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What Is Regenerative Medicine, And What Conditions Can It Treat?
What Is Regenerative Medicine, And What Conditions Can It Treat?

Sustaining an injury or living with chronic diseases like arthritis can inhibit you from performing your daily tasks or enjoying your sport. But on top of that, these situations also disrupt your quality of life and leave you yearning for pain relief.

And while readily available medications can help you manage your discomfort, they’re limited to doing just that — they cannot help your body return to a healthier, pain-free condition. It’s also worth noting that cartilages, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and even bone takes a long time to heal after a traumatic injury or surgery. 

This is where regenerative medicine applied in orthopedics becomes extremely helpful. This rapidly growing innovative discipline can help restore joint function, accelerate post-surgery rehabilitation, and even eliminate the need for orthopedic surgeries for some patients. 

But what is regenerative medicine in the first place? Understanding this field and the available treatment options can help you identify the best choice for your needs, so we’re here to help you out. 

We’ll answer fundamental questions like:

  • What conditions can regenerative medicine help treat? 
  • What are the different types of regenerative medicine? 
  • How does regenerative medicine work? 

 

What Is Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative orthopedics, also referred to as orthobiologics, is a branch of regenerative medicine that seeks to regenerate tissues and cartilages damaged by trauma, disease, or congenital issues.

A remarkable aspect of regenerative medicine is that it takes a different approach to traditional clinical strategies. Instead of focusing on treating the symptoms, orthobiologics uses cutting-edge technology to stimulate the body’s natural repair mechanisms and accelerate its healing process. 

Moreover, regenerative medicine utilizes biological tissues from the patient’s own body. Using these so-called autologous cells reduces the risks of injecting treatments that the body may reject and ensures the procedure’s safety and success. 

What Conditions Can Regenerative Medicine Help Treat?

Regenerative medicine can aid in the treatment of the following conditions: 

  • Osteoarthritis - A common form of arthritis 
  • Tendinitis - Inflammation or irritation of a tendon
  • Degenerative disc disease - Symptoms of pain in the back or neck due to a damaged disc 
  • Meniscus tear - An injury to the crescent-shaped rubbery cartilage in the knee 
  • Labral tear - An injury to the labrum, or the soft tissue covering the socket of a joint 
  • Plantar fasciitis - A condition causing intense pain on the bottom of the heel. 
  • Cartilage injuries 
  • Ligament sprains or tears 
  • Muscle strain injuries
  • Fractures not healing correctly 
  • Nerve inflammation 

Moreover, it can be used for other prevention and rehabilitation purposes, like: 

  • To help athletes heal from sports injuries. 
  • To help individuals recover from chronic diseases and restore their joint function. 
  • To speed up the rehabilitation process for patients after orthopedic surgeries like ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair. 
  • To help certain patients avoid orthopedic operations altogether. 

Ultimately, regenerative orthopedics provides athletes and non-athletes with faster recovery times and better outcomes. This is in comparison to older, more conventional treatments, which tend to be surgically invasive — yet still present a relatively lower likelihood of long-term success. 

Different Types of Regenerative Medicine

There are two main types of regenerative medicine: 

  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
  • Bone marrow therapies (also referred to as bone marrow aspirate concentrate or BMAC) 

Difference Between Regenerative PRP and BMAC

In PRP treatments, the plasma is produced from the patient’s blood sample. It is spun down using a centrifuge to isolate and concentrate the platelets, or what we can call the growth factors. Then, these platelets are injected back into the patient at the injury site or problem area, along with the fluid portion of the blood called plasma. 

Meanwhile, BMAC is a cell-based treatment wherein bone marrow is withdrawn from the patient’s hip bones and injected into the injury site or problem area. 

The only significant difference between regenerative PRP and BMAC is the type of tissue from which the samples are taken. Other than this, both therapies are administered without the need for large incisions on the skin, allowing for a faster, more effective, and less painful recovery. 

How Does Regenerative Medicine Work?  

Since regenerative medicine uses autologous cells for the treatment, the platelet-rich plasma or bone marrow aspirate concentrate must be collected from your own body. And as mentioned earlier, extracting a PRP entails taking a sample of your blood — a quick procedure that does not require anesthesia. 

On the other hand, extracting a bone marrow sample involves inserting a hollow needle through the hip bone and into the bone marrow. A local anesthetic is required in this procedure to help numb the pain. 

Once the PRP or BMAC injection is ready, it will be administered directly to the injured area through ultrasound-guided injections. This may produce temporary discomfort, but the anesthesia administered before the procedure can help relieve the pain. 

A PRP treatment can be done in as fast as 30 minutes, while a BMAC therapy may take one to one and a half hours. 

After the procedure, most patients are able to return to their normal activities within two to three days. Athletes and active individuals typically resume their games or exercises after two weeks of rest. 

Consult the Experts in Regenerative Orthopedics for the Best Results

Regenerative orthopedics, especially when applied in sports medicine and other disciplines, shows promise for athletes and non-athletes alike. This innovative treatment not only manages pain and discomfort but also addresses the root of the problem and stimulates the body’s repair mechanisms. It can even help the musculoskeletal system grow stronger. 

Taking these factors into consideration, it pays to remember that regenerative medicine is still a relatively new discipline. So if you want to get the best outcome and return to the game, it’s best to seek the experts in regenerative medicine, like Dr. Benjamin Domb. 

As an esteemed orthopedic surgeon specializing in regenerative orthopedics and hip arthroscopic surgeries, you can look forward to experiencing ultramodern techniques and the highest level of care. 
If you’re ready to explore your regenerative medicine options to gain pain relief and better mobility, contact us today to schedule a virtual appointment. We’d love to help you get back to doing the activities you love!