Regenerative medicine has been talked about on television, in newspapers and the internet. Even stars like, NFL great Peyton Manning used regenerative therapy to treat his neck after injury, but what is regenerative medicine? Regenerative medicine seeks to treat or cure diseases or conditions by using nature to restore the structure or function of the underlying condition. Typically, when people think of regenerative medicine, they think of stem cells, which is a form of regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine as it relates to pain management uses your own body's cells to promote healing.
Stem Cell Injection- Stem cells are important in regenerative medicine to promote healing. Stem cells which are found in bone marrow, have the ability to become other types of cells. When injected into a patient for pain they can assist the body in regrowing missing or damaged tissue causing pain and inflammation. Stem cell treatment is available for the use in managing pain with the procedure performed in our office.
- How Is a Stem Cell Injection Performed?
First, bone marrow aspirate (BMA) is extracted through a small incision. Then, the BMA is separated into its components. Finally, the therapeutic parts of the mixture – MSC’s, platelets, growth factors, cytokines and plasma proteins, collectively known as bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) – are extracted and injected back into the patient into the area requiring treatment to promote healing.
Using BMAC is very safe and the potential risks of treatment are very few – usually limited to short-lived minor discomfort and stiffness after treatment. Using the patient’s own tissue is well tolerated and stem cell injections are minimally invasive. The low risk of procedure-related complications and minimal post-procedure downtime can make BMAC stem cell therapy a very attractive alternative to surgery in many cases.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Another form of regenerative medicine is PRP or platelet rich plasma. Unlike steroid injections, which can elevate blood sugar and increase the risk of bone demineralization, regenerative injections like PRP use the body's own cells to repair damaged tissue. This procedure is also performed in our office.
Platelets are tiny, cell-like structures that are an essential component in blood. They are derived from megakaryocytes manufactured in bone marrow. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is made by drawing blood from a patient to extract and concentrate their platelets. A well-known function of platelets is to induce hemostasis, the clotting of blood to stop bleeding if a blood vessel is cut or damaged. But these multi-tasking structures are also intimately involved in the tissue healing process.
- How is PRP Injection Performed?
To create PRP, a sample of the patient’s blood is obtained through a standard blood draw, placed into test tubes, and then spun in a centrifuge to separate the blood components into distinct layers. The red blood cells separate from the plasma, with the red cells concentrating in the lower half of the test tube. This leaves plasma, the liquid component of blood in the upper half. Platelets and white blood cells then congregate within a thin, intermediate layer called the “buffy coat” in the middle of the test tube at the bottom of the plasma fraction but above the red blood cells. The buffy coat is the part that is extracted to use as PRP. The PRP can then be injected into a joint or tissue where the therapeutic effects are needed.
Bone marrow aspirate concentrate is another form of regenerative medicine offered by our providers. Known as BMAC, bone marrow aspirate concentrate is made from fluid taken from bone marrow. The bone marrow aspirate contains stem cells, which are then injected into the affected site.
The following conditions can all be treated through various forms of regenerative medicine:
- Chronic Neck and Back Pain
- Shoulder Tendinopathy
- Degenerative & Rheumatoid Arthritis – Shoulder, Knee, Hip, and Spinal
- Elbow Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow/Golfers Elbow)
- Knee Patellar Tendinosis (Runner Knee/Jumpers Knee)
- Knee Chondromalacia
- Achilles Tendinosis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Tendonitis and Tears – Achilles, Hip, Knee, Rotator Cuff, and Patellar
- Ankle Sprains & Instability
- Cartilage Defects
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Facet Joint Syndrome
- Failed Back Surgery
- Foot Pain
- Ligament Injuries
- Neck Pain
- Occipital Neuralgia
- Osteoarthritis – All Joints
- Pes Anserine Bursitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Runners Knee
- Sacroiliac Joint Pain
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Trochanteric Bursitis