Q: What is Regenerative Medicine?
A: Stem cell, PRP (platelet rich plasma) and prolotherapy are procedures that stimulate the body’s natural healing process. It is a non-surgical treatment using the injection of your own blood’s concentrated growth factors into an injured area for the purpose of stimulating the body’s natural healing process in order to improve function, accelerate healing and reduce pain.
Q: How does it work?
A: It is hypothesized that the growth factors recruit the body’s natural repair mechanisms and start the healing cascade. The idea is to repair and regenerate tissue to restore strength and function. A small amount of the patient’s blood or bone marrow is taken and spun down to obtain concentrated platelets or stem cells which are then used for the injection.
Q: What areas can be treated?
A: Stem cells and PRP can be effective in treating pain in a variety of areas including arthritis or soft tissue injuries to the lower back, discs, sacroiliac joints, knee, shoulder, rotator cuff, hip, bursa’s, tendons and elbow. The platelets or stem cells are injected into the painful area and release growth factors to hopefully assist in healing an injured area naturally.
Q: What should I expect after the procedure?
A: You may experience pain and or discomfort in the area of your injection for a few days and you may be sore or stiff for a week or more. Apply ice or heat to the area if needed. Do not take any anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen or aspirin (except for your heart) for one week after the procedure, but you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol). It is impossible to tell you how many treatments you will need. Most patients heal, and some do not. A healthy diet and lifestyle are also important in your overall health. Rest for 24-48 hours after the procedure and then you may resume activity as tolerated. However, avoid strenuous activity for 1 week following the procedure and wait 4 weeks before weight-lifting or running. You can start physical therapy 5-7 days after the procedure. Do not submerge the injection sites in water for 7 days.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Regenerative medicine is considered experimental and is therefore not covered by most insurance plans yet. Cost varies on the treatment area and which injection technique is utilized.