There is an alarming trend in metropolitan Denver, where PRP and stem cell injections are being performed under X-ray without contrast dye.
What Is Contrast?
Contrast is a radiographic dye that highlights a given area when injected under X-ray.
Why Would You Use Contrast Dye?
Contrast is critical as it provides two important pieces of information. First, it confirms that the needle and the platelets or stem cells that you are injecting are going exactly to the area that is targeted. This is critical to obtain maximal clinical benefit. Second, it confirms that you are not in a dangerous area, such as an artery, a vein, or the spinal cord, which can lead to serious complications.
Why Would You NOT Use Contrast Dye?
Time and expense. Some practices have concluded that injection of contrast lengthens the procedure time, which translates into fewer patients per hour and less revenue per day. They also recognize that the contrast is an expense that when eliminated leads to more profitability.
The image above is an X-ray–guided injection of the cervical spine in our clinic. On the right are two needles, which are identified by arrows. The red arrow identities contrast that has been injected and confirms the appropriate placement of the needle as it outlines the targeted cervical nerve root. The blue arrow identifies a needle placed near the targeted area; however, we can not confirm appropriate placement as there is no contrast flow. It may be in a vertebral artery or the spinal cord instead of adjacent to the exiting nerve root! Without contrast, you can not confirm the exact placement of the needle thereby placing a patient at risk for a serious complication, including injection maybe into a vein, an artery, or the spinal cord.
Make Sure Your PRP or Stem Cell Injection Uses Guidance with Contrast Dye
The Centeno-Schultz Clinic is committed to the highest standard of care so that our patients can have the best clinical outcomes. All procedures are performed under X-ray or ultrasound or both. If you are considering going elsewhere, for your own safety and that of your families, confirm that the proposed PRP or stem cell injections are being performed under the guidance with contrast, and ask for images after the procedure with contrast that confirms accurate placement of the needle. Anything less is a gamble!