What is regenerative medicine?
Regenerative medicine is a controlled approach to enhance the body’s ability to regenerate and repair itself without the use of drugs and surgery. Mesenchymal stem cell therapy, in particular, continues to be a proven application in regenerating damaged cartilage and connective tissue. With a tailored protocol, the underlying issue can be targeted to promote healing with lasting results.
By the time we reach 25 years of age, we have already utilized 90% of the stem cells present in our body since birth. The remaining 10% is essential to assist in recovery from trauma and illness throughout the rest of our lifetime. As we age, this decreases our body’s ability to heal. Because of this, It is often necessary to make a “deposit” of specific mesenchymal stem cells to supply the body with the necessary materials for regeneration and healing.
The most common use for Regenerative Medicine is Osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage, or cushion, in a joint degenerates.
Causes of Osteoarthritis:
- Age. As we age we lose movement in our joints resulting in worn cartilage.
Cartilage acts as a pillow for our joints, when the pillow loses volume the lasting
result is pain.
- Injury. Previous trauma can cause joints to degenerate.
- Heredity. Certain genes have been linked to Osteoarthritis.
- Weight. Extra weight puts extra pressure on joints, causing them to wear and degenerate faster.
- Overuse. Repetitive movements can cause stress on joints.
Joint injections with specific healing cells can differentiate to create new, specialized, healthy cells that the body needs to grow, heal, and repair. In other words, the injections can stimulate new cartilage growth within the targeted joint. Changes may be experienced immediately or may take up to twelve months for full results, with gradual improvement over time.
The three types of regenerative medicine we offer:
Platelet Rich Plasma is a common application of Regenerative medicine. In our office we use the newest product, Vitti-Pure, instead of the patient’s own plasma. Vitti-Pure is a “No stick, no spin, no doubt” product. This advanced solution provides protein-rich support for joint cushioning and tissue support. Vitti-Pure is also an excellent source of glycosaminoglycans, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and glucosamine as well as naturally occurring proteins and lipids that provide excellent structural support.
What is the difference between traditional PRP and Vitti-Pure? Traditional PRP relies on the body’s existing resources to support repair to the injury site.
However, as we age, our bodies no longer carry an abundance of natural bio-materials necessary to regenerate and heal. As a consequence, there is diminished healing capacity leading to suboptimal repair. Vitti-Pure's structural tissue extracellular matrix is dense with bio-materials that support the mechanical activity of joints and tissue therefore encouraging repair.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s) are recovered from healthy, carefully screened mothers at the time of delivery. The Wharton’s Jelly surrounding the umbilical cord is rich in cells that can be transplanted. MSC injections are less invasive when compared to other forms of regenerative medicine such as bone marrow or adipose tissue extraction. This results in less pain and rehabilitation time for the patient. All protocols are in accordance with the FDA, AATB, and AABB regulations and standards.
MSC’s work by secreting powerful bioactive molecules, and contain a network of scaffolding proteins, growth factors, cytokines, extracellular matrix, and multiple other components needed to enhance the body's ability to heal. When injected into an arthritic joint, typical results a patient may experience are:
- Decreased inflammation
- Reduced scar tissue
- Regeneration of new tissue such as cartilage and connective tissue, this growth can take up to 12 months post-injection.
Exosomes are extracellular vesicles, represent the latest treatment option that is yielding remarkable outcomes. Many argue that extracellular vesicles may be more important than mesenchymal stem cells due to their unique ability to function as a “messenger” within the body, transferring information from cell to cell.
Enhancing regenerative medicine treatments with exosomes is considered a superior and optimal treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have personally experienced chronic joint pain. For many years I suffered with a torn rotator cuff and arthritic knee. In my quest to avoid drugs and surgery, I discovered regenerative medicine to treat the cause of my pain. Did it help?
Yes, so much so that I chose to offer this service to patients. Do I have regrets? Yes, I didn't do it sooner.
There are no guarantees of full recovery with any treatment, especially drugs and surgery which often only mask the problem. Applying regenerative medicine gives you the best chance to actually correct the cause of your problem, whether it’s worn cartilage, muscle tears, or an arthritic joint.
Imaging is required to determine if Regenerative Medicine is a suitable option for your condition. X-rays and MRI’s less than one year old are accepted. If you do not have an image, the first step is to obtain an x-ray. Depending on the severity of the condition, an MRI may be needed as well.
If we determine you are an ideal candidate, recommendations will be made based on your medical history, age, and severity of the condition. We encourage patients to act sooner rather than later. Degenerative diseases, such as Osteoarthritis, do just that…degenerate. As time progresses, condition worsen. The sooner a patient acts, the better the outcome.
Will you need more than one injection? That answer is completely dependent upon the severity of your diagnosis and your lifestyle. Patients with mild degenerative changes and good lifestyle habits may only need treatment once. While others may need multiple treatments.
What if we can’t help you? We will tell you. There is no risk to exploring this option which is drug-free and surgery-free. It is important to us that your healing be successful, and as such we are selective regarding the patients and joints we treat.
An arthritic joint over a patient’s lifetime costs an average of $129,600 in medical bills. The average knee replacement is $57,000. For patients with insurance, the average deductible is $4,300 for orthopedic surgery. This leaves an average cost of $12,000 to $15,000 for the patient’s out of pocket costs. Many times, this large medical expense does not equal results.
Regenerative medicine is a small fraction compared to the medical cost of treating an arthritic joint.
LINK TO ARTICLE HERE
Annie Gorham, APRN has been trained in specific joint injections. Annie has 15 years of experience in nursing and is the owner of Graceful Changes, LLC. She collaborates with a distinguished Medical Doctor who oversees all patient cases.