Do you have a tendon, other soft tissue injury, or a degenerative condition such as arthritis that affects your joints? Whether your musculoskeletal issue results from a sports injury or normal wear and tear from aging, you’re seeking relief.
Dr. Jonathan Shults, board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Coastal Empire Orthopedics, stays abreast of the latest advances in orthopedic treatment. Regenerative medicine is transforming orthopedic practice. The medical profession now offers ortho-biologic treatments that help your body heal itself using your tissue.
Following are three regenerative medicine treatments that can accelerate healing. They may be used as an adjunct during surgery or outpatient to help speed healing and relieve pain.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy
Platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP, uses your own blood to help heal a soft tissue injury. The procedure is simple and cost-effective. No drugs, surgery, or incisions are involved.
We draw a blood sample after initial testing and review of your medical records to determine if you’re a good candidate for PRP. It’s mixed in a centrifuge machine, which separates your platelets from the remainder of your blood. The concentrated mass of platelets contains healing growth factors and nutrients. We inject the platelet-rich plasma into the site of your injury.
Although regenerative medicine is in its infancy, many promising clinical trials have been conducted on PRP for healing soft tissue injuries, and they show improved efficacy over placebo, steroid injection, or hyaluronic acid injection. It’s now a good option for mild to moderate knee or shoulder arthritis, tennis elbow, and partial tendon tears.
Depending on your injury, the trials prove that many patients experience pain relief for approximately one to three years. PRP doesn’t work for everyone, but it has helped many patients.
Stem cell therapy
Your cells are in a constant state of growth and decline. Stem cells are young cells that haven’t yet developed into a specific type of cell, like a cell for a tendon or a cell for a muscle. However, they can transform into the type of cell needed when you have an injury.
Stem cells have a capacity far beyond that of PRP in that they can help repair and replace any tissue or organ inside your body, so they can start from being undifferentiated cells to become tendon cells to help regenerate a damaged tendon, for example.
Stem cell therapy requires extensive preparation and is thus more expensive than PRP. If you’re healthy enough, stem cells can be harvested from your bone marrow, but they can also be harvested from a healthy donor. Dr. Shults injects the cells into the target site. They then morph into the type of cells needed at the site.
Stem cell therapy may be an option if steroid shots and other conservative methods haven’t helped you enough. Stem cell therapy is an experimental therapy, but research is encouraging.
Doctors have used amniotic membranes to treat burns, ulcers, and wounds since the early 1900s. The membranes have also been used in eye surgeries, plastic surgery, and foot and ankle surgery to accelerate healing.
Research into the use of amniotic membranes to help regenerate and heal tissue is gaining steam, especially in the following areas: plantar fasciitis, ligament and tendon injuries, spinal problems, cartilage restoration, and osteoarthritis. Dr. Shults will let you know if your condition could be helped with the use of amniotic membranes.
Call Coastal Empire Orthopedics or book an appointment online today if you have musculoskeletal pain. We offer a range of treatments that help improve your quality of life.