Gov. Mark Dayton is scheduled to receive a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection on Wednesday at the Mayo Clinic designed to promote healing of a torn muscle in his left hip area.
On Tuesday, Dayton held a wide-ranging press briefing in which he openly discussed the procedure, which lasts about one hour and is done under local anesthesia.
Dayton said he's been dealing with an injury he sustained while coming down the steps at his residents in June ever since, explaining that he tore a muscle that still hasn't healed.
"I took the last two steps two at a time, and I pivoted and felt this pop -- the kind of pop I used to get in hockey if I had a bad sprain," Dayton recalled. "I had a bad sprain."
Only the keenest of observers may have seen the governor limp during the past few months, but his doctors hope a non-surgical treatment will get him back to a healthy gate.
The injection therapy involves drawing a small amount of blood which is then put into a centrifuge to separate the plasma which contains concentrated amounts of white blood cells. That plasma is then injected back into the damaged muscle tissue.
"Before or after that, they are going to put another needle in and put electric current into the damaged area to try and stimulate the regeneration," Dayton continued.
General post-procedure instructions call for the PRP recipient to refrain from placing any weight on the hip for the first two days, followed by up to two weeks of limited mobility. Dayton will work from the Governor's Residence during that time and will not hold public events.
The Mayo Clinic's description of the PRP procedure was included in the release:
"Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a non-toxic, non-immune substance that accelerates healing. PRP is produced from the person's own blood using a process called platelet enrichment activation. This process allows the extraction of platelets from regular blood and their concentration to over 5 times normal. These concentrated platelets are then injected into the injured muscle to promote healing."
A PRP injection is a popular procedure that several athletes including Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant have had, but scientific results are mixed so far. In 2010, a study in the journal of the American Medical Association found that, when compared with a saline injection, the PRP procedure did not result in greater improvement in pain and activity.
"What that says is that it's not as effective as the salt solution, which is effectively a placebo," Fox 9 medical expert Dr. Archelle Georgiou said.
Georgiou isn't sold on its effectiveness as there aren't any studies that show it truly works. Why so popular? The healing process for a muscle tear takes a long time, and for many patients, it seems like a viable way to speed up the healing process, or an alternative to a more invasive surgery.
"If it's not healing and you have so much pain that you're actually considering surgery, then this might be something reasonable to try," she said.
Yet, because there's not a lot of evidence that it works, most insurance policies -- including Medicare -- do not cover it. As for Dayton, he said if it doesn't work, he's tough and will limp it out. He also said the injury would not affect his decision to run for re-election.