Understanding the Different Therapies of Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative medicine can be formally defined as any therapeutic intervention that regenerates, supplements, or replaces cells in the body to restore or normalize their function. Perhaps the best-known regenerative medicine technique is a bone marrow transplant, a type of stem cell therapy that’s been in use since the late 1960s to treat leukemia and other conditions.
Today, stem cell, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and proliferative (prolotherapy) therapies are growing in availability and application. We offer all of these at Dr. Kochert Pain & Health, providing our patients with a wide range of regenerative medicine treatments. The treatments are used for a wide range of conditions, from cosmetic procedures to degenerative diseases that cause chronic pain.
Here’s what you need to know about each of these exciting regenerative medicine treatments.
Stem cell therapy
Your body is made up from a wide range of cells that perform all the functions needed to support your life. Cells regenerate, and there’s a constant turnover of older cells dying and being replaced by younger cells.
However, your body doesn’t have the ability to create every type of differentiated cell in a single step. Instead, specialized master cells — called stem cells — provide the raw materials for whichever type of cells your body needs at a given time.
Stem cells typically move through your bloodstream, so the supply of healing resources depends on blood flow. Certain connective tissues, like ligaments and cartilage, receive little direct blood flow, so it’s thought that injecting stem cells into these injured areas boosts their natural supply and results in faster healing.
Platelets, the blood components best known for their clotting abilities, are also helpful for healing damaged or diseased tissues. Blood platelets contain growth factors and other proteins that help the injured area by pulling in stem cells, decreasing inflammation, and promoting blood vessel growth.
We create the PRP serum from a patient’s blood sample by spinning it in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets and plasma. These are blended and injected into the injury site to provide additional raw materials for healing.
While PRP and stem cells may be used on their own, they can also be combined to maximize healing benefits.
Also delivered as an injection, prolotherapy remains mysterious to researchers as to how it creates its effects. Sterile solutions of saline or sugars are injected into joints or other areas causing pain or other issues. Many patients note reduced pain, increased strength and mobility, and better performance from the treated joint.
Why these results occur isn’t clear, but the injections may stimulate the body’s healing response, bringing resources to the area. Prolotherapy has little risk of side effects, making it a conservative treatment to explore before attempting surgery or other last-resort treatments.
These regenerative medicine therapies are all drug free and have very few risks associated with them. In many cases, the injectables are sourced from the patient or involve biologically inert water solutions.
Find out more about what regenerative medicine can do for you by contacting our office in Lafayette, Indiana. Schedule your appointment online right now or call the office directly.