Imagine losing part of your finger in an accident and trying to come to terms with it for the rest of your life. But what if there was a treatment that used your own body’s power of healing that could grow the finger back?
For one woman, that science fiction scenario actually became a reality. CGTN’s May Lee has the amazing story of how a cutting edge therapy resulted in the unimaginable.
Ja’Niya Walker is a bit of a walking miracle. Even her doctor Akash Bajaj is surprised by her recovery. Last year while on vacation in Honduras, Ja’Niya lost the tip of her index finger at a wildlife sanctuary.
“We were playing with the animals in the cages ” recalls Ja’Niya, “and that’s when a puma snatched a hold of my finger and wouldn’t let go.”
Ja’Niya suffered intense phantom limb pain so when she returned to Los Angeles, she sought out Dr. Bajaj, an interventional pain management specialist.
But this is where the story takes a dramatic turn. Bajaj used a regenerative therapy called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, to ease Ja’Niya’s pain and try and grow part of her finger back.
“PRP is platelet rich plasma. and really all that is. We extract a small sample of blood from our patient and we separate the platelets from the rest of the blood. The platelets themselves have growth factors and so they act as our bodies’ own repair system, our own healing kit.” says Dr. Bajaj.
The science behind PRP
A centrifuge is used to separate the platelets from the patient’s blood, which is then injected directly into the targeted area. In Ja’Niya’s case, her injured finger.
The results were almost immediate. Ja’Niya’s finger started growing back,even her fingernail.
Ja’Niya says, “Every single day, I could see an improvement like the skin was peeling back on my finger and within two or three days of taking the PRP, I could see instant the nail, the actual nail bed growing in and then the actual nail forming.”
It took just three treatments and about three months for Ja’Niya’s finger, along with nerves and other tissues to regenerate, results that were beyond what Dr. Bajaj expected.
Dr. Bajaj says, “It tells us that we have the ability within us to heal ourselves. We’ve all known this the entire time, but somehow we’ve strayed so far from that message and that understanding be it society be it whatever other pressures around us, that we’ve forgotten that.”
Ja’Niya’s recovery is proof, say experts, that with the help of PRP, stem cells and other cutting edge therapies, our bodies have extraordinary powers that have yet to be untapped.