Regenerative medicine is a field in medicine that develops methods to regrow, repair, or replace damaged diseased cells, tissues or organs. It utilizes the body’s natural healing processes to rebuild damaged tissues and heal injuries. In the field of orthopedics, regenerative medicine holds great promise for helping patients with injuries or degeneration involving the musculoskeletal system.
Damage to the joints, ligaments, tendons, or discs can lead to chronic pain in various parts of the body including:
- Lower Back
- Feet and ankles
- Hands and wrists
- Elbows and Shoulders
Regenerative medicine addresses the reason for the pain by helping to heal and create new healthy tissues.
How Does it Work?
Regenerative treatments for orthopedic conditions use the patient’s own blood and tissues from bone marrow or fat to kick-start the body’s own healing processes. These cells are removed from the patient and concentrated to isolate the healing proteins, molecules, and nutrients they contain. These super-healers are then re-injected into the site of damaged tissue to encourage new cell growth and healing.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow the use of embryonic cells or birth tissue products for treating orthopedic conditions. However regenerative medicine physicians can use FDA-compliant autologous cellular products to treat musculoskeletal problems.
These autologous cell therapies include:
- Platelet Rich Plasma: Platelets in the patient’s own blood release growth factors and proteins that promote tissue repair, while the plasma carries the hormones, electrolytes and nutrients required to nourish cells during the healing process.
- Cell Based Therapies: Adult Stem Cells taken from the patient’s own fat tissue (adipose) or bone marrow have the unique ability to develop into the specific kind of cell needed and possess molecules that direct other cells in the injured area to form new blood vessels, awaken other stem cells and encourage newly forming cells to produce collagen and other proteins essential for creating new healthy tissues.
Prolotherapy (Proliferative Therapy) is a Regenerative injection using natural medications, specifically dextrose, that help the body jump-start its own natural healing response when injected into the injured area.
Is Regenerative Medicine Painful?
For many years, patients with unresolved chronic orthopedic pain were left to consider surgery as their last option and best hope for long-term pain relief. But with advancements in regenerative medicine, these patients can avoid major surgery and lengthy rehabilitation.
Regenerative treatments are injection procedures and unlike surgery, they do not involve the pain or risk of large surgical incisions. Blood, bone marrow, or fat tissue is collected, processed, and injected into injured tissue on the same day. These procedures are typically performed on an out-patient basis and recovery begins at home within hours of the treatment.
Ask the Right Questions, Get the Best Results
When considering regenerative medicine treatments, it is important that you do your research in selecting a physician that is highly skilled and experienced in regenerative medicine. The following are questions that you need to ask before making your decision. Patients get the best outcomes when the answer is “yes” to all these questions.
- Is the physician board-certified and specializes in diagnosing and treating orthopedic conditions? Examples include Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine, Orthopedics, Pain Management physicians.
- Do you use appropriate, advanced, FDA-compliant devices in the preparation of the cellular products that can deliver the best results?
- Are the treatments performed using imaging guidance to ensure precise delivery of the regenerative products to the site of the injury?
- Is the practice compliant with FDA regulations?
- Do you track your outcomes and present them at medical conferences or publish them in medical journals?
Drs. Christopher J. Rogers and Mary A. Ambach of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group together have successfully treated thousands of patients with PRP and cell-based treatments for more than three decades. They are published authors and stem cell researchers. Their facility in Carlsbad contains the most advanced Regenerative Medicine technology in San Diego and offers same-day treatments with the highest level of safety and efficacy