A branch of medical sciences that manufactures and finds new methods to repair, replace or regrow diseased and damaged cells or organs, is known as regenerative medicine. This interdisciplinary field seeks to help patients within the medical environments restore the full functionality of their bodies and is one of the few revolutionary treatments in the medical sector to date. Let’s see about regenerative medicine for sports injuries in this post.
What’s Involved in Regenerative Medicine
This methodology involves a few complex processes, however, the main concern is to do with the transplant of stem cells to stimulate the body’s repair mechanisms. These cells act as the delivery system for cytokines and genes.
There are a few disciplines within this field, and each one promotes this stem cell research, namely:
- Cellular Therapeutics
- Gene Therapy
- Biomaterials (matrices and scaffolds)
- Development Cell Biology
- Tissue Engineering
As you can see the central focus on this type of therapy is the human cell.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
Plasma and Blood platelets in the body can help to facilitate healing and especially in sports injuries, it is used to repair lots of different things within the body. PRP is injected during surgery and is made from the blood taken from the individual using a centrifuge method. Not all are the same, however, and as such can be used for various purposes such as the create anesthetics such as lidocaine.
Stem Cell Treatments
When you think about a stem cell, knowing that it does not serve a specific purpose in the body is one thing, however, the fact that it can develop into one that has a purpose is what makes this idea lucrative. It can develop into a fullyfunctioning cell, fit for any purpose and this could mean it could turn into a tendon cell or a cartilage cell.
The ingenuity of this process has been used multiple times, successfully, within the sports industry: https://www.sports-health.com/treatment/regenerative-medicine/types-regenerative-medicine-sports-injuries mainly because of the transformation they can do to fit into organ inside the human body.
For instance, when these stem cells are inserted in an area of damage such as an Achilles tendon they develop healthy tendon cells to replace the damaged ones. These cells are usually collected from the recipient themselves, from various parts of the body like their bone marrow, blood or fat, while some companies are vendors for them derived from cordtissue, placenta and amniotic fluid. However stringent storage procedures need to be met, or else they could die and become unproductive.
When someone gets injured, one of the main things that happen in the body is inflammation. This increases blood flow to specific areas and many different cells attract blood flow to the region. These cells include monocytes, macrophages, granulocytes and fibroblasts which heal and repair damaged cells. During the process of Prolotherapy, the doctor would introduce an irritant to the injury which increases inflammation on a temporary basis, which will facilitate the healing process, especially in cases where there is nil or minimal swelling.
The most commonly used Prolotherapy material is dextrose, which is a simple sugar and sometimes saline or glycerine can help too. This option is however still in its research stages.
Another popular type of regenerative medicine therapy used in assisting people with musculoskeletal conditions is cartilage regeneration. This procedure aids in healing any damaged cartilage because it tends towards not being able to heal itself properly on its own. The techniques involved in this treatment include:
- The transplant of cartilage from either other individuals, animals or from the patient’s body itself.
- An implant using engineered tissues is made from artificial scaffolding or stem cells which resembles a microscopic net that holds these cells in place as they grow and mature.
- Making abrasions or small cuts on the bone, directly below the injury, which can help facilitate new cell growth in the cartilage.
When choosing the right doctor to enable any of the above treatments, it is recommended to check that they have the proper training to offer this specialization. They need to have complete format training in this area and have the right experience treating sports injuries or any other type of related damage to the body.
You should also ask them if they are using PRP or stem cells and that they are live cells. A blood analysis or hemoanalysis needs to be done before commencing. In addition, you should be checking what their success rate is and how their capability is verified. If they do use any additives or aesthetics, it is advised to check how this will affect the treatment.
Typically an injection is introduced however they may also use other methods such as ultrasound computed tomography or a CT scan or fluoroscopy to guide the injections, so make sure they explain the procedure to you beforehand. Only once you are satisfied with all of the above, should you choose the doctor to perform the relevant action on your injury, and not before.