What You Should Know About PRP and Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy has been around for some time, and is becoming more prevalent in a variety of medical settings due to newer techniques and equipment which make the process of obtaining stem cells much easier. Stem cells can be found in people of all ages, but the most common type of stem cell used in tissue repair is an adult stem cell known as a mesenchymal stem cell. Stem cells can be used to help regenerate tissue in injured areas which do not heal well on their own due to poor blood supply, which can result in low oxygen supply, or hypoxia. Poor blood supply also often impairs the body's ability to transport naturally occurring stem cells to the area to facilitate healing. If the injury is not severe, then platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy alone can be used. Platelets have been discovered to be crucial in healing, not only for their role in forming blood clots but also because platelets release a number of growth factors, or cytokines, which are responsible for just about every repair process within the body. PRP is usually obtained with a blood draw using special collection tubes. Up to 60cc, or 2 oz., of blood is obtained, and is prepared for injection or to be mixed with fat stem cells or bone marrow using FDA approved centrifuge equipment. Once injected to the injury site, the PRP effectively mimics a blood supply. The platelets sense the injury and release cytokines which prompt the body to transport stem cells to the area. The PRP can be injected in a number of ways, depending on the location of the injection site. Sometimes the joint can be simply injected with PRP, but other times fluoroscopy, or â€œliving X-rayâ€? will be used. Still other injection sites require ultrasound guidance. PRP patients can generally resume normal activities at their own pace. Usually patients will receive two PRP injections, spaced four to six weeks apart. Sometimes a third injection will be required. PRP injections are increasingly being employed to replace orthopedic surgery for a variety of conditions, including tendonitis, muscle tears, ligament injury, torn meniscus, or mild to moderate arthritis of the joint. The repair process is gradual and can take several weeks. PRP therapy is intended to encourage stem cells to travel to the area of injury, but stem cell injection therapy is intended to introduce new regenerative stem cells into the area which are capable of differentiating into the type of tissue that was lost, as well as coordinating the repair process. To obtain the stem cells necessary for this procedure, a tiny needle is inserted into the
back of the patient's pelvis to aspirate around 60cc of bone marrow material. A local anesthetic is usually administered to minimize any discomfort. The bone marrow aspirate will include mesenchymal stem cells, other adult stem cells, and platelets. The aspirate, like PRP, is processed using a centrifuge to separate the platelets and stem cells from the other bone marrow material. The resulting material, called bone marrow aspiration concentrate (BMAC) is reintroduced to the area during stem cell therapy. Fat tissue is also an excellent source of stem cells. Once introduced to the injured area, the platelets release growth factors to activate the stem cells. Once activated, the stem cells will repair damage to the injured areas and also help damaged cells repair themselves. Stem cell therapy can take weeks or months to complete, although many patients notice improvement before the repair process is complete. Patients who are undergoing stem cell therapy are advised to limit alcohol intake and often take supplements which increase stem cell production. For more information visit us at http://www.stemcellorthopedic.com.
Many orthopedic injuries occur in joints or other areas of low blood supply, which can inhibit tissue regeneration. It often becomes necessa...