Regenerative medicine is a safe, non-surgical, minimally-invasive set of procedures performed by our pain management physicians on an outpatient basis.
It uses components drawn from your own blood and bone marrow — stem cells and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — to speed your body’s natural healing process. These compounds are injected into the damaged, injured or painful joint or tissue guided by ultrasound or x-ray to ensure precise positioning of the tiny needle. After your initial evaluation and diagnostic assessment appointment, the treatment appointment takes only about two hours.
When to see a regenerative medicine specialist
Stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment are indicated for the following joint and muscle conditions:
- Costochrondritis, degenerative disc disease including annular tears, facet syndrome, lumbar spine pain, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Chronic low back and neck pain from injured ligaments, tendons and muscles
- Degenerative cartilage damage of the joints
- Knee arthritis and instability and chronic pain from tears of cartilage, ligaments, tendons and muscles, including patellar tendonitis, meniscal injuries, and ACL, LCL and MCL injuries and varying degrees of tears
- Hip arthritis and pain, including bursitis and iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome
- Pain and arthritis in the shoulder and elbow, including golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, tendinitis, frozen shoulder, and torn rotator cuff
- Arthritis, chronic pain and instability in the ankle and foot, including plantar fasciitis and achilles tendinitis
How does regenerative medicine compare to surgery?
We generally advise patients to try the most conservative treatment, physical therapy, first.
However, if treatments like physical therapy, draining fluid from joints, and steroid shots haven’t improved pain and instability and allowed you to resume your normal activities, we recommend prompt consideration of stem cell therapy and PRP therapy. That’s especially important when cartilage, ligaments and tendons are involved. They naturally take longer to heal and the sooner you can get that healing process started, the better.
For many injuries, research has shown that surgery is simply not an effective treatment. For example, replacing partially torn ligaments with tendon grafts taken from your own body or from organ donors doesn’t always help joint instability and pain. Even when it works, it requires lengthy rehab and physical therapy after surgery. Plus, the surgery itself can cause arthritis later.
For injuries and chronic pain where surgery is an evidence-based option, we believe it’s better to consider it a last resort after you’ve tried less-risky, less invasive, more conservative treatments. Surgery always has the risk of infection and unforeseen complications. The risk of complications with stem cell therapy and PRP is very low, and surgery is still available as a future option if needed.
Overview of treatment
Your initial diagnostic assessment includes:
- An assessment of the nature of your injury or pain
- Thorough review of your medical history including prior attempts at treatment
- Review of your MRIs and any other available imaging
- Thorough review of your health status and current over-the-counter AND prescription medications
- Discussion of your priorities and goals for treatment
This detailed review helps us determine whether stem cell therapy and PRP are suitable for you.
Not everyone benefits from these procedures. For example, they won’t help a complete tear of the cartilage in a joint, and they won’t work if you’re taking certain medications.
If we do not feel that you’re a good candidate, we will tell you that and recommend a different treatment plan tailored to your specific situation.
Once we complete your assessment, we’ll review personalized treatment options with you so you can decide on the best next steps.
How soon will I feel better? Will treatment hurt?
Within a few weeks most patients begin experiencing less pain, more mobility and progressive restoral of the damaged area’s normal function. They describe the blood and bone marrow draws and the injections into the damaged area as uncomfortable but not extremely painful.
After the injection, most people say they experience only mild pain which goes away within 24 – 48 hours.
Your pain management doctor will talk with you upfront about what to expect, and answer any questions you have.
Choose the right doctor
Our pain management physicians follow the protocol described below. We strongly suggest that you only consider physicians who do so, since some providers without these qualifications have begun offering these treatments as a way to quickly generate revenues.
- Specializes in pain management, sports medicine, orthopedics, or physical medicine and rehabilitation (physiatry)
- Follows treatment recommendations developed by the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation (IOF) or The Orthobiologic Institute (TOBI)
- Is up-to-date with the latest recommendations on patient selection for stem cell therapy and PRP. This is important, because not everyone is likely to benefit from these procedures.
- Only uses x-ray, ultrasound or fluoroscopy to guide the injections in the injured area, rather than “feeling his way”. This extra step adds time and cost — but it also ensures that the injections go into exactly the right areas where treatment is needed.
- Meticulously follows specialized treatment protocols before, during and after the procedure to ensure maximum healing of the injured joint or tissue
- Limits practice to treatment of muscle, joint, tendon, ligament and cartilage damage. Stem cell treatments for cardiovascular, neurological and other conditions currently lack strong evidence and we do not believe patients should be guinea pigs.
- Doctors whose primary specialty is family medicine, internal medicine, or general practice.
- Doctors who claim stem cell therapy can reverse or improve complex or chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes, COPD, Parkinson’s disease and autoimmune diseases.
Insurance coverage of stem cell therapy and PRP therapy
Insurance normally covers the initial MRI, other diagnostic tests, and the initial consultation.
Most policies don’t currently cover the actual blood draws or injections.
Fees vary based on the extent of treatment. For example, PRP treatment of the hip or knee averages about $1,000 for most experienced regenerative medicine specialists. We offer several different payment options for you to choose from.
How can Randolph Pain Relief & Wellness help?
Are you ready to schedule an evaluation for stem cell and PRP treatment?
Just contact us for a prompt appointment with a pain management physician.
Not sure what’s wrong or how to treat it?
We offer two options: