For many years, our best option for treating musculoskeletal injuries, sprains and strains was to inject local (numbing) anesthetics and anti-inflammatory steroids into the affected area to reduce swelling and pain.
Over time, we have learned that although steroid injections can be helpful and effective, prolonged and repeated use may not be beneficial. Fortunately for our patients today, advances in science have allowed us to find new and targeted approaches to treating these kinds of injuries, including regenerative medicine therapies called Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem-Cell (SC).
The Science of Regenerative Treatments
PRP and SC therapies introduce a patient’s own blood products into the injured area to help with recovery. Based on the location of the injury, we isolate and draw out special corresponding cells called mesenchymals, which are the immature cells of the blood, bone marrow, and adipose tissues that eventually differentiate into bone cells (osteoblasts), cartilage cells (chondrocytes), and fat cells (adipose cells).
We take the cells we have removed from the patient and use a specific centrifuge program to concentrate the cell mediators (substances released from cells that regulate or cause physiologic changes) and healing factors. We then inject the patient with these cells—ones that match the injured tendon, ligament, muscle or joint—with the intention that they will promote repair and regeneration of the area’s damaged cells.
The Evaluation Process
The process starts with a thorough clinical evaluation, including a full medical history and physical. I review the patient’s previous imaging, and may require new or further imaging to determine if he or she is a candidate for this therapy.
The treatment usually involves a sterile blood draw from the arm, a bone marrow aspiration, or adipose tissue aspiration. After the specimens are properly prepared, they are then re-injected under sterile conditions into the injured area.
The procedure usually takes between 30 to 60 minutes. The patient receives specific instructions for post-treatment care and is discharged home. We follow up via phone over the next few days and then re-evaluate in the office in a week.
What are the Expected Results?
When steroid and other treatments do not work, or are not indicated, PRP and SC therapies can be treatment options that offer similar, or less, risk than conventional treatment options.
Because the goal of PRP therapy is to resolve pain through healing, it could prove to have lasting results. Initial improvement may be seen within a few weeks, gradually increasing as the healing progresses. Research studies and clinical practice have shown us that PRP therapy can be very effective at relieving pain and returning patients to their normal lives. Both ultrasound and MRI images have shown definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy, confirming the healing process. The need for surgery can also be greatly reduced by treating injured tissues before the damage progresses and the condition is irreversible.
Learn More about Platelet-Rich Plasma and Stem Cell Treatments offered at our New York & New Jersey centers
If you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate for either of these regenerative treatment procedures, please call Manhattan Spine & Pain Medicine at 877.463.7264 and a patient care coordinator will be happy to assist you. With multiple pain centers conveniently located in Manhattan, New York and in northern New Jersey, Manhattan Spine & Pain Medicine offers a vast array of interventional and non-interventional solutions for patients suffering from various pain conditions. Read more about Dr. Steve Aydin and his clinical expertise in PRP and Stem Cell therapies.