What is orthopedic regenerative medicine?

Pain Management, Sports Medicine


Test tubes showing platelet separationRegenerative medicine boosts the body’s ability to use its repair systems to heal diseased or damaged cells after a severe injury, arthritis, or other degenerative condition.

This minimally invasive treatment technique increases blood flow and promotes cell rejuvenation in the injured area, which is critical to healing.

Regenerative therapies can relieve and sometimes reverse tissue damage for two to five years. They are not permanent solutions. Treatments may be prescribed again as age-related conditions develop.

When is regenerative medicine used?

Regenerative medicine is a treatment for chronic and acute pain after surgical procedures, injury, or arthritis.

Athletes may use regenerative medicine to recover from injury, enhance performance, and relieve pain.

There are several types of regenerative treatments.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is one form of regenerative therapy using the patient’s blood. During the procedure, the provider uses a centrifuge to separate the platelets, which contain higher concentrations of growth factor, from the other parts of the blood. After the platelets are isolated, the provider injects them into the injured area.

Stem Cell Therapy uses an individual’s stem cells to promote new tissue growth for repair and healing. During stem cell therapy, the provider removes stem cells from bone marrow, blood, or fat and injects them into the injured or diseased area.

Harvesting stem cells from the bone marrow for regenerative medicine is not as invasive as collecting bone marrow for cancer treatment. Under local anesthesia in the provider’s office, a trained physician collects stem cells during a minimally invasive procedure.

Stem cell therapy can help with several orthopedic conditions.

Stem cell therapy may be helpful for

• Osteoarthritis
• Tendon, ligament, and cartilage injuries
• Overuse conditions like plantar fasciitis or tennis elbow
• Fractures that are not healing

Stem cell therapy may also benefit people suffering from bone tissue that has been deprived of oxygen leading to avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis, which causes small breaks and weakens the bone.

When looking for a provider for stem cell therapy, ask the provider what they do with your stem cells. A reputable provider will not keep them or manipulate them in a lab.

PLatelet Rich Plasma IllustrationWhat results can you expect?

The first few days after a regenerative procedure, you may notice tenderness at the collection site; the injection site may hurt worse. It is not uncommon for the injection site to be stiff and swollen after treatment.

Your provider will encourage you to move the affected area as your level of pain allows. If the pain increases, avoid the movement and talk to your health care provider.

You will not experience immediate pain relief. Unlike steroid injections, it takes time for the stem cells to promote the growth and repair of the damaged cells, but the results will last longer.

After a few weeks, you should be able to resume your regular activities. It may take three to six months before you experience the benefits and feel maximum improvement.

To find out if regenerative orthopedic treatments are right for your condition, make an appointment with a Bone & Joint provider. You may also need to reach out to your insurance company to see if your policy covers regenerative treatment.


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