Regenerative Medicine: What Is PRP Therapy?

By Mario McKellop

It in the past, those afflicted with conditions such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, neck pain, ACL injuries and tennis elbow were treated with invasive procedures that required long and painful recovery periods. Thankfully, innovations in regenerative medicine have made better and less painful treatments, such as PRP and stem cell therapy, available to sufferers.

What is PRP Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) refers to a concentration of blood plasma that is rich in growth factor and platelets. In the event of an injury, the body directs PRP to the affected area to begin the healing process. PRP therapy involves extracting blood or bone marrow from the patient, separating out the PRP and injecting the concentrated solution into an injured part of the body. After being administered, PRP jump starts and strengthens the healing process.

The Advantages of PRP Therapy

As opposed to more invasive surgical procedures, PRP treatments are completed quickly, require no stay in the hospital and only minor recovery time. Typically, the entire process, including preparation, the procedure itself and recovery time, takes only a few hours. In addition to gradually enhancing the healing process, one study found that PRP treatments also had the effect of reducing pain and increasing motor function in 73 percent of patients.

PRP therapy is also less risky for patients as it involves no general anesthetic, offers no possibility of transmissible infection and has very little risk of causing an allergic reaction. And while most insurance companies do not cover PRP therapy, the treatment is inexpensive when compared to the costs of invasive surgery and the costly hospital stay that follows.

What is Stem Cell Therapy?

Another recent advancement in regenerative medicine is stem cell therapy. Stem cells are undifferentiated multicellular organisms that can transform into specialized cells that are essential to the healing process. Used to create degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, stem cell therapy works by injecting stem cells into affected areas so that worn out muscle, cartilage, tendons and bones can be repaired and regenerated. It should be noted that this treatment does not involve any embryonic stem cells as it uses material taken from a patient’s own body fat.

The Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy

Similar to PRP therapy, stem cell treatments offer patients a number of advantages when compared to invasive surgery. It’s also considerably less expensive than surgery, even though it’s not covered by most insurance plans. In addition to not involving a lengthy and costly hospital stay, stem cell therapy involves little risk of infection and considerably less downtime. In fact, after receiving this treatment, patients are advised to use their affected extremity directly after the procedures completed as it aids in the healing process.

For more information about the remarkable nature of PRP and stem cell therapy, check out the latest episode of Inside Sports Medicine with Dr. Jeff Pierce. If you believe that PRP and stem cell therapy can help you, contact experts at Michigan Sports & Spine Center. They have the skills and experience to resolve your pain.

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