What Is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine is a combination of life science and engineering principles as well as the resulting procedures that provide your body with the right environment to heal itself. Your body is designed to survive and to heal. Medicine provides an enhancement to that process. Some medicines kill lethal bacteria. Other medical procedures repair broken bones or damaged organs. However, ultimately the body is healing itself.
When using regenerative procedures, the physician harvests your own (autologous) self-healing cells and uses them as super enhancement to another area of your body that may be injured, degenerated, or not fully healing. Through this process, studies have shown regenerative medicine may help heal tissues damaged by trauma, overuse, age, or disease.
In the area of orthopedics, regenerative medicine has been used successfully in:
- Tendonitis and tendon injuries, including partial tears, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow
- Shoulder injuries and pain, including rotator cuff tissue tears and injuries, frozen shoulder
- Osteoarthritis in joints, including shoulder, knee, hip, ankle, elbow, wrist, finger, and thumb
- Ligament injuries, including sprains and partial tears
- Knee sprains and injuries including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries
- Muscle strains and partial tears
- Plantar fasciitis
- Low back pain
- Herniated vertebral discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Nerve injuries
- Osgood-Schlatter’s disease
- Shin splints
Why choose regenerative medicine techniques?
Regenerative medicine helps the body heal the way it was intended. Invasive surgeries can begin a cascade of musculoskeletal problems, including early-onset arthritis, and require long periods of rehabilitation and painful recovery. In the area of orthopedics, an untreated injury or condition can do far more damage to your life than just cause you pain.
The emotional aspects of musculoskeletal pain and injury include:
- Athlete: Injury that could end your career and/or livelihood, especially if surgery is undertaken.
- Diminishing activities of daily living.
- Weight gain due to inactivity and inability to lose it because of pain and inactivity.
- Not being able to put socks on, or having to sit down to put pants on.
- Not being able to use the stairs to get to your bedroom, so now you have to sleep downstairs in the guest bedroom or on the sofa or in the reclining chair.
- Having to use a cane, walker or crutches.
- Shopping with the electronic scooter because your knee, hip, or back cannot be standing for longer than 5 minutes.
- Not being able to sit through a movie.
- Long term risk of diabetes because of inactivity and poor diet.
Imagine being able to reduce your pain and return to normal activities. With regenerative medicine procedures in your corner, you can:
- Decrease time away from sport or daily activities
- Decrease or eliminate use of steroids and nonsteroidal anti-infammatory medication
- Decrease or eliminate use of narcotic pain medication
- Decrease pain
- Increase healing potential
- Increase tissue function
- Recover faster
Some physicians have seen a reduction in healing time by 50%. For example, an injury that requires 6 weeks to heal, may heal in 3 weeks with regenerative medicine techniques. Furthermore, there is no incision or scarring to recover from, unlike with surgery.
When surgery becomes inevitable, regenerative medicine may help increase the chance of successful surgical outcomes and faster recovery.
What are regenerative medicine procedures?
Now that we understand a bit more about the science, uses, and benefits of regenerative medicine, let’s look at the different procedures and their uses.