Regenerative medicine is a fast-growing arm of medicine concerned with harnessing the body’s innate ability to heal itself in the management of orthopedic injuries and disorders. Regenerative medicine is a very large discipline with applications in almost every subspecialty far beyond the musculoskeletal system–in fact, things like organ transplant procedures (both real and artifical) and cellular therapies fall under the umbrella of regenerative medicine. However, orthopedic regenerative medicine is focused on delivering specific types of the body’s own cells, some of which have been processed to optimize or enhance their innate healing properties, to the anatomical site of an injury. These cells, once precisely delivered to the site of an injury, use their natural anti-inflammatory and healing properties to act on the damaged tissue and promote healing and drive recovery.
THE THREE-LEGGED STOOL OF REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
At RestorePDX, we have an unwavering commitment to delivering the best possible clinical outcomes for our patients. To deliver on this promise, we have developed a unique approach to regenerative medicine that we refer to as the three-legged stool: Precision Diagnosis, Precision Biologics, and Precision Delivery. This approach allows us to ensure that all of our patients receive best-in-class care for their musculoskeletal pain by more completely harnessing the body’s ability to heal itself, which is the ultimate goal of regenerative medicine.
Before a successful regenerative medicine procedure can be performed, the treatment team must first have an accurate, comprehensive understanding of what is happening with their patient. This requires a Precision Diagnosis; we believe that a physician should never start offering or suggesting treatments without first diagnosing your issue, and clearly communicating it to you. This requires a comprehensive physical examination and, in most cases, one or more diagnostic tests, including x-ray, musculoskeletal ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies.
In short, we work together as a team of Interventional and Diagnostic Musculoskeletal Radiology, Interventional Pain Management, Sports Medicine, and Regenerative Medicine specialists at RestorePDX to first understand what is causing your pain before moving on to treatment stage.
If we decide a regenerative medicine procedure is right for you, the next thing we have to do is ensure that the orthobiologics treatment we provide is the right one for you. PRP injections have a number of variables, from platelet concentrations to the presence of other cellular structures, that must be fine-tuned to meet each patient’s individual needs. There are also tons of orthobiologics products out there today, some of which are useless or harmful, that we have to sift through to ensure we are using the best products and processes for our patients. At RestorePDX, we stay abreast of the developments in the field and are constantly reevaluating our treatment protocols to ensure we are using the best supplies in the most efficient way for our patients.
The final step in successfully delivering regenerative medicine treatments is Precision Delivery. In regenerative medicine, placement of orthobiologics is absolutely critical; even if you have the best stem cells in the world, calibrated to the ideal concentrations for your injury, they will be wholly useless if we deliver them to the wrong site. A qualified regenerative medicine physician will never, ever try to inject orthobiologics “blind,” or without imaging guidance. Some of the sites to which we commonly deliver orthobiologics are mere millimeters large, so they can easily be misplaced even under imaging guidance!
At RestorePDX, we use advanced imaging techniques, including ultrasound imaging and fluoroscopy, to inject our patients’ orthobiologic payload exactly where it is needed for maximum efficacy. Precision Delivery takes time, care, patience, planning, and expertise, a commitment RestorePDX makes to each and every one of its patients.
BENEFITS OF REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
While regenerative medicine is a nascent field and the safety and efficacy of these procedures are still being studied by clinicians, the growing consensus is that the field promises some key advantages over traditional treatments like surgery. Regenerative medicine is less invasive than surgery and is done in the outpatient setting with no incisions. The risks of infection and complication are therefore dramatically lower and recovery time following the procedure is minimal. The most common side-effect of a regenerative medicine procedure is little more than soreness at the site of injection and/or cellular harvesting.
Also, regenerative medicine procedures require very little, if any, pain medication during recovery and in most cases exclusively uses the body’s own cells to drive recovery. This means there are usually no foreign chemicals, additives or implants being injected into your body, further lowering the risk of complications following a procedure. Considering that our country is in the midst of a raging opioid epidemic driven by our overuse of these powerful drugs, keeping patients off of narcotics during recovery is no small matter.
REGENERATIVE MEDICINE TREATMENTS
There are a number of procedures that fall under the umbrella of regenerative medicine, but two of the most common treatments today are platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy uses adult stem cells, which have the unique ability to differentiate, or “grow,” into a wide range of cells types after being injected, to drive healing and promote recovery. This allows a stem cell treatment to differentiate or grow after injection into the type of cell that is needed at the site of injury, replacing damaged tissue and driving recovery.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a procedure during which a patient’s own blood is drawn and processed to contain a much higher concentration of platelets than would normally be present. Platelets, which play a critical role in clotting, contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors, which reduce pain and promote healing. By concentrating these platelets into a preparation, which can be fine-tuned to the individual needs of each patient, your physician is able to deliver a mega dose of healing cells right where they’re needed.
CONDITIONS REGENERATIVE MEDICINE CAN TREAT
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and stem cell therapy can be used to treat a wide range of acute and chronic injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. These include:
- Acute ligament, tendon, and muscle tears;
- Acute fractures;
- Chronic arthritis;
- Tendinitis or tendonosis;
- Tennis elbow;
- Cervical radiculopathy;
- Herniated discs;
- Degenerative disc disease;
- Sciatica; and
- Many others.
While regenerative medicine has the potential to provide relief in a number of different situations, it is not a one-size-fits-all panacea, and there is a lot of information that goes into determining whether or not a regenerative medicine procedure is right for you. If you believe you might benefit from one of these revolutionary procedures, the first step is to schedule an appointment with the team at RestorePDX today. We will help you understand your condition, evaluate all of your treatment options, and choose the best path forward to recovery.