Regenerative medicine is an expanding area of healthcare that we leverage in our orthopedic and sports medicine practice at Integrated Orthopedics. It is appealing to patients because it is a minimally invasive alternative to surgery, although it is also used in conjunction with surgery to enhance its benefits.
When the body fails to heal its own tissues – such as muscle, tendon, ligament or cartilage – through its repair mechanisms, regenerative medicine can be used to augment the body’s healing to “grow back” and partially and sometimes fully heal damaged tissue. This is good news for people who may have conditions that more traditional approaches are unable to treat or, as mentioned, when the body fails to heal itself.
While regenerative medicine itself is not new, advances in developmental and cell biology, immunology, and other fields, have opened up new possibilities to refine regenerative therapies and develop new uses. These advances have made regenerative medicine an important way to keep up with patients’ healthcare needs, especially in an aging population.
Stem cells play an important role in regenerative medicine. Through a process called differentiation, stem cells have the ability to develop into many different types of cells. In regenerative therapy, often the patient’s own stem cells are used. Stem cell therapy is an ever-expanding area with immense potential.
What Can Regenerative Medicine Treat?
In orthopedic medicine, regenerative medicine has shown to be useful in treating a number of condition, including:
- Arthritis of the knee, hip, shoulder or ankle
- Meniscal tears and labral tears.
- Ligament injuries (AC sprains, MCL tears, etc.)
- Muscle strains and tears.
- Articular cartilage injuries and defects.
- Tendinopathies and tendon tears such as rotator cuff, patellar tendon, Achilles tendon injuries as well as tennis and Golfer’s elbow.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
A cutting-edge tool of regenerative medicine is platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP. It has been used to treat tendon, ligament, cartilage and bone injuries – notably in areas where the body is slow to regenerate or heal due to limited or lack of blood flow. You can learn more about platelet-rich plasma therapy here or by watching our YouTube video on PRP.
The Future of Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative medicine holds great promise for orthopedic medicine, and overall for healthcare. As the population ages, regenerative therapies can repair and/or extend the function and health in many areas of the body to keep people mobile and moving pain-free. Its potential for promoting quality of life makes it one of the most valuable therapies that we offer.
One of our goals at Integrated Orthopedics is to stay current on the most advanced therapies in orthopedic and sports medicine and offer these cutting-edge approaches to our patients. Regenerative medicine is one such area that we look forward to continuing to expand.