Kenneth Stone of American Canyon is back in the swing of things with his favorite sport thanks to an innovative treatment offered at NorthBay Health.

Athletes Pain-free, Thanks to PRP!

For American Canyon resident Kenneth Stone, elbow pain was affecting his quality of life. For Vacaville resident Michelle Neveu, osteoarthritis in her knees kept her away from outdoor activities.

They both found relief through an innovative new treatment now offered at NorthBay Health.

He’s Back on Course

Kenneth’s elbow had become so troublesome that the husband, father and amateur golfer was unable to do everyday activities without experiencing pain.

Andrew Brooks, M.D., has been pleased with the results his patients report following Platelet-Rich Plasma injections.
Andrew Brooks, M.D., has been pleased with the results his patients report following Platelet-Rich Plasma injections.

“The pain got so bad I couldn’t even hold a pot to do the dishes,” said Kenneth, 50. “I couldn’t steer the wheel of my car with my left hand, and I definitely couldn’t swing a golf club at that point.”

Kenneth has dedicated himself seriously to golf during the past 15 years, even competing in tournaments.

Since he couldn’t play, he watched golf videos and played computer games to get his golf fix, he said. “I don’t do anything else aside from take care of my son. I just play golf and take care of my family,” he said. “That’s my passion, and now I thought, ‘I can’t even do that.’”

Trying to explain his excruciating pain to his 8-year-old son, Gabriel, was the toughest part.

“My son is autistic and I’m his full-time caretaker,” Kenneth explained. “One of the things he doesn’t understand is ‘Daddy’s hurt.’ So, Daddy can’t pick him up all the time. Sometimes, he’d fall asleep on the couch, and I’d carry him upstairs to his room. I had to rely mostly on my right arm, and then that began to hurt.”

Desperation prompted him to turn to different remedies. He tried creams, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and eventually wore a brace to restrict his muscle movement. Nothing worked.

Finally, he reached out to NorthBay Health orthopedic surgeon Neil P. Pathare, M.D. Patients like Kenneth are the reason Dr. Pathare said he chose a medical career.

“I got into orthopedics because it suited my personality. If you have a problem, you can go in there and actually fix it.”

Neil P. Pathare, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon

“You can get an athlete or person back to their activities — back to their sport or routines of their daily life,” said Dr. Pathare.

Dr. Pathare diagnosed Kenneth with lateral epicondylitis — more commonly known as tennis elbow. They tried a cortisone shot, which provided relief for two months before the pain returned. An MRI revealed Kenneth suffered from a torn tendon.

Dr. Pathare gave him two options: surgery or a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injection.

With PRP, a patient’s blood sample is placed in a centrifuge that rapidly spins it, separating out the other components of the blood from the platelets and concentrating them within the plasma, which is then injected into the targeted joint.

“We did one PRP injection in lieu of surgery,” Dr. Pathare said, “and he had an excellent response.”

Kenneth noticed a dramatic difference after five weeks. “Today, the pain is completely gone,” he said.

He’s enjoying golfing again and, more importantly, can again hoist his son into the air.

“Yep, life is good,” he said.

She’s Back on the Slopes

Michelle is a mom, Air Force Reservist and a nurse practitioner and when not on the job, or chasing her children, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing.

Michelle Neveu of Vacaville is able to enjoy skiing again thanks to Platelet- Rich Plasma injections in her knees.
Michelle Neveu of Vacaville is able to enjoy skiing again thanks to Platelet-Rich Plasma injections in her knees.

But injuries suffered when she was younger began limiting her activities.

“My right knee is worse than the left but I’ve developed osteoarthritis in both,” she explained.

She tried steroid injections and viscosupplementation (where a gel-like fluid is injected into the knee) but the relief didn’t last so she began researching Platelet-Rich Plasma injections.

Michelle heard about NorthBay Health Orthopedic Surgeon Andrew Brooks, M.D., who began offering PRP knee injections last year.

She had the treatment on her left knee in November 2022. The result was so good, she decided to have her right knee done in February 2023.

“The patients we’ve seen are seeing results in three to four weeks,” said Dr. Brooks. “And I have to say, we have been pleasantly surprised by how well they all are doing.”

The key, he said, lies in using the human body’s own healing properties.

“Normally there is no blood in the knee joint; we inject the Platelet-Rich Plasma into the knee and that’s what has all healing factors,” he said.

The procedure doesn’t reverse arthritis, he cautioned, but it does impact and reduce the pain.

And because it is the patient’s own blood that is used, there is less danger of an adverse reaction and it can be repeated longer term (not an option with treatments like steroid injections).

For Michelle, the benefit of it lasting longer is a plus. “I will someday need a total knee replacement but not right now,” she said. “And with this, I can have the injection once a year and do fine.”

She has advice for others who may be considering the process.

“I highly recommend it,” she said.

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