Before anything else, let’s talk about what stem cells are. Stem cells are a class of similar cells that are capable of differentiating into specialized types of cells. Generally, stem cells come from two specific sources.
The first source is the embryo, which is formed during the blastocyst phase of the embryonic stem cells called the embryological development. The second source is adult tissues, which are simply the stem cells of adults.
Both types of sources are commonly characterized according to their potential to differentiate into various cell types like skin, bone, muscle, etc.
The main therapeutic uses for stem cells are currently known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments and stem cell therapy. These two regenerative injections provide the power of a body’s very own cells in order to stimulate healing, as well as repair for all varieties of conditions.
The range of different states of stem cell and PRP therapies can each work in its own special way to produce an impressive healing process, from weakening back pain and osteoarthritis to repairing cut ligaments and other general injuries.
However, there are still a lot of PRP and stem cell myths that many people are considering truth, and there is a huge range even in the quality of treatments.
To get through the hype and know how people can look for the highest quality treatments, we will turn to the advice of Dr. James Leiber. He is the founder and director of the Medical Department of Florida’s new ReGeneration Orthopedics.
Dr. Leiber is a former Air Force officer, physician, and educator. He is also the personal physician to the country’s president and vice president. Currently, Dr. Leiber is an assistant professor at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and is triple board certified in neuromusculoskeletal medicine, pain medicine, and family medicine.
Dr. Leiber is happy to report, especially to those who are dealing with orthopedic problems, that recent advances in stem cell therapies mean surgery can now be avoided. But first, you need to know a little background on these treatments.
For people to understand Stems Cells & Platelet-Rich Plasma, as well as their roles in treating the human body, we have to take a look back at prolotherapy. Prolotherapy is a therapy which is also called proliferation or regenerative injection therapy.
It is an alternative medical treatment used by the doctors to do injection of an irritant solution to the joint ligaments, space, or tendon insertion in an effort to relieve the pain or address ligament laxity.
It is considered a more advanced way of doing treatment to use stem cell or PRP injections versus the original proliferation treatment. The concept of prolotherapy arose back in the 1930s.
It was first attempted by orthopedic doctors who wanted to find ways of strengthening ligaments without operating on patients. Back then, both joint and vein injections were involved. The term prolotherapy was originally called sclerotherapy. It is still used for some vein injections that heal spider veins, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids.
Nowadays, the term just refers specifically to ligaments, joint, and tendon injections. Prolotherapy injections are comprised of natural substances that trigger restoration to the body. The process of local anesthetics is also used by professionals to minimize the pain from injection.
Meanwhile, original prolotherapy injections consisted of elements like dextrose, scraping, saline, and topical anesthetic or local anesthetic.
Today’s formulations will currently be made up of platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells taken from a person who is compatible to the person they’re used to treat. These stem cells are taken from the donor’s bone marrow or fat tissue.
Depending on the candidate, prolotherapy strategies like PRP and somatic cell injections could also be more effective for repairing disabled joints and stretched or torn ligaments or tendons, along with helping to improve weak, damaged, painful joints without the need for surgery or pain-killing medication.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is technically autologous blood with concentrations of platelets on top of baseline levels that contains a minimum of seven growth factors. Because PRP contains growth factors that heal broken tissues, it works by naturally triggering localized inflammation, scleroprotein production, and alternative regenerative processes.
As a variety of prolotherapy, PRP treatment is performed through a series of injection procedures that resolve tears or injuries to tissue throughout the system. These will embrace disabled or broken ligaments, tendons, muscle fibers, fascia, tissue, and joint capsules.
Most patients receive multiple injections at every session. Repeat injections could also be required for four or more weeks. In several instances, the condition is often cured (ligament or connective tissue injuries). However, in alternative instances, injections might have to be continued sporadically to ensure continued results (for example, moderate arthritis).
The goal of PRP treatment is to strengthen and improve the standard of the targeted tissue and to cut back chronic inflammation, creating more stable and strong joint tissue, and of course, less pain.
Platelets has a special ability in the blood to repair damage and heal injuries. The growth factors present in platelets work via a three-phase process that works to reduce inflammation, stop proliferation, and repair the actual damage. These growth factors send a signal to the body that it is time to begin the process of healing.
In PRP treatment, doctors will use focused platelets and growth factors from the patient and guide them by ultrasound or live X-ray (fluoroscopy) to the targeted tissues, delivering a potent dose of those compounds to boost the healing process.
This method can be used to help heal injuries to the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, discs, labrum, gristle, and nerves.
In the last twelve years, the use of somatic cell injections for medical procedures and studies have become a lot more common. Driven by clinical and basic science analysis (largely by the pioneering company Regenexx), somatic cell accessibility and effectiveness have improved greatly.
It’s easy to see what the most promising advancements are regarding somatic cell and PRP medical care. The procedures supply relief for patients with chronic pain and difficult to heal injuries, all without the need for ongoing medications or dangerous surgeries.
Nowadays, researchers are uncovering more ways in which to use somatic cell treatments for common chronic conditions like cardiopathy, neurodegenerative diseases, and polygenic disorder, though way more analysis is required.
Managing pain ranks among the foremost common uses for somatic cell treatments. From this, a replacement medical field has emerged — Interventional Regenerative medical science medication.
These non-surgical, minimally invasive techniques are administered by physicians that specialize in the areas of musculoskeletal health like physical therapy and rehabilitation, pain intervention, and skeletal medicine. Treatment involves injecting stem cells (along with an anesthetic) around painful and damaged nerves, tendons, joints, ligaments, discs, labrum, and gristle or muscle tissue.
Despite its rapid advancement, there are still a lot of myths surrounding stem cell therapies. Let’s address a few of the most common myths and see if we can discover the truth behind them.
Stem cell and PRP medical care will work wonders. However, it’s vital to know the most common somatic cell myths to ensure a full understanding of the procedures and how they truly work.
Lots of doctors are advertising the use of PRP and somatic cell treatments. It’s vital to notice that the standard of those procedures vary greatly. In fact, some injections are nothing more than liquefied dead cells, as seen with injections of amniotic fluid. That’s not going to go far in helping you heal.
Dr. Leiber offers Regenexx procedures, which have a proven history of getting results and a basis in stringent research. He also keeps tabs on all of his patients to ensure that those who have received stem cell treatment in the past are tracked in terms of both ongoing safety and results.
You should always check to ensure that the stem cell treatment you are receiving offers this same level of care and outcomes. As of Spring 2017, Regenexx was responsible for publication of over 50 percent of the world’s medical science somatic cell literature, with over 44,000 procedures administered.
Doctors who administer Regenexx adhere to strict protocols and standardized treatment processes.
While Dr. Leiber says many folks will avoid chronic use of narcotic medication and even surgery through PRP/stem cell treatments, the patient has to make some lifestyle changes, too.
These include eating healthier foods, exercising, and taking healthy supplements.
Many doctors administrating somatic cell treatments don’t have an intensive background in prolotherapy, PRP, or somatic cell injections, and are mostly only accustomed to injecting patients with Cortone Acetate.
Most easily used is a centrifuge kit that a rep sells. The problem with this method is that the cellular product ends up being administered with a 1-size-fits-all approach. There’s no customization.
Regenexx, on the other hand, uses a sterile hood safety cupboard where a full-time specialist works to separate tissue and customize the concentration to the patient’s needs.
It’s crucial to position the stem cells or PRP directly into the target tissue that’s disabled or weak. Several doctors will tell you that they will feel the tissue and inject accurately. Sadly, studies show that in the United States this is often incorrect.
Precise placement needs extremely advanced techniques such as ultrasound and X-ray steerage.
Many of the doctors who do not currently use these techniques have not been tutored before and need specialized coaching through organizations like The Interventional Medical Science Foundation to learn the correct way to administer these treatments.
You want to be sure that your doctor has an accurate method for measuring what percentage of the cells in your injection are living stem cells. Most doctors don’t have a way of measuring this, and if yours cannot answer this question it should be a cause for concern. Since this injection is basically going to become a part of you, it’s important to know exactly what it contains.
Some injections only contain about 75% living cells, while others contain as much as 98% living cells. The higher this percentage, the more likely your healing factor is to improve.
Other factors that will likely affect your rate of healing are diet, exercise, tobacco using or smoking, drinking alcohol, and stress.
Doctors will take the stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow or fat tissue, or from those of a compatible donor. Though fat tissue removal may seem like an appealing somatic cell treatment bonus, unluckily, that’s not the case.
Dr. Leiber says taking stem cells from fat is actually less effective for achieving results, and also comes with a higher risk for infection and pain.
There are also quite a few extra hoops to jump through legally when obtaining stem cells from fat tissue, so it is usually considered much better to source them from the bone marrow.
In the six weeks leading up to injections, it important for patients to begin preparing. They should switch to a primarily plant-based diet that is low on the glycemic index and has a good amount of super foods that are rich in nutrients.
This diet should also contain healthy fats from sources like fish, avocados, coconut, and nuts.
The type of stem cell/PRP medical care mentioned in this article can treat:
Additionally, this care can assist those who:
There are many instances of myth and misinformation surrounding the ever-growing field of stem cell therapy.
If you are considering stem cell therapy for your own joint or muscle pain, make sure you are careful to select a doctor who is well-versed in this treatment and can properly assist you with your ongoing care.