The concept of Regenerative Medicine seems new to us, but has been widely used in Europe for quite some time. For many years professional athletes have traveled to Europe for treatment with platelet rich plasma (or PRP). Until recently, PRP treatment for average Americans has been much too expensive - unless you own an oil well. Fortunately, new technology for processing and preparing PRP to inject into injured tissue has made it possible for many more people to get treatment with this amazing product.
When you are injured, your body has a method of healing itself. That method includes, among many other things, platelets from your blood that infuse into the damaged tissue. These platelets then break open and release all kinds of growth factors and chemicals that are involved in the healing of tissue. One of those factors is an attractant for stem cells. Stem cells are cells in your body that have not turned into any specific type of cell and are stored in your body's fatty tissue and bone marrow for use in case of injury. The attractants summon the stem cells to the injured tissue where they are directed to turn into whatever is injured so that your body can repair itself.
The preparation of PRP includes obtaining a sample of your blood, spinning it in a centrifuge in order to separate the plasma from the red blood cells, which results in platelets that are concentrated in numbers much greater than in a normal sample of blood. These platelets are extracted and ready to inject back into the injured tissue or joint of the body. Once this is done, the body reacts by healing very quickly. This PRP treatment can be effective for new injuries and even some older injuries.
With the effectiveness of PRP, investigators have looked at the possibility of harvesting more stem cells in order to have even greater results than with the PRP alone. Taking samples of body fat and bone marrow were attempted, but not very well received by the patient, as it was quite uncomfortable for most individuals. It has been discovered that umbilical cords from newborns contain a large number of stem cells and we now know that by extracting those stem cells from the umbilical cord we can produce a more abundant supply for use in treating injuries. This source of stem cells is being used increasingly, whereas before, the umbilical cords were destroyed as waste products. The good news is that umbilical stem cells are quite compatible with most individuals and no one is harmed in the process of obtaining or using them.
At Alpine Pain and Rehab Solutions of Utah, we offer treatment with both PRP and injections to help heal damaged tissue. Call for a consultation on how these procedures can help you.