PRP or Stem Cell Therapy: Which is Right for Me?
Regenerative medicine focuses on the repair and rejuvenation of your damaged tissue. It leverages the powerful natural healing power that our bodies possess and is derived from your own cells and growth factors.
Such treatments can be administered in one of two different ways: Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) or Stem Cell Therapy. The type of treatment we recommend is dependent on the type of healing that you require.
Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these two powerful treatment methods:
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma is a mix of concentrated platelets and serum. The body depends on platelets, found in your blood, for proper healing. Platelets are rich in growth factors and aid in blood clotting after injury or surgery. Injuries trigger the release of platelets into the wound when you bleed, forming a blood clot to stop the bleeding. They also release growth factors as part of the larger repair response in an effort to:
- Recruit stem cells and create new blood vessels to help get more blood to the area
- Accelerate the local repair response
- Improve the healing of soft tissue and encourage bone regeneration
Platelet rich plasma is highly concentrated, having up to ten times the platelets normally found in blood.
Therapy using PRP is great for injuries that are slow to heal or in places that don’t naturally have great vasculature – in other words, things that need a “boost” in order for a healing blood clot to form and stop the bleeding.
PRP includes platelets, cells, growth factors, and other proteins essential to the healing process. For these reasons, PRP is often used in conjunction with surgical treatments.
Think of PRP like the fertilizer for a garden. It boosts and supports the growth of the plants that are already growing.
The Process for PRP
Undergoing a PRP treatment starts with a regular blood draw, as you have probably had in the past.
We take your sample and centrifuge it in order to separate it into:
- Platelet poor plasma (PPP)
- Platelet rich plasma
- Red blood cells
It is the platelet rich plasma that forms the basis of all of our PRP therapies. Once the PRP is ready, we then inject it into the injured area.
Stem Cell Therapy
If PRP is the fertilizer for your garden, then stem cells are the seeds and gardener! They actually create something new and recruit the necessary cells to support the repair process.
There are more than 20 different types of stem cells found in our bodies. They aid us in healing through our entire lives as they work to regenerate damaged tissue, cartilage and bone. Mesenchymal stem cells, also known as adult stem cells, are found in many areas of the body, but the most commonly accessed source is from bone marrow. Once extracted, they are like blank slates, ready to accept chemical signals that will trigger them into action. In a sense, it’s like planting new seeds into the area of focus, which will then grow into a powerful force for change in the body.
MSCs can do a lot of things. They can:
- Make copies of themselves
- Become bone, muscle, cartilage or fat tissue
- Combat cell death associated with illness or aging
- Help reduce painful swelling due to inflammation
- Coordinate a repair response within the body
In orthopedic medicine and spinal injury, MSCs are considered “perfect”, because it is the only type of stem cell that can differentiate itself into cartilage, bone, cartilage, ligament, or tendon cells. Extensive research indicates that MSCs can repair and replace degenerative areas in between discs and damaged joints, providing your body with the opportunity heal naturally.
MSC’s are capable of not only differentiating into the new tissue that is lost, but also coordinating the repair response. MSC’s act like an orchestra conductor directing the whole healing process.
Once introduced to the injured area, the undifferentiated MSC goes to work quickly to regulate your immune system and combat inflammation with incredible efficacy.
MSC therapy is appropriate for degenerative diseases where there is lost tissue (like chronic arthritis, a partial tendon or ligament tear, a low back disc where there are torn fibers allowing the disc to bulge). PRP treatment would be less helpful in these situations with more advanced injury.
The Process for Stem Cell Therapy
The stem cell treatment process is a bit more involved than PRP. However, it is generally a much more powerful healing process and is more conducive to certain outcomes.
During a simple office procedure, bone marrow cells are aspirated from the patient’s ilium bone (your hip). These cells are then concentrated and delivered back to the patient into the injured area. The average patient reports minimal or no pain from the bone marrow aspiration procedure or from the placement of the stem cells into an arthritic joint or the spine.
Bennulife procedures are FDA compliant in both PRP treatment and stem cell therapy.
At Bennulife, both PRP and Stem Cell Therapy treatments are done in our office on an out-patient basis. Unlike traditional surgery, these treatments are minimally invasive, so overnight hospital stays are unnecessary. Patients leave the office directly after treatment and can generally return to their usual activities immediately with little discomfort.
In general, PRP is great to kick start an inefficient or slow healing process. But MSC’s and stem cell therapies offer more comprehensive healing. Stem cell therapy is the true future of medicine, offering more complete, intensive healing.
Learn more about stem cell and PRP therapy
At Bennulife, we only administer FDA compliant stem cell and PRP therapies. To find out if you are a good candidate for stem cell or PRP therapy, schedule your consultation today. Find out is Stem Cell Therapy is right for you.