The medical field is saturated with buzz words about regenerative therapy and it can be confusing for patients looking to understand the available procedures a bit more before they take the next step and schedule an in-office appointment to inquire about the treatment.

You have about a one in four chance of developing a joint condition in your lifetime, and that risk goes up when you factor in lifestyle choices, genetics, occupational injury, and accidents. We are lucky enough to live in a time where stem cell therapy treatments and PRP treatments are becoming more available and more affordable for safe and effective treatment of these joint conditions so, understanding the difference between the two can help you get a jump start on future decisions about the health of your joints.

Stem Cell Therapy Treatment

Stem cell therapy is one of the most advanced and revolutionary joint therapy treatments available. Many stem cell treatments are autologous meaning the treatment is administered with naturally occurring stem cells from your own body. These stem cells are essential to the repairing and regenerating process that takes place organically inside your body every day. We see evidence of them at work whenever we sustain a minor cut or scrap and our body repairs it naturally in a short time. Everyone has a cache of adult stem cells that are stored in places like fat tissue and bone marrow. The amount of the stem cells available for deployment decreases as we age which is why as we get older it takes longer to recover from injury and heal wounds. These adult stem cells have the raw potential to differentiate into the cell types needed to repair injuries like blood, tissue, bone, tendon, cartilage and ligament cells.

The process of stem cell therapy is complex but a virtually simple procedure from the perspective of the patient. During stem cell therapy treatment, the sample is harvested from a part of the body depending on the type of stem cell therapy your doctor recommends in an extraction process using an anesthetic. The sample is processed in a lab using a regulated process to locate and isolate viable stem cells to use for the treatment. Once the cells have been isolated they are usually combined with a PRP solution before being administered to the affected area.

PRP Therapy Treatment

Many people confuse PRP therapy treatment with stem cell therapy and while PRP therapy treatment is an effective joint therapy option there are some major differences between the procedures. PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma a procedure that uses your body’s natural healing power to help regenerate damaged areas. PRP therapy treatment uses your blood as a healing agent by isolating the platelets to command vital growth factors to the targeted area. When the body sustains injury the platelets in your blood are the natural first responders that begin clotting and signaling the stem cells to the area for regeneration. Platelets also release cytokines, a protein that works with your body’s immune system response to regulate inflammation.

Your PRP therapy treatment begins with a routine blood draw to collect a blood sample to work with. The sample is sent to the lab for a process that separates the platelets for a concentrated therapy injection to the affected area. Once administered, the PRP therapy treatment triggers your body’s healing response to the location where you need it the most. PRP therapy treatments do not contain stem cells but the platelets communicate with the body to command stored stem cells to the damaged area naturally to begin the repair.

Stem cell therapy treatments are usually used for conditions and injuries that need more advanced repair while PRP therapy treatments are used to boost natural healing that would otherwise occur over time. Stem cell therapy treatments offer more long-term and sustainable results while PRP therapy treatments offer more short-term benefits and rapid response of your normal healing process. Both of these treatments are opening a world of possibility for patients who think surgical intervention is the only solution for their joint condition. Professional athletes across many sports utilize both types of these regenerative therapies to speed up healing and get them back in action fast and now you can too. A regenerative therapy specialist will be able to assess your condition and recommend a regenerative therapy plan that suits your needs. If you’re curious about regenerative therapy schedule an appointment with a specialist and find out if stem cell therapy or PRP therapy treatment is right for you.