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Regenerative Medicine 101

 

WHAT IS REGENERATIVE MEDICINE?

Musculoskeletal regenerative medicine is an exciting new field of medicine designed to target painful and damaged tissues and deliver therapies to stop the degeneration and perhaps partially reverse it.  It is the practice of replacing or regenerating human cells to restore function and decrease pain.

 

WHAT TYPE OF REGENERATIVE THERAPIES ARE USED TO TREAT NECK, BACK, JOINT, AND TENDON PROBLEMS?

The two main regenerative therapies to treat musculoskeletal pain are platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells.  PRP is the process of collecting the patient’s own blood, spinning it down, and concentrating the platelets, which are known to have healing properties in the form of growth factors.  Stem cells are collected from either the patient’s bone marrow (BMAC) or fat cells (adipose tissue).  Once collected these are prepared and injected in or around the painful tendons, discs or joints.  Stem cells provide regeneration through a complex set of signaling molecules that influence the differentiation of other cells that have not yet established an identity.  Please see below for more detailed information on each of these cutting-edge therapies.

 

AM I A CANDIDATE FOR PRP OR STEM CELL THERAPY?

The ideal candidate for regenerative therapies are those patients who have mild to moderate degenerative arthritis or tendinopathy and are highly motivated to either regain or maintain their active lifestyle.  The patients who have the best outcomes use PRP or stem cells as a key component of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program.

 

PLATELET RICH PLASMA (PRP).

Human blood is composed of many different types of cells and each has a specific list of functions.  One of these cells are platelets.  While platelets are most commonly known for stopping bleeding, they contain a vast array of growth factors that are thought to decrease inflammation, increase blood flow, and heal degenerative tissues.  PRP is prepared by simply collecting the patient’s own blood through venipuncture (blood draw).  Once the blood is collected it is placed in a centrifuge where the unwanted components of the blood are separated from the platelets and discarded.  After the PRP preparation is complete, it is injected into the area of degeneration using the most appropriate imaging modality to precisely deliver the therapy.  For injections into the neck, mid, and low back, fluoroscopy (x-ray) is most commonly used.  For injections into tendons and other joints, ultrasound can be used in the office or at a surgery center.

 

STEM CELLS.

Stem cells are naturally produced by the human body and part of their function is to promote healing of damaged and degenerated tissue.  When part of the body is injured, these cells migrate to the area of injury and serve as signaling molecules to promote healing.  To treat primarily joint and disc related complaints, the stem cells are collected from the patient’s bone marrow or fat cells.  Once the bone marrow or fat is collected, the stem cells are isolated and injected at the site of injury.  In certain circumstances stem cells and PRP may be used together to take advantage of the unique healing properties of each.

 

WHY DENVER BACK PAIN SPECIALISTS FOR YOUR REGENERATIVE MEDICINE NEEDS?

Our providers here at Denver Back Pain Specialists take great pride in providing the highest quality care for patients.   They use a thoughtful and detailed approach to obtain an accurate diagnosis before prescribing an appropriate treatment plan.  This includes listening to their patients, doing a focused and detailed physical exam, and ordering further diagnostic testing when appropriate.  Drs. Bainbridge and Trainor are highly skilled in procedural interventions, including both fluoroscopically and ultrasound-guided injections.  They understand the importance of using regenerative medicine as part of a multimodal rehabilitation program.  Their primary goal is to decrease pain, increase function, and, most importantly, improve the quality of life for their patients.

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