Kobe Bryant went to Germany last month to have an innovative PRP procedure performed in his right knee. To clarify exactly what the procedure is, and if it can add some youth to Kobe’s right knee, the Voice of the Nation spoke with Dr. Bal Raj. A board certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Beverly Hills, specializing in sports & fitness procedures.
Below is the transcript of the interview:
David Brickley: What procedure did Kobe go to Germany for, to try to add some youth to those legs?
Dr. Raj: We have to clarify one thing about Kobe, he doesn’t have a classic arthritic knee. Arthritis is degradation of the cartilage within your knee that happens over time and there are genetic and environmental factors. With respect to Kobe, he’s a top athlete and he has damaged areas of his knee where he lost cartilage. This is what he has been dealing with and in May of 2010, he had surgery where he had fragments removed out of his knee.
When he went to Germany, he actually went to have PRP done. P stands for platelets, it’s derived from your own blood. After filtering your own blood, you take cells out and the plasma out and you have platelets remaining. The advantage of these platelets is that they are highly concentrated, about 10x the concentration of what is in your normal blood. They can be injected directly into damaged areas and [the platelets] catalyze the growth of normal and new tissue. Blood platelets contain what we call potent globe factors which are necessary to begin tissue repair and regenerate at our injury site.
This technology has been around since the 70s but as of recent, around the past five years, it’s become more and more popular because we’ve realized these concentrated platelets contain large reservoirs of globe factors and cytokines. Not only do they provide a scaffold for healing for tissues in damaged areas, they also induce those cells that are able to produce, such as chondrocytes, to produce more cartilage. On top of that, they are significant anti-inflammatory effects as well. In respect to Kobe’s knee, this actually is one of the best options that is out there at this point.