One of the greatest things about the human body is that it can heal itself naturally. Broken bones mend, a cut to the skin will eventually close up, and the liver of a living donor will regenerate after a few months.
However, chronic and long-lasting diseases such as stroke, osteoarthritis, diabetes, and heart disease won’t go away on their own. Most of the time, the symptoms of such diseases can be managed with medical equipment and medication.
Fortunately, regenerative medicine has come into existence. This medical field goes beyond the management of disease to look for and find therapies that can help repair the human body and restore it to a state of good health.
From prenatal surgical interventions to treatments for lifelong disabling and degenerative conditions, different regenerative medicine techniques trigger the body to enact self-healing responses. These advancements across various medical specialties help in maintaining optimal quality of life and health.
Nevertheless, there’s much to educate people about it. So keep reading to learn more about the wonders of regenerative medicine.
Regenerative Medicine: What Exactly Is It?
Regenerative medicine refers to the process that deals with regenerating, replacing, and engineering tissues, organs, and cells to establish or restore their usual function. This field also involves healing injured organs and tissues by stimulating the repair mechanism of the body.
Furthermore, regenerative medicine has to do with the development of organs and tissues in the lab. Those will then be implanted when the body can’t heal itself. Should the source of a cell for a regenerated organ be the cells or tissues of the patient themselves, the main challenge of organ transplant rejection through immunologic discrepancy is circumvented. In fact, this method may lessen the problem of the scarcity of organs that are available for donation.
Currently, regenerative medicine is being utilized by various orthopedic doctors as well as physicians since it promotes expedited healing.
What Conditions Can Regenerative Medicine Treat?
As mentioned, regenerative medicine has been utilized for successfully treating different conditions. One day, it might allow for the ability to replace damaged heart valves, develop an entirely new organ, and reverse the development of Parkinson’s Disease and other progressive diseases.
These days, it’s often utilized to solve problems like back pain and joint pain. Nonetheless, here are some of the common problems regenerative medicine may help address:
- Pain because of bulging vertebral discs
- Inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis
- Worn cartilage due to osteoarthritis
- Multiple sclerosis and other degenerative neurological conditions
- Back pain caused by lumbar degenerative disc disease (LDDD)
What Are The Different Types Of Regenerative Medicine Treatments?
There are various types of regenerative medicine being used today, and they serve a wide range of purposes. Learn more about them below.
1. Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are considered the building blocks of plants and animals. They’re present in the body the moment you’re conceived. One common role of stem cells is that they’re responsible for the creation of other cells. This is done by the manner in which cells multiply at all times by dividing themselves into more than a single cell. Actually, once a stem cell divides, a portion of it remains a stem cell, whereas the other new parts may become different kinds of cells that typically include blood, bone, nerve, and muscle cells.
Due to the ability of stem cells to develop into various cells, medical professionals now use them in repairing damaged or worn tissues. Stem cell therapies have been shown to be effective and successful in repairing bone degradations, ligaments, and tendons.
In this form of regenerative medicine, doctors inject stem cells into the damaged part of the body. Usually, the process will take about one hour and 30 minutes. There are nearly no side effects associated with this therapy, and since the cells originated from the body of the patient, there’s little possibility of complications and rejection.
Similar to the other types of regenerative medicine, this involves a substance being injected into the area that has a problem. But rather than injecting the bio-agents of the patient, a concocted substance of glucose is used.
While that particular solution is generally safe for patients, the application on the damaged tissue is sensitive to the solution’s sugar concentration. Thus, the tissues close to the prolotherapy injection will become irritated.
Prolotherapy has been shown to be one of the most effective alternative treatments in a situation in which invasive surgery isn’t possible and unwanted. This technique is usually used in the knee, back, elbow, and shoulder.
3. Plate-Rich Plasma (PRP)
This refers to the method in which an insignificant amount of blood is taken from the patient’s body and purified in a strainer. With PRP, the concentrated solution is injected directly into the part that needs the treatment. Keep in mind that the solution is heavy and contains platelets, which are tiny blood cells designed for coagulation, the process that results in blood clotting. When blood vessels get damaged, platelets rush to the area of damage and plug the bleeding so the damage will be minimized. Also, a physical foundation is set to heal the tissue.
Platelets produce chemical signals in order to attract more platelets. These will then stick to other platelets in a process known as aggregation. The moment that coagulation has occurred around the damage, supplementary nutrients and healing agents from the body start to build new tissues.
This type of regenerative medicine is widespread in sports medicine where it’s been utilized successfully and effectively in almost everything from rotator cuff injuries to golf elbow and tennis elbow.
This regenerative medicine option utilizes the restorative functions residing in the fat cells of the body. Fats consist of different cells like stem cells that are capable of restoring or repairing damaged tissues.
When it comes to Lipogems therapy, doctors typically make use of a slightly aggressive method that gets rid of a tiny part of body fat that will be processed afterward. This process will eliminate fatty oils, blood, and unnecessary components, and it will only leave the needed fat cells for injection.
Similar to what happens with other regenerative medicine techniques, the recovery process of tissues takes a few weeks or months before the maximum effect is reached. It’s because regenerative medicine is based on the fact that new body tissues grow and change over time.
What Are The Benefits Of Regenerative Medicine?
Here are some of the most common advantages of regenerative medicine that you may not be aware of yet:
- Minimal Recovery Time
After undergoing PRP or stem cell therapy, the majority of patients can partake in normal activities after a few days or weeks. The common side effects include discomfort in the area of injection or minor bruising that may go away in a few days. Compared to other procedures or surgery, regenerative medicine will let you get back to your usual routine as quickly as possible.
- Faster Healing Process
Regenerative medicine is known to help patients heal more efficiently compared to treatments involving traditional methods. The different regenerative techniques, most especially PRP and stem cell therapy, work rapidly to repair damaged tissue and joints in a way that’ll improve the ability of the body to heal after injuries.
Though patients will need to wait a few weeks before noticing a difference, as time passes by, they’re bound to start noticing dramatic changes in their bodies.
- It Is Low-Risk
Generally, regenerative medicine techniques are low-risk since your own cells will be used to heal your injury. For instance, in stem cell therapy, cells are often taken from one’s bone marrow or body fat. Meanwhile, for PRP therapy, your platelets are separated from your blood and combined with your plasma after the blood is drawn.
- Healthier Bones And Tissues
Compared to traditional reactive medicines that only repair the damage at hand, regenerative medicine enhances the health of the bones and tissues it treats. By filling your bones, tendons, skin, and muscles with platelets that are concentrated as well as new cells, regenerative medicine helps the parts of the body become stronger. What’s more, it enhances the overall health of the musculoskeletal system.
- General Anesthesia Or Pain Medication Is Not Required
With regenerative medicine, doctors use ultrasound technologies to make sure the injection is performed at the right site precisely. While numbing medication will be used with or prior to your treatment to guarantee minimal discomfort, there’s no need for general anesthesia or medication with regenerative medicine. But if you’re currently taking pain medication, you and your physician will discuss plans to continue your treatment until you see potential results.
With the positive effects of regenerative medicine, it may be time to consider it especially if you’re looking to reduce your pain and support your wellness. But as with any medication or treatment, there are certain risks that come with regenerative medicine. Removing cells from the patient’s body and reintroducing them carries the possibility of rejection. But generally, the advantages outweigh the risks. In many ways, regenerative medicine is safer, quicker, and more effective than going under the knife.