Traditional surgery is very useful for treating a variety of tissue damage and wear-and-tear – but recent science has developed therapies that can capture and accelerate the body’s ability to heal – possibly without the need for invasive procedures.
Two such treatments are Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (a.k.a., PRP) and Stem Cell Therapy. Which one is right to treat your specific issue? Can they be used in tandem, or in combination with surgery, to reinforce healing? Let’s find out!
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are the undifferentiated ones we often associate with fetal development. They are the virgin cells which metamorphose to form tissue that makes up the myriad tissues in our bodies.
While people often believe that stem cells can only be extracted from aborted fetal tissue, it is also true that stem cells exist in the bone marrow and fat of adults. By extracting and placing stem cells in a specific area of the body where damage has been done, stem cells can “sense” their environment and transform into the specific cells that surround them.
The buildup of additional cells allows the affected area to heal, often much faster than normal, or to heal when no repair was expected in the first place. So, for example, a patient with chronic knee pain caused by the wearing away of padding tissue might well be able to avoid knee surgery with the introduction of stem cells.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
PRP therapy is another miraculous treatment to help reverse tissue damage.
You may know that human blood is composed of red and white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body through a network of arteries. White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are responsible for attacking foreign bodies that could infect or damage us. By contrast, platelets are disk-like particles that gather around wounds to clot the blood and encourage healing.
It was discovered that by injecting plasma with concentrated numbers of platelets to an injured area of the body, healing and repair were accelerated.
PRP therapy is accomplished by harvesting a small amount of blood from the patient and running it through a centrifuge to separate it. Plasma containing the concentrated platelets are then injected to the area of damage.
PRP therapy became popular for sports-related injuries to accelerate healing, so athletes could return to the field faster. It can treat such conditions as rotator cuff tendinitis, impingement, bursitis, and bicipital tendinitis.
PRP therapy is also effective in treating old, chronic injuries. Sometimes the body leaves an injury partially unhealed, causing pain and other unwanted symptoms. PRP therapy can be effective in treating such injuries and pains because the platelet-rich plasma can encourage the body to complete the healing process.
While both of these treatments involve healing the body, they are very different. In order to determine which of these treatments is right for your condition, speak with a doctor who has experience in seeing the results of these therapies.