What is Platelet Growth Factor Concentrate (PGFC)?
These concentrates are formed from PRP. There are 13 different growth factors and >150 local messengers in platelets that begin and help coordinate the healing response. This special preparation is generally used around nerves and in arthritic joints.
When starting with PRP, the solution is already concentrated. Having an immediate source of growth factors—a process that usually happens more slowly with receptors on platelets being “told” to release their growth factors in a coordinated response—can augment the healing response. When combined with PRP, it is somewhat akin to having an extended release formulation—some immediate and some slowly over time.
First, we begin by preparing the patient for Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) creation as we often combine PGFC with PRP. This will augment the function of the healing response as above. It makes sense that the highest quality PRP is the most important factor in creating the best PGFC.
We have 2 ways to prepare PGFC. First, we can use a solution of calcium or the protein thrombin mixed with PRP. These chemically tell the platelets to release their growth factors. Second, we can freeze the PRP to allow for ice crystals to pierce open the platelets. Both techniques appear effective and viable, we utilize both while research continues to elucidate the best processing methods.
PGFC treatment works best for neurologic and arthritic conditions that have failed other conservative treatment, including:
- Knee, hip, and other joint osteoarthritis
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Fluoroquinolone Induced Neuropathy
- Compressed or injured nerves (ie: carpal tunnel syndrome)
Is Platelet Growth Factor Concentrate covered by Insurance?
Most insurance plans, including Medicare, do not pay for PGFC injections.
What does PGFC treatment cost?
At OrthoCure Clinic, the cost of PGFC treatment is based on the level of complexity involved in treating a given area(s). Prices are the same as for PRP, $700-$2,000 range per treatment. There is no additional charge when we are making PRP already for other applications.
Platelet Growth Factor Concentrate FAQs
The level of discomfort of the treatment depends in part on the area being treated. For example, injections into a joint often are minimally uncomfortable and in some cases painless. Working around nerves requires a great deal of care and skill, however, Dr. Hanson has not had patients with nerve injuries from these procedures. We will perform a regional nerve block to reduce pain during and after the injection whenever possible.
We also have a master Reiki practitioner who is available to perform energy healing before/after procedures.
We encourage you to have a person of support with you for support and to help with paperwork and remember instructions.
On average, most patients start to see signs of improvement anywhere from 2-12 weeks after treatment. This can be less overall pain, an ability to do more activity before pain sets in, and/or faster recovery from pain.
Anytime a needle is placed anywhere in the body, even getting blood drawn, there is a risk of infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. However, these are very rare. Other complications, though rare, can occur depending on the area being treated, and will be discussed by your doctor before starting treatment. Because PRP and PGFC use your own blood, you cannot be allergic to it.
Studies suggest an improvement of 80+%, though some arthritic joints, namely the hip, do not respond as well. Some patients experience complete relief of their pain. In the case of tendon and ligament injuries the results are generally permanent. In the case of joint arthritis, how long the treatment lasts depends partly on the severity of the condition. Mild arthritis may not need another round of treatments. More advanced arthritis, on the other hand, typically requires a repeat course of treatment, usually in 1-3 years.