Our bodies have an innate ability to heal themselves. However, with many injuries, there is not a proper environment to allow healing. Orthobiologics treatments involve the use of a patient’s own cells to facilitate healing, decrease pain and improve function. Common orthobiologic procedures include Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and cell therapies such as Bone Marrow Aspirate (BMA) or adipose tissue (Adipose Derived Stem Cells, or ADSC).
Orthobiologics aim to create a more favorable healing environment in the injured area of the body. The healing growth factors which naturally exist in our body’s blood, bone marrow and/or adipose tissue, are injecting into the injured area. These cells then change the environment into one which optimizes healing with a more native cell type. Of course, the concentration of the different types of cells must be carefully determined by the regenerative medicine specialist, as each location and type of injury requires specific formulation.
Orthobiologics can be used to treat a diverse range of orthopedic and sports injuries, both acute and chronic. This includes potentially repairing damaged tissues such as muscle, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, as well as reducing osteoarthritis pain and improving function.
What is regenerative medicine?
Regenerative medicine is defined as the process of replacing or “regenerating” human cells, tissues, or organs to restore or establish normal function. This growing area of medicine seeks to put the body’s own repair mechanisms to work healing damaged tissues and organs.
At Orthopedic Associates of Long Island, our regenerative medicine specialists offer platelet-rich plasma (PRP), bone marrow aspirate (BMA) and adipose-derived stem cell (ADSC) treatments.
Benefits of Regenerative Medicine
Our bodies have amazing healing abilities. Regenerative medicine relies on those processes to have the body heal itself. The goal of regenerative medicine treatments in orthopedics is to facilitate tissue healing, decrease pain and improve function by using cells from the patient’s own body. This will return normal function and reduce or eliminate pain.
Some benefits of using orthobiologics/regenerative medicine for your orthopedic recovery include:
- Heal injuries faster.
- Repair damaged tissues.
- Reduce pain levels.
- Improve function.
Candidates for a Regenerative Medicine Treatment At Orthopedic Associates of Long Island
Regenerative medicine treatments are used to treat the following conditions:
What is platelet-rich plasma?
Our blood has three types of cells: red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body, white blood cells that fight infection, and platelets that help blood clot and work to heal injuries. Plasma is the fluid part of our blood.
Platelets play an important role in healing wounds. Platelets are commonly known for their ability to clot the blood and close the wound, but they have a far greater role in healing than simply clotting. Platelets also house numerous growth factors, which are released to kick start the healing process of rebuilding the injured tissue.
Centrifugation allows every sample of blood and its components to be specifically tailored to the needs of every individual patient and their specific injury.
How does PRP work?
When you have a wound or injury, such as a strained ligament, the body sends platelets to the area. With wounds, the platelets first form the clot to prevent more bleeding. Platelets then create a foundation for new tissue to grow. They also release growth factors and other proteins. These proteins attract stem cells and other cells to the area. All of these various cells, proteins, and growth factors work together to rebuild the injured tissue to fully heal and repair the injury
By concentrating platelets and their corresponding growth factors into PRP, this elevates the healing potential. When concentrated PRP is injected into the injured areas, they act like glue, binding the damaged tissue together. The PRP also releases growth factors that stimulate the body’s natural healing response.
How is Platelet-Rich Plasma Made?
Blood is drawn and then processed in a centrifuge to separate the cellular components. Depending on the condition being treated, the PRP will be formulated with different percentages of its components and then injected into the site of the injury.
What is bone marrow aspirate?
Bone marrow is the tissue inside our bones. It is responsible for most cell lineages including our blood cells which are made in the bone marrow. Bone marrow has stem cells and many other cells that help in healing. When you have an injury or illness, these cells help tissue heal and regenerate. The idea is that cells found in bone marrow can be used to treat damaged tissue, improve function, and help reduce pain.
How is the bone marrow aspirated?
Bone marrow aspirate uses bone marrow that is harvested from the back of your pelvic bone. The process takes from 30 to 60 minutes. The procedure is completed with the patient on their side or stomach. Here are the steps of the BMA procedure:
- The harvest site on the pelvic bone is identified by touch and ultrasound.
- The skin is disinfected.
- A local anesthetic is applied from the surface skin down to the bone.
- A special needle is used to enter the bone.
- The needle withdraws (aspirates) the marrow from the bone.
- The bone marrow may or may not be placed in a centrifuge upon aspiration, depending on the procedure being performed.
How are ADSC Harvested?
Similar to bone marrow, adipose tissue is rich in stem cells. Adipose tissue can be harvested from a patient’s abdomen, flank or buttocks. Your doctor will determine the best location. This is done in the office under sterile conditions. Here is the process for harvesting adipose tissue:
- Patient is prepped with sterile coverings and area is cleaned
- Local anesthetic provided
- A special type of fluid called Tumescent Fluid is injected into the area where the ADSC is to be harvested. This helps to numb the area as well as constrict the blood vessels reducing the loss of blood.
- Tumescent fluid will remain in the area for 10-15 minutes to take full effect
- Proper amount of adipose tissue is harvested from the site
- Adipose tissue is processed to remove oils and other unwanted cells
- Remaining tissue is placed in centrifuge to concentrate the cells
- Adipose derived stem cells are injected into the injured area
- Steri strips and a bandage are placed over the harvest site. No suturing is needed.
Risks and Side Effects of Regenerative Medicine
After the orthobiologics treatment, there can be increased pain and soreness for a few days. As with any injection or procedure, there is a small risk of infection. There is also a small chance of developing a collection of blood called a hematoma around harvesting site. This can cause pain and soreness, but typically resolves quickly. Since a patient’s own cells are used for the procedure, there is generally no allergic response or rejection of the treatment by their bodies.