Regenerative Medicine for Sports Injuries
The rapidly growing field of regenerative medicine now offers physicians non-surgical tools to help repair damaged and deteriorating tissues resulting from sports trauma and injuries.
These cell-based treatments are referred to as orthobiologics, and help to accelerate tissue healing, alleviate pain, improve mobility, and minimize the impact of degenerative conditions.
What Does Orthobiologics Mean?
Orthobiologics are biologically active substances such as stem cells and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) that occur naturally within the human body. When concentrated and injected into areas of injury or dysfunction, these bioactive cells work to stimulate the body’s natural healing responses. Because they contain high concentrations of naturally-occurring growth factors, cytokines, and other therapeutic cellular components, orthobiologics promote accelerated tissue healing without the need for invasive surgery or prescription medications.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has shown significant benefit in decreasing pain and improving functionality for patients with sports-related trauma and/or injuries. Platelets contain powerful growth factors and cytokines that stimulate tissue healing, while simultaneously signaling and recruiting local stem cells. PRP is obtained by taking a small quantity of blood and concentrating its platelets through a process called centrifugation. Once concentrated, platelets are then re-injected into areas of injury or dysfunction.
Stem cells are the building blocks of the human body, working to repair injury and dysfunction from within. These cells are unspecialized, meaning they have the ability to differentiate into multiple tissue types. They are also capable of long-term self-renewal, meaning they can make multiple copies of themselves over long periods. Because of their unique ability to generate numerous cell types, stem cells boost tissue healing on a cellular level — something that traditional orthopedic treatments simply do not address.
For athletes, regenerative therapies have been of particular interest in recent years. Due to their minimally-invasive nature, such treatments do not require extensive downtime, making them an ideal therapy for those hoping to resume activity quickly. Orthobiologics may also be used to augment other orthopedic procedures where accelerated healing is desired.
Orthobiologic treatments can be used to address a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including:
- Broken bones
- Muscular injuries
- Ligament tears
- Tendon tears
- Muscle, ligament, & tendon sprains