Regenerative medicine is a way to help the body either begin or speed up healing. Treatments are intended to 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.
When you experience an injury such as a sprain or broken bone, your body typically gets to work healing it. But for some conditions, the body doesn’t fully mend a problem, and the healing process stalls. That’s where regenerative medicine can help, using advanced treatments like platelet rich plasma injections or stem cell therapy.
At Allina Health Orthopedics, you and your care team will explore the right regenerative medicine options for your situation—and apply them with your whole health in mind.
What is regenerative medicine?
The field of regenerative medicine is broad, and advancements are happening all the time. Allina Health Orthopedics currently offers several types of 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. PRP injections can be an option when cortisone shots are not advised. The treatment can provide pain relief and stabilize the injury with few long-term adverse effects to the tissue.
While the science behind how PRP injections work is complex, the procedure itself isn’t. The entire process takes 30-45 minutes and uses a small vial of the patient’s own blood, drawn in clinic at the time of the procedure.
- 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.
- Tenex Health (Minimally Invasive Tendon Repair): Minimally invasive tendon repair uses ultrasound imaging technology to identify and remove damaged tissue causing you pain. Your doctor may recommend the procedure as a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery.
Your doctor uses ultrasound imaging to identify the location of the tendon damage, then numbs the area with a local anesthetic. Your doctor will use imaging to identify the location of the tendon damage and numb the area with local anesthetic. The tendon is then repaired to safely break down and remove the damaged, stimulating the growth of new tissue.
- Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) therapy: MSCs are an important part of the musculoskeletal system because they can rebuild cartilage and bone.
Your doctor may use MSCs to treat knee osteoarthritis and joint cartilage damage. MSCs are drawn from your specialized connective tissues or bone marrow and can be injected at the site of an injury. This minimally invasive procedure can promote a healing environment, alleviate pain and shorten recovery time.
What to expect
Regenerative treatments aren’t instantaneous. 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 care team will decide whether regenerative medicine treatments are right for you.
Good for treating
PRP, ABI, Tenex Health or MSC treatments can provide relief for anyone with chronically injured tissue. One or several regenerative medicine therapies may be indicated for your condition; your doctor will discuss which option is most appropriate. Common conditions treated are:
- degenerative arthritis
- cartilage lesions
- tennis elbow
- golfer’s elbow
- Achilles tendinosis of the ankle
- patellar tendinosis (knee inflammation)
- trochanteric tendinosis of the hip
- plantar fasciitis (heal inflammation)
- ligament sprains
- areas where cortisone injections are not advised.
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: Robby Bershow, MD, orthopedic physician
First published: 10/26/2020
Last reviewed: 10/26/2020