Stem cells are the wave of the future according to the stories we see in the news. PRP injections are also mentioned but often never really explained except that we know pro athletes are getting them and sometimes it helps them return to sport faster.
So what is this stuff and can it work for my injury too? Can I get the magical unicorn juice for my joint pain?
As it turns out, there are solid scientific studies out there that conclude favorable outcomes for both the use of stem cells and PRP in orthopedic injuries. Instead of unicorns, they come from your own body and are concentrated to be re-injected at the point of your injury.
There are two types of stem cells, amniotic and autologous. For our purposes we are referring to autologous stem cells (those that come from your own body). You have stem cells located in your bone marrow that can be safely extracted by a board certified orthopedic surgeon. These cells are processed so that they are concentrated and re-injected into your body at the point of injury.
PRP, Platelet Rich Plasma is in your blood and obtained during a simple blood draw. The platelets are processed and concentrated to yield a higher amount of platelets than what is free floating within your blood. This concentrated fluid is then re-injected at the point of injury. It is important to note that there are two formulations of PRP, one that contains higher white blood cells and one that greatly reduces them. A knowledgeable doctor can determine which is best for your specific injury.
Rumors & Myths About Stem Cells & PRP
Stem cell and PRP treatments are not right for every single patient. Only a board-certified doctor can decide if this is right for you. Only a few insurances currently cover this treatment since it is still a new science so it is important that you talk to a doctor that will customize a treatment plan. Some injuries require surgery and may be too severe for simply an injection. Beware of doctors that are willing to inject patients without a specific orthopedic diagnosis.
There are different types of stem cells and PRP formulations so a google search can yield mixed results. Some articles sing the praises of each procedure while others deem them ineffective. Every injury and patient is unique so the treatment must be customized for your specific problem. While both are safe treatments without any significant reports of adverse effects, you may also be paying out of pocket for it, so you want to see a surgeon who is well versed on all of the current research.
Stem Cells & PRP Treatment Search
area and interested in more information about PRP and Stem Cell treatments for orthopedic injuries go to gitelisortho.com or call 847-807-7770 and talk to our friendly staff about scheduling an appointment with Dr. Gitelis today!