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Stem Cell compared to PRP
As mainstream media continues to explore regenerative medicine, such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections, you may find yourself wondering what the difference is and which may be beneficial for the type of pain you are experiencing. At Remedy Pain Solutions, we get these questions often and understand that with so many new treatments on the market it can be overwhelming to navigate the healthcare landscape. While both are greatly beneficial for the non-surgical treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, each utilizes a unique healing pathway that begins on the cellular level.
Platelets are the small components of our blood which are responsible for clotting and healing following an injury. They are suspended in the liquid component of the blood, called plasma, and circulated throughout the body via the bloodstream. When you injure body tissue such as muscles and ligaments, platelets seep into the area during the initial bleeding. After a clot is formed to stop the bleeding, the platelets then release various growth factors to stimulate the body’s healing cascade. Stem cells and new blood vessels are “recruited” to the area, setting the stage for the formation of healthy, new tissue. Both of these blood components can be extracted via blood draw, and concentrated to create a more potent mixture known as “platelet rich plasma.”
So what are stem cells and what makes them different from platelets? Stem cells are your body’s undifferentiated cells, meaning they have the amazing capability to constantly renew themselves and transform into the many different cell types that your body needs. Your body uses these stem cells to replace other cells with more specialized functions, such as muscle, cartilage, or bone cells. This allows for significant regenerative potential, and is great news for those patients with musculoskeletal injuries who are seeking non-surgical treatment options. While PRP is ideal for jumpstarting the healing of tissue, stem cells are more complex and may be more ideal for degenerative diseases where tissue is lost or severely damaged.
The process of acquiring platelet rich plasma is also different than that used to acquire stem cells. Platelets are found throughout the blood, suspended in liquid called plasma. This can be extracted by a standard blood draw, concentrated using a centrifuge, filtered, and injected into the necessary body part as platelet rich plasma. Stem cells are slightly more difficult to collect, as they must be extracted from bone marrow where they are produced. Because the bone marrow of the pelvis holds the greatest concentration of stem cells, this is typically where the cells are extracted. They are then filtered and spun down in a centrifuge to separate the high concentration of stem cells from other materials collected, and injected to the selected location. Both of these injections are safely performed in the comfort of our Remedy Pain Solutions procedure suite.
Traditionally, non-operative treatments focus on decreasing pain levels without fixing the underlying issue. Both PRP and stem cell injections give patients the chance to move beyond musculoskeletal pain once and for all, without the need for chronic treatment or use of medications. If you or somebody you know is suffering with pain, contact Remedy Pain Solutions in Marina Del Rey, California to discuss whether you may benefit from regenerative therapies such as platelet rich plasma or stem cell injections.
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