A Guide to Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative medicine is rising in popularity as a method for healing injuries and chronic pain conditions. This advanced technique applies tissue engineering, stem cell therapy, and molecular biology in an effort to replace or regenerate human cells. This may sound complicated (and the science is), but the good news is that it is safe, effective, and we can walk you through how it works!
When considering regenerative medicine, it is important to identify what you are trying to heal, and the benefits versus alternative treatments. Similarly, you should do thorough research before engaging in these techniques- when done properly, they are wonderful, but there are drawbacks from going to the wrong specialist.
Finally, it’s important to understand all the aspects: cost, timing, and efficacy in certain situations. Read more for a full guide on regenerative medicine!
What Can Regenerative Medicine Be Used For?
Regenerative medicine seeks to cure previously difficult injuries or diseases on a more consistent basis. Using this in lieu of traditional techniques can often prevent invasive surgeries, recurring injuries, and prolonged treatments. There’s nothing more debilitating than not being able to live an active lifestyle if you so desire, and regenerative medicine is helping people stay healthy and happy!
With regenerative medicine, it is possible to treat knee injuries that reoccur and are not easily affected by traditional therapy. This includes replacing risky procedures such as microfracture surgery or the use of non FDA-approved growth injections.
Techniques such as PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatments, stem cell therapy, and other advanced bio-engineering allow us to regenerate tissues and heal injuries previously thought untenable.
Finally, you can use surgeries to regenerate cartilage and joints, along with prolotherapy to have the same effect.
These treatments are not without risk, however; injections of stem cells and other agents can lead to harsh drawbacks in your body when administered incorrectly. It is always important to consider the risk, and to consult the best specialists available.
The good news is that when performed correctly, these techniques have very high success rates.
What is PRP Therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy involves getting injections that are created from the plasma in your own blood. Platelets are a type of blood cell that helps your blood clot, and the plasma facilitates white and red blood cells more easily.
The preliminary procedure is straightforward: a doctor draws your blood and puts it into a machine which separates the plasma from your body. From there, it is about a 30 minutes process as they target injured areas you are looking to heal.
Platelet-Rich Plasma injections are typically used to treat torn or damaged tendons, chronic muscle tears, and joint injuries. They are used by mainstream professional athletes today, as Tiger Woods and many notable NBA players have gone on record about the efficacy of PRP.
PRP treatments generally encourage pain relief and tissue repair for about six months at a time when done correctly. This makes it a very attractive option for regenerative healing given how easy and affordable it is relative to the alternatives.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells have the potential to develop into many different cells in the human body. There are a variety of types, as well as their prescribed injections. For regenerative medicine, we will mainly focus on amniotic stem cell therapy and how it can help heal debilitating injuries with minimal risk.
Stem cell therapy is being used for more and more treatments, from injury treatment to surgery recuperation, or preventative support. With amniotic stem cell therapy, the targets for treatment are often conditions such as osteoarthritis, epicondylitis, and soft tissue degeneration.
What is most important about stem cell treatment is that it allows us to treat conditions that generally had low probability of healing. As an alternative to invasive spine surgery, amniotic stem cell therapy can help herniated disks and other extreme low back pain.
Additionally, the risk relative to most other traditional medicines is very low. There is no risk of rejections, and the process of drawing and creating the fluid is not difficult on your body at all.
What remains crucial when considering stem cell therapy is that you still choose the best specialists. They will make sure there is a plan for your stem cell treatment that is safe, affordable, and stress-free.
As most stem cell treatments are done over year-long periods of time and range between $5,000 and $25,000, having a respected and communicative specialist can make all the difference in your experience.
Other Types of Regenerative Medicine
In addition to PRP and amniotic stem cell therapy, there are a host of less-common regenerative medicine techniques. Some of these might include:
- Intradiscal PRP: While similar to the PRP treatments we discussed, this is performed specifically on the low back for discogenic pain. It is not offered as commonly at this point because it is a slightly newer treatment, but thus far has proven to be safe.
- Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate: BMAC is a regenerative therapy that takes cells from a patient’s own bone marrow to heal conditions such as osteoarthritis and other cartilage issues. It is not subject to FDA approval because it technically does not use any drugs (solely withdrawn materials from patients), but this still limits where it is offered.
- Prolotherapy: Also known as proliferation therapy, this is an injection-based treatment that treats chronic musculoskeletal conditions. It is commonly applied for low back pain, tendonitis, or knee osteoarthritis.
There are new and exciting regenerative medicines being studied and implemented each year. These are just a select few that are viable and safe at the moment, but it is always good to research more about what is available to help you heal.
Is Regenerative Medicine Right For You?
No one wants to lead a life full of chronic pain. It is difficult to accept the risk of invasive procedures when you already hurt daily, and regenerative medicine offers people the possibility of health without taking chances.
If you are looking to get back to a happy and healthy lifestyle, Pinnacle Pain and Spine has a team full of specialists in regenerative medicine. With over a decade of healing patients, we understand what a difference being pain-free can make.
Please reach out today for a consultation — we’d love to help.