Now Offering BIOLOGICS Therapies
Biologics are a newer class of therapies that have great possibilities for treating orthopedic injuries. We do not like to use the term “Stem Cell” because that term has been used mostly to imply that an injection anywhere would lead to regeneration of tissue. These therapies are considered “off label” and are not currently approved by the FDA.
What we offer at ORCA is platelet rich plasma which has been extensively studied.
Platelet Rich Plasma is made by taking a blood sample from a patient and spinning it down to isolate the platelets. Platelets, with the other fluid in that layer has multiple growth and healing factors which are beneficial. Typically, it is used to help with wound healing, tendon repair, and it does have a significant anti-inflammatory effect that helps joints decrease the pain of arthritis. We have participated in a tennis elbow study where PRP was injected in the elbow and over 90% of patients were helped with this therapy. We also have used it for patellar tendinitis with favorable results when patients performed therapy after the injections. For rotator cuff tears, we have used it with surgery and our literature support that patients treated with this adjunct have had better outcomes. We also use it in all of our total joint surgeries and have a very low infection rate (<1%).
Bone marrow aspirate is usually taken from the pelvic bones in the iliac crest. We have utilized it to help with accelerated healing with rotator cuff tears and for cartilage repair. Studies have shown that in shoulder rotator cuffs, there is a lower retear rate in this group of patients when compared to those that have not had it. “Stem Cell “ clinics have locally used it to inject into knees but it has not been shown in our literature to have any significant advantage over other modalities that are much cheaper to utilize.
Amniotic cells come from from placenta tissue and have shown a great deal of promise. In a double blind randomized study, amniotic cell treatment is an effective treatment for patients with knee arthritis. Also, it has shown promise with healing tendon injuries.
Fat cells, or adipose cells are abundant in all age groups and have to be harvested in a liposuction type of situation. Some early reports have shown that this may have promise for the repair of focal cartilage defects and may help with knee arthritis symptoms.
Overall, these therapies are exciting for the treatment of orthopedic conditions, however their application is best utilized by trained musculoskeletal physicians. Also, since it is a new tool, it should be studied. At Orthopedic Research Clinic of Alaska, we are making a strong effort to employ these therapy and gather data to be shared to determine what gives us the best outcomes.