When it comes to regenerative medicine, patients suffering from pain or a joint-related injury usually wonder if it’s best to have PRP therapy or stem cell treatment. In many cases, both of these treatments are lumped together and described in a similar way. And while it’s true that there are similarities, these procedures and how they work are both very different.
Platelet-Rich-Plasma Injections: How Do They Work?
PRP stands for platelet-rich-plasma. In this procedure, a doctor draws blood from the patient and concentrates the platelets in the blood using a centrifugal machine. This concentrated solution is then injected into the joint or injured area. Platelets contain numerous healing growth factors that can help speed up healing. This makes PRP injections great for sport-related injuries involving tendons and ligaments. They also work well in the joint and many patients with knee osteoarthritis use PRP. One of the reasons why it’s so effective in the knee is that there’s limited blood flow to the cartilage around the knee joint. Because of this, joint-related injuries in the knee are difficult to reverse by you body as it only has limited means to send blood and nutrients to the cartilage. When platelet-rich-plasma is injected into the knee, it gives the cartilage everything it needs to heal.
Stem Cell Therapy Procedure
In stem cell treatments, the patients own stem cells are withdrawn from fat or bone marrow. These stem cells are then injected into the injured area just like PRP. However, stem cells perform their function very differently. Because stem cells can replicate themselves and become new cells, they’re extremely effective in healing serious injuries that the body isn’t able to do by itself. As a result, new joint cartilage and tissues can be formed, potentially reversing the injury and completely restoring function and mobility to the knee. Because of this, stem cells are much more effective than PRP alone.
PRP and Stem Cell Therapy Combined
Some regenerative medicine doctors are now combining stem cell injections with PRP treatment as a way to get the “best of both worlds.” These injections tend to be very effective and are used by patients around the world.
Whether you decide to choose PRP or stem cells, there’s one important thing to keep in mind. Because these therapies are designed to start the healing process in your body, it takes time before results are seen. Just like when a broken bone is mended or new skin forms over a cut, joint repair from stem cells or PRP can take a few months to take effect. At Blatman Health and Wellness Center, patients often see considerable improvement as time goes on.