When you experience an injury such as a sprain or broken bone, your body typically gets to work healing it. But in a number of conditions the body either doesn’t or can’t fully mend a problem, and the healing process stalls. That’s where regenerative medicine can help.
Regenerative medicine is a way to help the body either initiate or speed up healing. Treatments focus and amplify your body’s own natural healing ability to repair, regenerate or replace tissue that has been lost or damaged due to age, injury, overuse, disease or a congenital condition.
What it is
The field of regenerative medicine is broad and constantly evolving. Allina Health currently offers several regenerative medicine treatments and is actively investigating adding more.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections
Many people are candidates for this procedure because of the wide range of conditions it is used for, and because of its ability to be performed easily in an office setting. PRP injections deliver a high concentration of a person’s own growth and healing factors, found in their blood platelets, directly to the injured tissue. The premise is that PRP can help stimulate the body to restart an active healing process, especially when other therapies haven’t been effective.
While the science behind how PRP injections work is complex, the procedure itself isn’t. The entire process takes 30-45 minutes and uses platelets obtained from a small vial of your own blood, drawn in clinic at the time of the procedure. It’s similar to getting other injections you may have received in your doctor’s office.
Autologous Blood Injections (ABI)
Comparable to PRP injections, ABI delivers your own whole blood via injection to an area of your body to initiate and promote healing.
The goal of Tenex Health’s minimally invasive technology is to remove the damaged tissue that’s causing you pain, without resorting to open surgery.
Your doctor uses ultrasound imaging to identify the location of the tendon damage, then numbs the area with a local anesthetic. The Tenex Health ultrasonic tool is applied, safely breaking down and removing the damaged tissue, and stimulating the growth of new tissue.
What to expect
Regenerative treatments stimulate your body’s own healing process over the long term. It can take six weeks or even longer before you see the full benefit. Keep in mind you’re not just treating or masking the symptoms, but instead are helping the body recover more fully. You and your doctor will decide which, if any, regenerative medicine treatments are right for you.
Good for treating
PRP injections, ABI or Tenex Health technology treatments can provide relief for anyone with chronically injured tissue, especially tendons, which can degenerate through overuse. Common conditions treated are:
- tennis elbow
- golfer’s elbow
- Achilles tendinosis of the ankle
- patellar tendinosis of the knee
- trochanteric tendinosis of the hip
Tenex Health technology can also be used to treat plantar fasciitis.
PRP injections are also sometimes used to treat partial ligament sprains or arthritis. PRP injections can be an option for those for whom cortisone shots are not advised or desired. It can provide pain relief and stabilize the injury with few long-term adverse effects to the tissue.
Good to know
New and innovative treatments such as stem cell treatments and tissue transplants are in various stages of refinement. Allina Health is working to bring these cutting edge therapies to patients in a responsible, evidence-based manner.
Check with your insurance company to find out which regenerative medicine procedures it covers.
Reviewed by: Robbie Bershow, MD
First published: 5/4/2018
Last reviewed: 5/2/2018