9 Reasons You Should Try Regenerative Medicine
A promising medical treatment is now being used to combat a range of diseases and conditions, including chronic pain, without the use of drugs or surgery. Although this option has been used successfully over the past ten years, it is just now starting to get mainstream attention.
Orthobiologics, also known as “regenerative medicine,” involves replacing, repairing, and regenerating damaged tissues to restore proper function and relieve pain. The category may be best known for stem-cell therapy but has grown to include an array of treatments, including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, prolotherapy, perineural injection therapy, and more. Its success can be attributed to three main factors. First, the process uses substances naturally found in the body, supplementing the body’s natural healing process. Second, orthobiologics focuses on repairing and strengthening tissues and tendons rather than only treating symptoms. Finally, the process is focused on long-term solutions by letting the body heal itself, rather than creating additional damage such as scarring.
“Orthobiologics is becoming an alternative to a lot of different operations, from joint replacement to spinal fusion surgery to sports-related ligament tears of the knee,” explained Dr. John Brannan, an interventional orthopedist at Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.
Regenerative medicine can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal and peripheral vascular disorders, including injured muscles, tendons, and ligaments; problem joint areas including the hip, knee, ankle, wrist, elbow and shoulder; and broken bones.
Below are 9 quick reasons why you may want to try regenerative medicine:
1. It’s affordable. While one surgical operation can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000 (even at a specialized Ambulatory Surgery Center), the average cost of a platelet procedure is around $2,000, and stem cell procedures average around $3,800. Prices may vary, depending on the number of areas in the spine being treated.
2. It’s much less risky. People who take drugs like opioids to manage their pain may open themselves up to serious addiction issues, while also not addressing the root of the problem. Meanwhile, with surgery, patients may increase their risk of blood clots, wounding/bleeding complications, and more; in addition, allergies to metal or glue can make traditional surgery difficult. “For particular patients, surgery may not be an option. Even for healthy patients, surgery can still present some additional risks that are absent when regenerative medicine injections are used,” continued Dr. Brannan.
3. It requires less recovery time. The growth factors used in orthobiologics help support the body’s self-healing abilities. This jumpstart to the regenerative process of fixing damaged tissues and tendons leads to faster healing. Whereas many surgical procedures require weeks of physical therapy, regenerative medicine does not. “We are able to knock off weeks of rehabilitation since physical therapy isn’t required for most patients,” elaborated Brannan.
4. It increases joint functionality. Regenerative medicine promotes the production of collagen in the body, which strengthens tendons and tissues and, as a result, reinforces the joints. Sturdier joints allow for increased range of motion and, generally, freer movement.
5. It reduces the risk of future injuries and pain. Since regenerative medicine fosters the production of collagen, which tightens and strengthens the tendons in the joints, it also minimizes the risk of future injuries and pain.
6. It involves minimal pain. When a patient’s own stem cells are used in a regenerative therapy, they might feel achy or sore at the harvesting site, but it’s far less painful than traditional procedures. What’s better, with other types of orthobiologic approaches, including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and prolotherapy, the procedural pain is considerably reduced. “The pain is quite manageable, and most patients are active again very soon afterward,” said Dr. Brannan.
7. It avoids risk of rejection. Since orthobiologics uses the patient’s own biological material (stem cells or blood platelets), there’s no risk of rejection, adverse reaction, or complications related to the injected material.
8. Patients come to the office and return home the same day, no matter which type of regenerative therapy is implemented. There are two parts to each procedure. First, the platelets and or stem cells are retrieved. The second step is the ultrasound guided injection of your processed stem cells or platelets. The processing is done on-site in the state-of-the-art regenerative medicine lab at Beacon Orthopaedics; it typically takes 2-3 hours to complete. These procedures are minimally invasive and most people return to normal activities in 48-72 hours.
9. Its effects are long lasting. The effects of treatment tend to be long lasting, if not permanent, and may be repeated if necessary.
Patients are typically between the ages of 30 and 60, lead active lifestyles, and recognize the serious risks of surgery and pain pills. They’re also seeking orthopedic care for everything from osteoarthritis, chronic tendonitis and bone fractures to arthritic joints and inflamed or injured nerves. They might even be looking to replace their degenerative vertebral disks.
To find out more, visit Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine based in the Tri-State area of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. In partnership with Regenexx, the practice offers a variety of regenerative therapies, including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, stem cell therapy, prolotherapy (short for proliferant therapy), and perineural injection therapy (PIT).