Cost Effective Alternatives to Supartz or Chicken Fat Injections
As of April 1, 2018, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan will no longer cover any hyaluronic acid injections for arthritis. This includes injections better known as Supartz™, Synvisc™, Effflexa™ or sometimes referred to as roster comb and/or chicken fat injections. Medicare and Blue Cross products covering Medicare will still cover these injections. The rationale is not due to any adverse reactions or increasing cost of the injections, but rather due to a recommendation from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Without insurance reimbursement, these treatments can cost up to $1600 which is a terrible burden for our patients. However, Advanced Orthopedic Specialists and Dr. Edward G. Loniewski have come up with some very cost effective treatment alternatives that are more effective, safer and less time consuming than the current hyaluronic injection series.
In summary, we have the following cost effective options:
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections – This uses the healing growth factors of your own blood to relieve pain and restore function better than hyaluronic injections with just one treatment
- Homeopathic Traumeel™ and Zeel™ Injections- Imported from Germany and clinically proven to reduce pain without any known side effects. Three injections given one week apart
- Joint Builder Ultra™- This special combination of oral hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, boswellia and MSM provide relief of pain
- Multi-Waved Locked System (MLS) Laser™- Medical grade dual laser therapy to reduce inflammation and pain without any injection or side effects
This blog will focus on Platelet Rich Plasma as an alternative:
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a treatment we have used at Advanced Orthopedic Specialists since 2005. Dr. Loniewski has performed over 4,000 of these treatments with very good and safe results. This is the most natural injection you can receive since it comes from your own blood. Thus, there is no rejection or adverse reactions. One single blood poke is all it takes to obtain about 40 cc of your own blood. This is processed under sterile conditions and using good manufacturing processes to concentrate this down to about 5 cc of a concentrated platelet formulation. Platelets are the part of your blood which forms a scab when you bleed. These platelets contain many natural growth factors which help in the healing process to reduce pain and inflammation. We use a special process to double spin and concentrate only the good growth factors. One single injection given in a single office visit can provide pain relief that is superior to the results of hyaluronic acid injections and may last up to one year. Approximately 80% of patients receive pain relief starting around 2-6 weeks after the treatment and this normally lasts for approximately one year. A great review article entitled “The effects of platelet rich plasma in the treatment of large-joint osteoarthritis: a systemic review.” compared 13 studies of hyaluronic acid to PRP. Twelve of these were for knee arthritis. All the studies revealed that PRP had statistically significant benefit in knee osteoarthritis compared to hyaluronic acid. Many professional athletes use this treatment to help accelerate their healing process. For years, this was only available to the rich and famous or the elite athlete, but we have figured out a method to offer this to the general public. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of PRP, you can visit our web site here. Advanced Orthopedic Specialists and Dr. Edward Loniewski has found ways to offer you treatments proven to be more effective and lower in cost than hyaluronic injections. Call our office at 810-299-8550 to schedule an appointment and discuss these options. Future blogs will discuss the other options in detail.
 Teitze DC et al The effects of platelet rich plasma in the treatment of large-joint osteoarthritis: a systemic review. Physiology and Sports Medicine 2014, May; 42(2) 27-37.