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Is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Blood Doping?

June 6, 2011

By now you’ve probably heard of the experimental treatment known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy used on ligament, muscle and tendon tears.

It was made famous by both Tiger Woods and Super Bowl wide receiver Hines Ward when they both received PRP injections that supposedly allowed them to recover from injuries quickly and perform in top shape.

As you can imagine, it’s creating quite a stir in the sports medicine community.

That’s not surprising.

Anytime a new treatment is used–and it’s extremely successful–people are suspicious and want to know if it’s legal. In fact, one of the most asked questions that I receive is this: “Is platelet rich plasma blood doping?”

The short answer is no, it’s not blood doping. Let me explain.

The Difference between PRP Therapy and Blood Doping

True blood doping occurs when an athlete has some of his blood removed, waits for a period of time so that his body will restore that lost blood and then injecting the drawn blood back into his body.

The benefit is a boost in oxygen-rich blood. Blood doping is illegal.

PRP therapy, on the other hand, occurs within the time it takes a doctor to draw blood, spin down that blood in a centrifuge so the growth factors and the platelets are concentrated into a serum and then injecting that serum back into the injured area of the athlete’s body.

And not only is this treatment completely legal but PRP therapy is one of the best ways to heal sports injuries without resorting to traditional methods like cortisone injections and surgery and the side-effects and long-term recovery periods these treatments demand.

Want to know more about the benefits of PRP therapy and how they can heal your sports injury? Either give us a call or visit our office in St. Louis. We look forward to hearing from you.

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