Orthopedic injuries occur each day and from different causes. An injury can result from a fall or a trauma to a musculoskeletal part of the body (e.g., knees, hips, shoulders). Many times, age or overuse can create a more common occurrence for these types of injury.  

Some injuries are minor and the recovery is as easy as rest and at-home recovery methods. Other more serious injuries may require surgery and physical therapy to return to normal function. Some patients, however, may never recover fully and develop complications related to the initial trauma, such as decreased range of motion, chronic pain, psychological issues, or risks from surgery. 

Today, regenerative medicine has presented innovative biological advances that offer an opportunity to address their medical issues in innovative ways that involve using biomedical therapies, such as platelet-rich plasma therapy and stem cell therapy.

What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a substance featuring concentrated platelets and proteins which are derived from whole blood. When the platelets are isolated and their concentration is increased, their growth factors are amplified by five to ten times. 

This concentrated solution holds tremendous potential for promoting wound-healing and accelerating the process of regenerating lost tissue to help patients regain their physical function as soon as possible and relieve their pain.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment is widely regarded as a safe and effective therapy since it is one’s own blood source. The potential benefits can be decreased pain, medication intake reduction, promotion of faster healing rate, slowing down of cartilage destruction, and stimulates cell growth and repair at site of injury.

In a 2014 study, scientists analyzed the effects of PRP therapy when associated with ultrasound guidance. They concluded that “According to the current results, which document full muscle recovery and no relapse except for one case, platelet-rich plasma ultrasound-guided injection represents a valid mini-invasive treatment for muscle injuries.”

What Is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into various cell types and tissues. Scientists were extremely enthusiastic about the therapeutic potential of these cells in restoring damaged tissues, the functionality of organs, and managing symptoms brought on by chronic and degenerative conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Many studies have used various types of stem cells in the treatment of different types of sports injuries. Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSCs) is one of the most common stem cells in today’s research and applications. They are sourced from various tissues; adipose (fat) tissue, bone marrow, and the umbilical cord tissue.

In a 2017 review, scientists reveal the beneficial outcomes of mesenchymal stem cells from eight different studies. The studies were performed on patients that had varying degrees of osteoarthritis. The findings concluded were promotion of cartilage regeneration, reduction of pain, and improved joint function. In addition, they were able to determine that the more stem cells used, the better the outcome of the therapy. 

What Is The Difference Between These Two Treatments?

Despite the similar regenerative properties that both treatment options offer, there is a clear difference in their mechanisms of action, as PRP therapy focuses on the recruitment of immune cells, growth factors, and hormones to stimulate the regeneration of the damaged tissue.

On the other hand, stem cell therapy works by replacing the basic building blocks of the damaged tissue, which are the cells. Simply put, stem cells will differentiate into myocytes chondrocytes, osteocytes, fibroblasts, and other cells found in the muscle/joint capsule to restore the physical function of patients.

Regardless of these differences, they are both promising options due to their non-invasiveness, quick results, and lack of any serious side effects. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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