Our own blood, bone marrow, and fat contain potent elements that naturally reduce inflammation and promote healing. By utilizing these substances, including platelet rich plasma, bone marrow derived stem cells or adipose tissue in qualifying patients, our physicians are able to tap into the body’s own natural resources to either avoid or delay surgery, or improve the outcomes of operative intervention.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) contains a high concentration of platelets and a variable amount of white blood cells (depending on the application). These enhance the body’s natural ability to heal, can reduce inflammation in tendons and arthritic joints, and accelerate the repair of damaged tendons and ligaments.
PRP is an option for patients that have exhausted other conservative treatments (rest, physical therapy, pain medication) but aren’t yet ready for surgery.
The process of utilizing PRP starts with a simple blood draw. After platelets are isolated using a special device called a centrifuge, they are then injected directly into a damaged area. This can be done alone in an outpatient setting or in conjunction with a surgical procedure to help reinforce a repair, speed healing and shorten recovery time.
Studies show that stem cells can have the ability to reduce inflammation and provide important proteins that may promote healing, particularly at the site where they are injected. The cells can be acquired from a patient’s own body or potentially from donated human tissue. Because stem cells have natural healing properties, they may be used to reinforce a surgical repair in the joints, spine, or tendon. More specifically, patients suffering with osteoarthritis, chronic tendon or ligament injuries or cartilage defects, may also benefit from stem cell injections. In order to establish best clinical practices, our office offers these treatments as part of clinical trials when indicated.
Bone Marrow Aspiration
Bone marrow is an abundant resource of stem cells. Extracted from the inner cavity of the pelvis, humerus or tibia, these stem cells provide proteins that can promote healing and decrease inflammation. The product is referred to as bone marrow aspirate concentration (BMAC).
Once extracted, the bone marrow is spun in a special device called a centrifuge so that the stem cells separate from other components. The isolated cells are then injected into the area of concern. The procedure can be performed in tandem with a surgical procedure or alone in an outpatient setting. There is increasing evidence that using bone-marrow-derived stem cells along with existing surgical techniques may improve outcomes, particularly for patients undergoing revision procedures. Surgeons at MOR are actively engaged in BMAC research to demonstrate improved healing in patients with rotator cuff tears and knee meniscus tears and osteoarthritis.
Fat plays an essential role in the way our body functions and may also play a role in how we heal. Also called adipose tissue, fat contains a network of blood vessels, connective tissue, and potentially regenerative cells, including adipose-derived stem cells. Studies over several decades have discovered that fat’s reparative cells can help promote a healing environment in response to a tissue injury and can also enhance surgical outcomes for the right patients.
Adipose tissue is harvested from a patient’s own body. During the collection procedure, a physician makes a tiny puncture through the skin and draws a small amount of fat from either the midsection or “love handles.” Next, the collected fat is processed to eliminate any impurities, toxins, and inflammatory elements. After processing, a small needle is used to inject the tissue into the treatment site.
Amniotic fluid contains hyaluronic acid, an agent known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains a cellular component that may also aid in its effect. Amniotic membrane is the thin, inner layer of the placenta. Like amniotic fluid, the membrane has the potential to decrease inflammation, but it’s also been found to boost tissue healing. These are typically harvested from healthy, elective cesarean sections by a third party and screened before use. The products can come in the form of a patch or, more commonly, an injection. The use of amniotic tissue may help patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis decrease pain and swelling, particularly in the knee and can also be used as an adjuvant during a surgical procedure to promote healing and reduce scar formation.