New therapy heals joints without surgery

LOS ANGELES He's a mild mannered software executive. But when he's not working, Tom Rauscher is a national pole vaulting champion who still competes. All that sprinting, planting and twisting has taken a toll on knees and shoulders.

"So you are taking the force of the pole into your shoulder. That can cause problems and that is what has happened to me," said Tom.

Despite physical therapy and cortisone injections, Tom's pain persisted. On this day he's getting a treatment that sounds far too easy and simple. Platelet rich plasma therapy is a procedure usually reserved to enhance joint surgery, but now it's being done in the doctor's office.

"We have seen great success in many patients with no reported side effects," said Dr. Steven Sampson, OrthoHealing.

Technicians draw a small amount of blood from the patient. It's placed in a centrifuge which increases the concentration of platelets.

Platelets were initially known to be responsible for blood clotting, but in the last 20 years doctors learned when activated in the body platelets release healing proteins called growth factors.

"What we're doing is just manipulating the body's natural ability to heal. And concentrating the patient's platelets and putting it within in a millimeter of that area so that accelerate their healing," said Dr. Sampson.

Dr. Sampson uses ultrasound therapy to guide where he places the injection.

Tom had PRP therapy on both his knees, he says they're pain free. On this day, he's getting a second round on his shoulder.

"I've got a better range of motion and it is almost 100 percent," said Tom.

Each treatment costs about $1,500. The office procedure is not FDA approved so it's not covered by insurance. Tom says avoiding surgery has made it worth it.

He feels he's added another 15 years to his joints.

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