Innovative treatments PRP therapy (Platelet-Rich Plasma) and stem cell therapy can easily be grouped into the same category, but they are uniquely different treatments. While they are both forms of regenerative medicine and aim to help the body heal injured tissue and speed recovery, they are in fact somewhat different. Depending on your injury or condition, you may be a candidate for one, but not the other.
What is PRP Therapy? (Platelet-Rich Plasma)
The body’s first response to any soft tissue injury (ligaments and tendons, for example) is to deliver platelet cells to the injured area. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP Therapy) uses the body’s own blood cells (platelets) to stimulate the natural healing process for certain orthopedic conditions, such as osteoarthritis of the knee, shoulder, and hip, as well as rotator cuff tears, chronic plantar fasciitis, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, tennis elbow, ankle sprains, tendonitis, and ligament sprains. Filled with healing and growth factors, platelets jumpstart the repair process and attract the essential aid of stem cells.
For PRP injections, a physician uses the patient’s own blood to separate platelets in a centrifuge. During this centrifugation process, the blood has been broken down into three main components: platelet poor plasma (PPP), platelet-rich plasma, and red blood cells. This process allows the platelets to be separated from the other blood cells so they can be delivered in a concentrated form. This increased concentration of platelets is combined with the remaining blood that was drawn. The platelets are then re-injected into the injured area, releasing growth factors that promote a natural healing cascade.
At Movement Orthopedics, we utilize PRP therapy to accelerate the body’s healing efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets through a simple injection. It provides effective pain relief and faster healing, and may even eliminate the need for surgery, along with speeding up recovery time.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy is a completely different process than PRP therapy and involves utilizing the body’s own undifferentiated cells for healing and tissue growth. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known for their ability to adapt or program into a variety of “specialized” cells. What does this mean? It means that the cells can become whatever type of cell is needed for repair, re-growth, replacement, and regeneration.
These type of stem cells are what doctors call “packets of potential.” Stem cells are very active during the developmental years, but then go dormant. However, MSCs remain in our bodies throughout our lives, waiting for chemical signals to alert them, or send them a message that they are needed for repair somewhere in the body. These MSCs can become cells of skin, bone, cartilage, blood, organs, and brain. It doesn’t matter if the reason is a condition, wound, or even a combination of causes. Stem cell therapy’s main purpose in regenerative medicine is to address and heal the underlying causes of illness and injury.
For this procedure, stem cells are taken from different areas of the body, commonly bone marrow or fat tissue, used in conjunction with platelets. The stem cells collected from bone marrow, called autologous mesenchymal cells, can produce cartilage and are typically used when treating arthritic conditions and sports injuries. Stem cells taken from fat tissue are utilized together with platelets to heal an arthritic joint, such as the knee, with the purpose of seeing healthy tissue growth.
The main use of regenerative medicine for an orthopedic doctor is joint preservation, along with the relief of pain and inflammation. Whether the damaged area is the result of a traumatic sports injury or the product of daily wear and tear (osteoarthritis), stem cell therapy for joints and soft tissue injuries may offer a powerful solution to resolving the ongoing discomfort.
At Movement Orthopedics, we collect stem cells from your body’s own bone marrow, which are then concentrated and injected into your injured, damaged, or diseased areas, in this case, your joints. Bone marrow and fat can contain progenitor cells that are capable of forming new tissue, such as bone or cartilage. These stem cells specialize and regenerate new healthy tissue, allowing your body’s natural healing abilities to repair the areas in your joints that are injured or damaged.
Whether PRP therapy for injured ligaments and tendons or stem cell therapy to help regrow cartilage and other healthy tissue, there are many benefits from regenerative medicine. To learn more about the different uses of PRP therapy and stem cell therapy, and if you might be a candidate for treatment, call Movement Orthopedics at (586) 436-3785 to request an appointment, or request one online.