength and agility so he can go back to the Highway Patrol.

Dr. Peter DeLuca, the Eagles team doctor at the Rothman Institute, also began looking into PRP after team owner Jeffrey Lurie heard about its success in Europe.

Dr. DeLuca is now using it to treat chronic soft tissue problems like the tendinitis in Peter Kleiner's elbow.

He's also used it for several pro-athletes including Eagles' player Jon Dorenbos. He had elbow pain that didn't improve with traditional treatments.

"What an athlete likes to hear is that now we have something that will help speed up the healing. It will heal the problem, not just treat your symptoms," Dr. DeLuca said.

Brian Schneider says PRP changed his life.

"If it wasn't for that treatment, I'd probably be retired from the police department," Schneider said.

Studies so far have shown the treatment is safe, but it's still unknown when and how often injections are needed.

In the U.S., right now, It's only approved to repair

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