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Understanding How Regenerative Medicine Works

Medicine has come a very long way over the years. If you’ve ever suffered an injury, or you’re suffering from a chronic medical condition, you know there are a plethora of available treatment options for you. Some of these treatments can be very invasive and require that you take a lot of time off of work and life.

At the Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute, not only do we offer traditional treatments for your injury or condition, we also offer something called regenerative medicine. Dr. Jeffrey McAlister is our skilled physician, who uses this minimally invasive technique to help you heal yourself using stem cells and your own platelets. 

What exactly is regenerative medicine?

Regenerative medicine is a broad term used for a variety of treatments that work by using your own body’s healing system to heal damaged tissue or bone. Regenerative medicine is usually considered minimally invasive, but sometimes it can harness the healing equivalent of surgery. There are two different types of regenerative medicine: stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma therapy.

Stem cell therapy

Stem cells are cells in your body that lie dormant until they’re needed in a certain area. The amazing thing about these cells is that they can basically turn into any cell that your body needs. They’re also able to attract other stem cells from elsewhere in the body, leading to an increased healing response. 

Stem cells have the ability to create new, healthy tissue in areas where your existing tissue has been damaged or lost for good. They’re also able to help heal damaged tissue in the body where chronic disease has worn it down. This is obviously an amazing breakthrough, as stem cells have the potential to heal without the need for invasive surgical procedures.

Dr. McAlister uses cord blood or amniotic fluid to obtain stem cells for use on your injury or condition. After they’re harvested and prepared, he injects them into the area of concern. You probably won’t feel the effects right away; however, within a few weeks you may start to feel some difference.

PRP therapy

Platelet-rich plasma is derived from your own blood. Plasma is the liquid part of your blood, and the platelets help your blood to clot, along with healing tissues throughout your body. The reason PRP can be effective is because the platelets contain a large concentration of growth factors. These growth factors help speed up the healing process when there’s a large concentration in one area.

The great thing about PRP therapy is that it comes from your own body, making it less likely that you’ll have a bad reaction. To obtain PRP, Dr. McAlister takes some blood from your arm and spins it down in a centrifuge to separate the whole blood from the plasma. Once the plasma is separated, it’s prepared in a syringe for injection. Much like a stem cell injection, Dr. McAlister injects the platelet-rich plasma into the area of concern.

After either of these minimally invasive procedures, you’re able to go home and continue your normal activities. You may experience some discomfort at the site of the injection, but that should go away relatively quickly.

Conditions treated with regenerative medicine 

Regenerative medicine is an up-and-coming treatment for a lot of musculoskeletal conditions. Although these aren’t the only injuries or concerns that stem cell therapy and PRP are used for, sports medicine and injury prevention are key components to regenerative medicine. Some of the conditions that these therapies can help include:

Dr. McAlister may also use PRP or stem cell therapy after surgery to speed up the healing process in your body. This can make your rehabilitation much smoother, along with getting you back to your normal activities in less time.

Don’t continue to suffer from failed treatments for your condition. If you’re interested in the possibility of regenerative medicine, or need more information, call either of our convenient locations in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona at 602-761-7819, or book an appointment with us online today.

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