Orthobiologics is a fast-growing arm of medicine concerned with harnessing the body’s innate ability to heal itself in the management of orthopedic injuries and disorders. Orthobiologics is a very large discipline with applications in almost every subspecialty far beyond the musculoskeletal system–in fact, things like organ transplant procedures (both real and artificial) and cellular therapies fall under the umbrella of Orthobiologics. However, this alternative to surgery is focused on delivering specific types of the body’s own cells, some of which have been processed to optimize or enhance their innate healing properties, to the anatomical site of an injury. These cells, once precisely delivered to the site of an injury, use the body’s natural response to injury to stimulate and support the repair process.
The Three-legged Stool Of Orthobiologics
At RestorePDX, we have an unwavering commitment to delivering the best possible clinical outcomes for our patients. To deliver on this promise, we have developed a unique approach to this alternative to surgery that we refer to as the three-legged stool: Precision Diagnosis, Precision Biologics, and Precision Delivery. This approach allows us to ensure that all of our patients receive best-in-class care for their musculoskeletal pain by more completely harnessing the body’s ability to heal itself, which is the ultimate goal.
Before a successful procedure can be performed, the treatment team must first have an accurate, comprehensive understanding of what is happening with their patient. This requires a Precision Diagnosis; we believe that a physician should never start offering or suggesting treatments without first diagnosing your issue, and clearly communicating it to you. This requires a comprehensive physical examination and, in most cases, one or more diagnostic tests, including x-ray, musculoskeletal ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies.
In short, we work together as a team of Interventional and Diagnostic Musculoskeletal Radiology, Interventional Pain Management, Sports Medicine, and Orthobiologics specialists at RestorePDX to first understand what is causing your pain before moving on to the treatment stage.
If we decide a procedure is right for you, the next thing we have to do is ensure that the orthobiologic treatment we provide is the right one for you. PRP injections have a number of variables, from platelet concentrations to the presence of other cellular structures, that must be fine-tuned to meet each patient’s individual needs. There are many orthobiologic products out there today, some of which are useless or harmful, that we have to sift through to ensure we are using the best products and processes for our patients. At RestorePDX, we stay abreast of the developments in the field and are constantly reevaluating our treatment protocols to ensure we are using the best supplies in the most efficient way for our patients.
The final step is Precision Delivery. The placement of the medicine is absolutely critical; even if you have the best biologics in the world, calibrated to the ideal concentrations for your injury, they will be wholly useless if we deliver them to the wrong site. A qualified physician will never, ever try to inject “blind,” or without imaging guidance. Some of the sites to which we commonly deliver this non-invasive therapy are mere millimeters large, so they can easily be misplaced even under imaging guidance!
At RestorePDX, we use advanced imaging techniques, including ultrasound imaging and fluoroscopy, to inject our patients’ orthobiologic payload exactly where it is needed for maximum efficacy. Precision Delivery takes time, care, patience, planning, and expertise, a commitment RestorePDX makes to each and every one of its patients.
Benefits Of Orthobiologics
While this medicine is a nascent field and the safety and efficacy of these procedures are still being studied by clinicians, the growing consensus is that the field promises some key advantages over traditional treatments like surgery. The field of Orthobiologics is less invasive than surgery and is done in the outpatient setting with no incisions. The risks of infection and complication are therefore dramatically lower and recovery time following the procedure is minimal.
Also, the procedure requires very little, if any, pain medication during recovery and in most cases exclusively uses the body’s own cells to drive recovery. This means there are usually no foreign chemicals, additives or implants being injected into your body, further lowering the risk of complications following a procedure. Considering that our country is in the midst of a raging opioid epidemic driven by our overuse of these powerful drugs, keeping patients off of narcotics during recovery is no small matter.
There are a number of procedures that fall under the umbrella of Orthobiologics, but two of the most common treatments today are platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and bone marrow/adipose tissue (BMAC) therapy. BMAC therapy uses adult MSCs, which have the unique ability to differentiate, or “grow,” into a wide range of cells types after being injected, to drive healing and promote recovery. This allows a BMAC treatment to differentiate or grow after injection into the type of cell that is needed at the site of injury, replacing damaged tissue and driving recovery.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a procedure during which a patient’s own blood is drawn and processed to contain a much higher concentration of platelets than would normally be present. Platelets, which play a critical role in clotting, contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors, which reduce pain and promote healing. By concentrating these platelets into a preparation, which can be fine-tuned to the individual needs of each patient, your physician is able to deliver a mega dose of healing cells right where they’re needed.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and BMAC therapy may be used to manage a wide range of acute and chronic injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. These conditions include:
- Acute ligament, tendon, and muscle tears;
- Acute fractures;
- Chronic arthritis;
- Tendinitis or tendonosis;
- Tennis elbow;
- Cervical radiculopathy;
- Herniated discs;
- Degenerative disc disease;
- Sciatica; and
- Many others.
While this medicine has the potential to provide relief in a number of different situations, it is not a one-size-fits-all panacea, and there is a lot of information that goes into determining whether or not an Orthobiologic procedure is right for you. If you believe you might benefit from one of these minimally invasive procedures, the first step is to schedule an appointment with the team at RestorePDX today. We will help you understand your condition, evaluate all of your treatment options, and choose the best path forward.
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