Regenerative Injections

The emerging field of regenerative medicine is revolutionizing the treatment of injured tissues.

The emerging field of regenerative medicine is revolutionizing the treatment of injured tissues. What is so revolutionary about this treatment approach is that the body’s own healing and restorative powers are being harnessed to heal damaged tissue and help people get back to their normal lives. Researchers who study the rapidly evolving area of regenerative medicine are learning how to give the body its own so-called “starter kit” for healing. These “kits,” made of either platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cells harvested from the patient without chemical additives, hold the potential to stimulate the body’s natural responses to heal itself.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

PRP contains platelets in a concentration 5 to 10 times greater than what is normally found in the blood. Platelets are cells in the blood that cause the blood to clot. These platelets are essential to healing processes. Platelets are associated with growth factors involved in healing and repairing damaged tissue. PRP is a collection of platelets and growth factors used to encourage the body’s own healing processes. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment has grabbed headlines in recent years for its role in helping some of sports’ biggest stars return to play following injury — including golfer Tiger Woods, Super Bowl winner Hines Ward and NBA legend Kobe Bryant. To treat a patient with PRP, the patient’s blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood rapidly for a brief period of time to separate out the platelet-rich plasma. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the area to be treated, in an attempt to jump start the healing process. PRP has been used to treat osteoarthritis, chronic tendonitis, non-healing wounds, and other degenerative problems. Common targets for PRP include knees, hips, and shoulders. Spine related pain can also be addressed, treating facet joints and sacroiliac (SI) joints and even in intradiscal applications.

FAQ: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

  • What is the cost of PRP therapy, and is it covered by insurance?
  • PRP is not covered by insurance. We will inform you of the cost when we discuss this treatment option with you.
  • How can I prepare for treatment?
  • You should stop taking any anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., Aspirin, Motrin, Aleve) seven days prior to your scheduled procedure. On the day of your procedure, drink as much water as you can.
  • Will I experience any discomfort during or after the procedure?
  • Patients usually tolerate the injection well. However, there can be soreness after the injection due to the PRP-induced inflammatory response. You can expect swelling and soreness during the first 48 hours post injection and are given pain medication to help alleviate the discomfort.
  • How long will the procedure take?
  • PRP therapy usually takes about 30 minutes.

Stem cell therapy

Stem cells are non-specific cells that are capable of developing into specific cell types (e.g., heart cells, liver cells, neurons) in a process known as differentiation. Researchers can use this specialization process to develop fully differentiated cells that can heal damaged tissue in a specific part of the body. In addition, in some parts of the body, stem cells can regenerate themselves on a regular basis to replace damaged tissue; this ability to regenerate continuously underscores the usage of stem cells in regenerative therapy. At Polaris, we perform stem cell therapy by taking stem cells from the adipose (fat) tissue, usually from the abdomen. Adipose is incredibly rich in stem cells, containing nearly 500 times more stem cells per gram of tissue than the equivalent amount of bone marrow. In addition, the amount of stem cells in adipose tissue is less likely to decrease with age compared with those found in the bone marrow. We use a system called LipoGems® to extract and process adipose tissue. Unlike traditional forms of adipose tissue processing, which take up to several days and use chemicals to break down the tissue, LipoGems® takes only a few minutes, requires no chemicals, and minimizes tissue damage. By using LipoGems®, we are able to shorten the time required for each stem cell therapy treatment session, and thus serve our patients more efficiently. With recent studies demonstrating the benefit of LipoGems® for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis, LipoGems® holds promise for treating spinal conditions. Both stem cells and PRP are emerging as promising candidates for the treatment of chronic wounds. The beauty of these treatments is that they do not involve any drugs or chemicals. “PRP is completely natural and uses the patient’s own blood platelets to enhance the body’s biological healing process.” In an article entitled ‘Future of Medicine: Advances in Regenerative Medicine Teach Body How to Rebuild Damaged Muscles, Tissues and Organs,’ Scientific American reported “the extra help allows the body to regrow tissues of the type or in the amount that it normally could not do by itself.” “When there is chronic damage to tissue involving the immune system, as in inflammation or heart disease, the body loses the ability to repair itself…Regenerative medicine changes that process and holds the potential to address acute injuries and chronic ailments, including those associated with aging.” Stem cell therapy and PRP are also being applied in the treatment of degenerative disc disease, chronic tendinitis, arthritis, ligamentous injury and cartilage damage in the joint. The doctors at Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center are leading, trusted specialists with top credentials and educational backgrounds. They are among a select group of physicians offering regenerative injection techniques, especially in the delivery of such for spinal care. As a result, patients can benefit from unique non-surgical options.

FAQ: Stem cell therapy

  • Do I have to get medical clearance by a doctor before the procedure?
  • No, there is only a blood test required. We can do this test at our surgery center.
  • What is the cost of stem cell therapy, and is it covered by insurance?
  • Stem cell therapy is not covered by insurance. We will inform you of the cost when we discuss this treatment option with you.
  • How can I prepare for stem cell therapy?
  • To prepare for stem cell therapy, you should stop taking any anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., Aspirin, Motrin, Aleve) seven days prior to your scheduled procedure.
  • Will I experience any discomfort during or after the procedure?
  • To perform stem cell therapy, we will first extract 60-120 cc of adipose tissue from your stomach. The extraction is done with a sterile needle. We will apply a local anesthetic to the area to minimize any pain and discomfort related to the extraction. Following the extraction, and a few intermediary steps to activate the stem cells, we will then inject these stem cells back into the affected area. After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort at the extraction site. Do not take any anti-inflammatory medications for at least two weeks after the procedure. Instead, either you can take Tylenol or we can prescribe pain medication for you. Please call us if you are experiencing extreme pain.
  • How long will the procedure take?
  • The length of the procedure will vary based on the location and extent of the treatment but ranges from 1-1.5 hours.