The longer you have arthritis, the more difficult it is to relieve the pain and overcome joint stiffness. Here at Regenerative Institute of Newport Beach we specialize in cutting-edge stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments that are proven to help heal osteoarthritis.
We’re available to evaluate your arthritic joint and determine whether you’re a good candidate for stem cell and PRP injections. To help you get started, let’s take a look at stem cells, PRP, and how they heal osteoarthritis.
All about stem cells
Stem cells have two abilities that aren’t found in any other cell in your body. First, they can self-replicate by dividing to produce a new cell — a process they perform as many times as needed to keep your body healthy.
And second, the new cell that’s created by self-replication can develop to become a variety of specialized cells. This process, called differentiation, ensures that your body can continuously restore tissues and organs.
Whenever you suffer an injury or tissues in your body are damaged due to disease, stem cells travel to the affected area and start producing new cells to repair the damage and rebuild tissues.
Different types of adult stem cells are responsible for tissue regeneration throughout your lifetime. Some adult stem cells are specific and only produce one type of cell. However, other adult stem cells, for example, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), can differentiate to become numerous types of tissues.
How stem cells heal arthritis
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are effective for treating arthritis because they develop into several musculoskeletal tissues. When a concentrated MSCs are injected directly into your arthritis joint, they:
- Develop into new cartilage, ligaments, tendons, muscles, bone, and fat
- Secrete proteins that promote new tissue growth
- Increase blood vessel growth
- Reduce inflammation
- Accelerate healing
Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage on the bones in your joints wears away. Cartilage can’t regrow or heal on its own because it lacks a blood supply. As a result, the ability of MSCs to trigger cartilage growth makes stem cell therapy essential for treating arthritis.
Sources of stem cells
We can use MSCs harvested from your own body for your injection. Body fat and bone marrow are rich sources of MSCs. Here in the office, we can liposuction fat or use a needle to aspirate bone marrow from your hip. After processing the tissue samples and concentrating your MSCs, they’re injected into your joint.
If we don’t use your MSCs, amniotic fluid is also a good source of stem cells that can regenerate the same tissues. Amniotic stem cells are donated by consenting mothers after a Cesarean section. Rather than discarding the tissues after a Cesarean delivery, the tissues are collected, and the stem cells are separated and purified.
How PRP treats arthritis
PRP is blood plasma with a larger number of platelets than the amount normally found in your blood. Platelets are packed with proteins called growth factors, which are essential for healing.
Just like stem cells, platelets migrate to damaged and diseased parts of your body. Once they reach their destination, they release their potent biochemicals, which then:
- Reduce inflammation
- Recruit stem cells to the area
- Trigger the production of new tissues
- Stimulate blood vessel growth
- Prevent degeneration of healthy tissues
Your PRP injection is made from your own blood. We draw a blood sample and process it in the centrifuge, which separates the platelets from other blood components.
When PRP is injected into your joint, it speeds up regeneration and stimulates stem cells to replace your damaged tissues. This extra nudge from PRP is important for cartilage healing.
Stem cells, PRP, and osteoarthritis
Regenerative medicine is a new field that’s rapidly evolving, so many therapeutic uses of stem cells and PRP are still being studied. However, the effectiveness of regenerative therapy for treating osteoarthritis has been established. Orthopedic specialists frequently use these regenerative therapies, either injecting them into joints or applying them after surgery to boost healing.
When they’re used alone, stem cells and PRP each relieve pain and improve function in joints affected by osteoarthritis. Here at Regenerative Institute of Newport Beach, we often combine the two to produce optimal results. To learn whether you’re a good candidate for stem cell or PRP injections, call or book an appointment using the online booking feature.