Regenerative Medicine Provides New Options To Avoid Surgery

By: Dr. Michael R. Gombosh, MD Orthopedic Surgeon / Stem Cell Miami

 As an orthopedic surgeon, I see and evaluate patients every day for aches, pains and physical limitations that result from both acute and chronic injuries. I am fortunate enough to have the ability to offer patients a variety of treatment options to help reduce their pain, improve their quality of life and help to return them to an active lifestyle.  Traditionally in orthopaedics, treatment options for patients were limited to surgery, or non-operative treatments including physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and steroid injections. While these are still affective treatment interventions, new treatment options are becoming more and more sought after by patients who want to avoid possible side effects of cortisone injections and find surgery an undesirable or inconvenient option.

Through the emergence of a new and exciting field known as “Regenerative Medicine”, we are able to offer those patients, additional treatment options that not previously available. Some of these options are commonly referred to as “stem cells or PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)”. These cells are taken from the patient’s own body which is termed “autologous stem cells”.  These stem cells differ as they are not tissue from another person, or from an embryo.  PRP treatment is also from the patient’s own body.  This procedure involves drawing blood from the patient and removing the red blood cells and what is left is the plasma which contains molecules that reduce inflammation, promote healing and reduce pain.  We concentrate them into a small volume and reinject them into an area that is inflamed or damaged.  Our bodies have the ability to heal and contain cells with the potential to regenerate tissue. With regenerative medicine, we are trying to harvest that healing potential and regeneration and use it in a targeted therapy to decrease pain, and promote healing.

However, the majority of conditions I see as an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine are overuse injuries or injuries that are only involving a portion of the ligament or tendon as opposed to a one that is completely torn.  These patients may be excellent candidates for Regenerative Medicine and what we call Orthobiologics. This is a new and exciting field of medicine where physicians are using biological material, whether it be a patient’s own plasma or stem cells to treat their pain and injuries.

These new and exciting treatment options are allowing physicians to provide patients with treatments that were not previously available to reduce pain, accelerate recovery and in some cases prolong time till surgery or avoid it all together.

Following are certain pain related areas of the body that may greatly benefit from Regenerative Medicine Treatments:

Shoulder:

As a sports medicine specialist and surgeon, I take care of a variety of different shoulder problems.  Problems in the shoulder can occur across people of all ages and all activity levels.  Pain or problems in the shoulder are some of the most common reasons that bring patients into the office to be evaluated.  Sometimes there is a specific trauma or accident that caused the problem with the shoulder and sometimes it is pain that has come out of nowhere or pain that has been there for weeks, months or even years.

Other times a patient may have seen a doctor who told them they “needed” surgery because they have a tear or arthritis in their shoulder.  Well, sometimes that is true, but sometimes patients don’t want surgery or they can’t have surgery.  For those patients sometimes there may be other treatment options that they are not aware of.

Knee:

Knee injuries, knee pain, and knee arthritis are some of the most common reasons patients seek out orthopedic doctors for relief.  Having experience in treating all of these different conditions, I can tell you that every patient is different.  They have different degrees of injury or arthritis, they have different treatment goals and different expectations.  When having a knee replacement talk with a patient I always tell them, a knee replacement is an elective procedure.  It’s not something that a doctor tells you “you need”, it’s something that is offered to you if the arthritis is severe enough, but the patient’s symptoms have to warrant it, and most importantly the patient has to want the surgery.  It’s not uncommon where I look at an X-ray (or MRI) before examining and talking to a patient only to find that their symptoms and their limitations are much milder than I would have expected based on what I saw on the images.  For these patients, Regenerative Medicine, plasma or stem cells maybe a viable option for them for pain relief or to buy them time till they are ready for surgery later down the road.

Hip:

When seeing and evaluating patients with hip pain, one of the most common conditions to cause pain is arthritis.  Those patients may have been offered a hip replacement by their doctor.  Some of those patients after being told that they needed a hip replacement, were told they were too young to actually get the hip replacement as they would wear it out and it would eventually have to be re-done.   For those patients who are too young to get a hip replacement or if their arthritis is not severe enough to warrant a hip replacement but is severe enough to cause pain.  That pain can limit them from doing what they want to do and can decrease the quality of their life.  Regenerative Medicine, with Orthobiogics, meaning plasma and Stem Cells, may be an option that can improve their symptoms and allow them to return to activities they enjoy and delay or sometimes avoid surgery all together.  There are other conditions in the hip as well that have failed other traditional treatments who may be excellent candidates as well for some of these recent advances in medicine.

For more information on the wide array of Regenerative Medicine Treatments available, or to schedule a free evaluation with Dr. Gombosh, please contact Stem Cell Miami at (305) 598-7777 or visit: www.stemcellmia.com / email:info@stemcellmia.com

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