PRP and Stem Cell Therapy: Natural Healing

What are PRP and Stem cell Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a concentration of platelets and growth factors created from a small amount of your own blood. These cells are vital for tissue regeneration and repair. Platelets, once thought of being responsible for only clotting, have been proven to be a reservoir of these vital healing components. Increased levels of growth factors have the potential to improve signaling and recruitment of cells for healing.

Stem cells have regenerative power. When these cells are injected into an area that needs healing, your body’s responds by accelerating the process of tissue repair. The type of stem cells involved in tissue repair are called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The FDA allows us to isolate stem cells from multiple sources including bone marrow and adipose cells. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability to differentiate into multiple different cell types or to replicate themselves. The ability of MSCs to differentiate into multiple musculoskeletal cell types, release regenerative growth factors, and dampen immune responses holds great promise for treatment of orthopaedic conditions.

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Can be utilized for the treatment of:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Muscle, ligament, and tendon tears
  • Tendonitis
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • And many other orthopaedic conditions

Benefits include:

  • Less side effects when compared to steroid injections or surgery
  • Speeds up and promotes healing
  • Studies showing significant pain relief for osteoarthritis
  • Reported better outcomes than hyaluronic acid/viscosupplementation
  • Utilizes your own body’s healing potential
  • Minimal to no down time

The Process:

For PRP, a small amount of peripheral blood is taken from the patient in the office. For stem cell therapy, cells are aspirated from bone marrow or taken from adipose tissue in your midsection through a small incision using a mini liposuction technique. These procedures are usually done in a sterile operating room with light sedation.

After obtaining the appropriate cells from the blood or bone marrow, the cells are placed in a specialized centrifuge to separate the samples into concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP) or bone marrow aspirate. For adipose tissue, a closed system device is utilized to micro-fragment the fat into an optimal size to allow for injection. The concentrated platelet rich plasma, bone marrow aspirate, or adipose tissue can then be injected, under sterile conditions, into the injured joint or tissue to decrease inflammation and promote healing.

What are the risks associated with this treatment?

PRP and mesenchymal stem cells use your body’s own natural properties to treat your injury. Side effects utilizing these systems are very uncommon.

Will my insurance cover this procedure?

While these treatments have been around for many years, most insurance companies still consider this treatment experimental and deny coverage.

Am I a Candidate for PRP or Stem Cell Therapy?

If you have a muscle, tendon injury, ligament injury, arthritis, or localized pain/inflammation, you may be a candidate. If you are not getting the results you need from conservative measures and you want to avoid surgery, PRP or Stem Cell Therapy may provide a solution.

Patients who have active cancer or infection, a history of lymphoma, or are taking certain blood thinners may not be eligible.

What do I need to do before my procedure?

• If you are taking any NSAlD’s (Advil, Motrin, Naprosyn, Mobic, Aleve, Celebrex, etc.) please discontinue 5-7 days prior to treatment. You should not have a cortisone injection within 4 weeks of the injection.  You do need to stop taking aspirin or blood thinning medications unless your physician tells you differently. Please let your physician know if you are taking blood thinners so this can be discussed prior to the procedure.
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• If you are currently on blood thinners (Coumadin, Plavix, Lovinox, Prodaxa, etc), please see your PCP/ Specialist and receive their permission to discontinue this medication for 3 days prior to treatment and resume the evening after treatment. You understand the risk of stopping these medications may lead to significant illness or even possible death.

• Alert the staff if you have an allergy to anesthetics, bandages or skin preparation solution.

What should I expect after my treatment?

• Due to the local anesthetic used, the harvest sites and the areas treated will likely be numb for 2-6 hours after your procedure.

• For bone marrow aspirate or adipose stem cell patients: Keep the dressing in place and area dry for 72 hours from the harvest site. It is normal to have a small amount of bleeding from these sites.

• Refrain from strenuous activities.

• Perform gentle movement of the treated area.

• Pain can increase in the treatment area for 2-5 days after your procedure. It may take up to 14 days for symptoms to improve. Symptoms may also fluctuate while the healing process is occurring. This generally occurs over several weeks, but can take several months for healing to occur.

• You may experience a low-grade fever after treatment. Call if your temperature is above 100.4°.

• Use Extra Strength Tylenol or prescription medication provided for pain. Apply ice for 20 minutes on and off as needed for symptomatic relief. Make sure to place a barrier between your skin and the ice.

• No anti-inflammatory medication (Mobic, Celebrex, Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve) should be used for 4 weeks post-treatment.
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• No exercise or physical therapy for 2 weeks after treatment.