What Is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine, or stem cell therapy, is a specialty focused on developing methods to repair damaged or diseased tissue. Instead of traditional methods, it uses the body’s own cells to heal and regenerate damaged cells. Stem cells are used to repair and replace tissues, bones, and organs using cells harvested from your own body.
In the spine, regenerative medicine can be used to treat arthritis, injuries, and degenerative disc disease.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are non-specific, “generic” cells that can develop into other cells with a specific function, like bone, neuron, and cartilage cells. Stem cells can also regulate the functions of the cells around them to induce healing.
The stem cells used in regenerative medicine are known as adult stem cells and are taken from your own body.
Where Do the Stem Cells Come From?
Mesenchymal cells are a specific type of stem cell in adult bone marrow or adipose tissue that can transform into bone, cartilage, fat, and possibly other cells. Mesenchymal cells are taken from our own bodies for use in treatment.
The cells are extracted, processed, and then injected into the area that will benefit from the healing.
Adipose tissue (fat) is usually taken from the abdomen using a special medical device that harvests and processes the tissue to be injected at the injury site. Adipose tissue supports your natural healing processes to repair, reconstruct, or replace injured or damaged tissue. It is high-quality tissue with a large number of reparative cells.
Studies show that adipose stem cells have the potential to heal osteoarthritis of the knee.
Bone marrow is normally taken from the hip bone using a special procedure and then will go through a process that concentrates the stem cells, growth factors, and platelets in your bone marrow. It can then be injected into the targeted area.
Bone marrow is a rich source of stem cells. The part of your bone marrow that is used includes anti-inflammatory proteins that have been shown to promote healing and reduce pain symptoms related to tendonitis and arthritis.
Research shows mesenchymal stem cells may be able to renew damaged or diseased tissue and help correct congenital deformities.
Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood, and platelets are blood cells that cause clotting and other healing functions. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy uses a concentrated form of your own platelets to boost your own ability to repair injured muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments.
Results may not be immediate but will grow noticeable in the following months.
The process is simple. Blood is drawn from your arm, processed to separate the blood components, and then your own concentrated plasma is injected where healing is needed.
PRP therapy has the potential to speed healing and reduce pain.
What Is Regenerative Medicine Used For?
Regenerate medicine is a fairly new field that shows limitless potential. Currently, it’s being used for therapies and conditions of the spine like:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spine injuries
It is also used in other areas of medicine, like:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Brain injury repair
- Immune system improvement
- Wound healing
- Some cancers
If you think regenerative medicine may be right for you, schedule a consultation visit today.