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Does Regenerative Medicine Really Work?

February 10, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — valleysports @ 12:33 pm
doctor holding syringe with PRP

One of the fastest-growing areas in medical science is the study and application of regenerative medicine, in which cells, biomaterials, and molecules are used to help repair structures in the body that are affected by injury or disease. Even though the science is promising, there are not many clinics that offer advanced regenerative medicine in the US, and most treatments aren’t covered by insurance. So this begs the question—does regenerative medicine actually work? If you’re injured and don’t like the results you’re getting with conventional methods, should it be considered a viable option? Read on to get the answers to these questions and more.

The Big Secret About Regenerative Medicine is…

…that it isn’t new! Common therapies like blood transfusions, bone marrow transfusions, and insulin injections have been used for decades to help patients dealing with a wide range of conditions, and each has countless studies proving its efficacy. Despite the term “regenerative medicine” being relatively new to most people, it has been around for a very long time and is used successfully every day.

What Does the Science Say?

While the above treatments would be considered “traditional” by most doctors and patients, skepticism is usually applied to newer therapies like prolotherapy/Prolozone™, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and stem cell therapy.

Heading into the year 2000, early research already showed promising results for stem cell therapy regarding treating musculoskeletal injuries, but due to controversy as to how the cells were collected, it was stopped. It began again in 2008, and thanks to new harvesting methods (in which the stem cells are taken from a patient’s own fat cells or bone marrow), there is now a more robust catalog of studies showing how effective this treatment can be for those dealing with muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries.

As for PRP, it is often used in oral surgery today because it has been shown to accelerate the healing process, and this holds true when it is injected into other parts of the body. The current findings show that prolotherapy/Prolozone also offer conservative options that consistently deliver positive results.

Why It Isn’t Everywhere

Despite the science showing the promise of regenerative medicine, some of the treatments currently do not have FDA approval, and almost all of them are not covered by traditional medical insurance. Why is this the case?

It all comes down to the speed of institutional change. Science tends to move much faster than the FDA and insurance companies, so it usually takes a very long time (along with a ton of research and testing) before a treatment is approved by the FDA, after which insurance companies will slowly start offering coverage for it.  

What This Means for You

As a concept, regenerative medicine and the associated treatments have nothing to prove. For patients, the main thing they need to do is find a qualified clinic when seeking this type of care—one that is led by a team that has a proven track record of providing positive outcomes for their patients. When doing your research, your focus shouldn’t be on regenerative medicine, but rather the people who are providing it! By keeping this in mind, you’ll be able to take advantage of the latest breakthroughs in science in order to improve your health and quality of life.

About the Author

Dr. Paul Tortland is a double board-certified physician (sports medicine and regenerative medicine) that has helped all levels of athletes for decades. At Valley Sports Physicians & Orthopedic Medicine, he offers the latest regenerative medicine therapies using industry-leading methods, many of which he helped pioneer and refine. To learn more about your options and how he can help you recover, click here to schedule an appointment.

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