By DR. RICHARD BROWNLEE
Welcome Back MRI and Pain Management Centre
Have you heard about regenerative medicine?
Regenerative medicine is the ability to re-grow or replaced damaged tissue or organs. It is one of the big future trends in medicine which will try to reverse some of the changes associated with aging that leads to pain and disability. The Welcome Back Clinic plans to be one of the front runners in implementing this new technology to our aging population suffering from degenerative conditions or injuries.
The usual treatments for degenerative conditions or Injuries most often include anti-inflammatory medication, steroids - oral or injected, rest, ice or heat, various therapies or treatments such as Massage, Physiotherapy, or Chiropractic, or surgery. Regenerative Medicine would provide concentrated healing properties directly to the chronic pain or injuries being treated and would supplement or alleviate the need from some of the aforementioned treatments.
New Regenerative Medicine Therapies that hold promise for the future are:
Stem Cell therapy (Bone marrow concentrate) – Direct therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) – Indirect therapy
Stem Cell injections can be done in conjunction with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). Often PRP injections, which induce angiogenesis - new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels - and improve circulation, are performed prior to the Stem Cell injections.
Stem Cell Therapy:
A Stem Cell is a cell with the ability to self-replicate and differentiate into less primitive cell types. They have a number of properties that are important for repair and regeneration of damaged tissue including anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-apoptotic (preventing cell death), and pro-angiogenic properties. Stem cells can differentiate into bone, cartilage, muscle, or fat.
Stem Cell treatment involves extraction of stem cells from the patients body through Bone Marrow Aspiration where the bone marrow is collected via needle. For example, the number of stem cells for 60 mL ranges between 1,200 and 8,400 stem cells per mL. Stem Cell therapy is recommended for use in knee, hip, and shoulder joints, facet joints, fracture non-unions, muscles, and spinal discs.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatments:
PRP stimulates Stem Cells to multiply and differentiate leading to production of collagen. This is opposite to the effects of NSAIDS (Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) and steroid injections that have an anti-inflammatory function and can impede healing. Sometimes the PRP procedure needs to be repeated 3 or 4 times at intervals of 4 to 6 weeks for optimal results. Most importantly, this treatment often eliminates the need for surgery.
PRP treatments involve withdrawing blood from the patient and placing the retrieved sample in a centrifuge to separate the components of the blood including Platelet Rich Plasma, a platelet concentration of approximately 1 million platelets per mL. The PRP is then injected into the site in need of repair to provide the area with concentrated platelets to induce a “healing cascade.”
PRP is most useful for muscle tears, ligament tears (ACL repair), tendonopathy or tendonitis (ie. Rotator Cuff or Achilles Tendonitis), Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow, oral and craniofacial surgery (preparing bone for implants), and fracture non-union. Areas that are commonly treated are shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. It can also be effective for ligament strains, arthritis, synovitis (joint inflammation), and cartilage defects.
Over the next few months, the Welcome Back Centre will be working on introducing these new therapies to their treatments plans. Sign up for our monthly newsletters on our website to get more information about our treatment offerings or contact a Program Coordinator at 1–866–759–2674.