Regenerative medicine strives to use biologic therapies to improve symptoms and enhance the healing of musculoskeletal tissues. These include chronic tendon, ligament, muscle, and joint injuries and conditions. These therapies are also known as orthobiologics.
Two types of orthobiologics commonly in use today are platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and cell-based therapies.
Main Line Spine is careful to give patients a realistic picture of what they can expect from regenerative medicine treatments for orthopedic conditions. We are committed to evidence-based care for specific conditions where the use of biologic regenerative therapies is backed up by science.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelets are among the substances suspended in plasma, the latter being the liquid part of your blood. They are tiny cell fragments, about half the size of red blood cells. The primary purpose of platelets is to induce blood to clot at the site of an injury.
Platelets can also be used as a form of biological therapy. When platelets are activated for clotting, they break open to release granules that contain a rich mixture of growth factors and cytokines. In addition to inducing clotting that controls bleeding, these factors can also stimulate healing and improve the body’s tissue repair response.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be prepared using a patient’s own blood. A centrifuge is used to create a concentration of platelets that can then be injected into a problem area to stimulate cell growth and accelerate healing.
Our view that many of the cell-based methods detailed on the Internet fail to have enough of a clinical foundation to be appropriate. We are very cautious only to consider regenerative therapies for our patients, where there is sufficient evidence of safety and potential efficacy.
There is some limited data to suggest that stem and progenitor cells derived from bone marrow may improve the symptoms of various musculoskeletal conditions. Under the right cell selection, processing, and dosing approaches, these will divide and give rise to daughter cells, which have the capacity to generate new tissues.
Regenerative medicine and orthobiologic therapies can be considered to treat a wide range of conditions that affect tissues in and around joints. The goal of these therapies is to repair, augment, or regenerate the injured or diseased tissue and reduce inflammation that contributes to pain and limits function.
Some of the most common conditions that can be treated by regenerative medicine include:
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones gradually breaks down over time, causing the bones to rub against each other. It can cause pain due to disc degeneration, bone spurs, and spinal stenosis. Simple, everyday movements can hurt.
In particular, PRP therapy is increasingly building a reputation for significant clinical benefit as pain relief in appropriate cases for knee arthritis.
Osteonecrosis, otherwise known as avascular necrosis, is a disease that results from the temporary or permanent loss of blood supply to the bone. Without an adequate blood supply, bone tissue starts to die, and as it loses its structural integrity, tiny breaks called microfractures begin to form. These microfractures can cause the collapse of the weight-bearing surface of the bone, causing pain. If the bone affected is near a joint, the joint may also collapse.
Tendonitis (Tendinitis) | Tendon Tears
Tendons are the tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. When those tendons become irritated, they can become inflamed. The result is swelling, pain, and discomfort. The underlying issue with tendonitis is overuse leading to inflammation. If the tendon is damaged and there is a rupture, it is known as tendon tear, which could be partial or complete.