Regenerative Medicine: Treatment By Our Very Own
Regenerative medicine is a state-of-the-art technique involving one’s own stem cells and growth factors. Stem cells are the body’s own materials—cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated. There are 3 main types of stem cells: pluripotent stem cells, adult stem cells, and perinatal stem cells. Pluripotent stem cells divide into more stem cells or become any type of cell in the body. Adult stem cells are found in small numbers in most adult tissues such as bone marrow or fat, and they have a limited ability to give rise to various cells of the body. Perinatal stem cells are found in amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood, and they have the ability to change into specialized cells.
One form of regenerative medicine is PRP or Platelet-Rich-Plasma. PRP uses a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. One advantage of PRP is that they reduce the need for anti-inflammatories or opioids. The injections are created from your own blood, so the body will not react negatively to them. During the treatment, a small sample of blood is drawn and placed into a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds to separate the platelets from other components. The PRP is then injected into and around the point of injury, which will significantly strengthen the body’s natural healing of the tissue damage. A local anesthetic is used in the area of pain, and then the PRP is injected under ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance to stimulate and enhance healing.
When PRP is injected into the area of pain, growth factors can initiate the body’s natural healing response to repair damaged tissue and restore normal function. The growth factors that play a role in tissue repair mechanisms are platelet-derived growth factor, transforming growth factor, insulin-like growth factor, and epidermal growth factor.
PRP therapy does not immediately remove the pain. However, the results are long term and often permanently heal the patient. Research studies and clinical studies have shown that PRP is very effective at relieving pain and allowing patients to return back to their normal lives. The need for surgery can be greatly reduced by treating injured tissues with PRP.
For now, regenerative medicine is an area which is not covered by insurance plans, however the price is very affordable and patients can get some competitive pricing from most providers. Northwest Suburban Pain Center offers services covering the full scope of regenerative medicine for pain conditions and we have had excellent clinical response as well as feedback from our patients.