PRP vs Stem Cell Therapy

When it comes to innovative treatment option, PRP and stem cell therapy comes up a lot, but are they the same thing? The answer is no; they are two very different treatment plans. However, there are some similarities. To understand PRP vs stem cell treatments, you need to know more about the science behind each.  

 

The Power of Regenerative Medicine

Both PRP and stem cells treatments fall under the category of regenerative medicine, which is why there is sometimes confusion about them. The goal of regenerative medicine is to stimulate the body to heal itself. In that way, PRP and stem cell treatments are very similar. Both utilize the patient’s natural healing abilities to:

  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Improve healing of injuries or diseases that affect the joints like the knees or shoulder
  • Improve mobility and quality of life

They are also both non-surgical approaches to treating injuries. Although they have the same purpose, the mechanisms behind each are different.

 

What is PRP?

PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. This treatment utilizes two critical components of blood to promote healing: platelets and plasma. Platelets are what allow blood to clot. Plasma, on the other hand, is the liquid portion of blood and it contains proteins and growth factors essential to tissue repair.

With PRP, the doctor or staff draw blood from the patient, spin it to collect the plasma and platelets and then combine them. They inject that solution into the injured area to trigger healing.

 

What are Stem Cell Treatments?

Stem cell treatment uses unspecialized cells or cells that are not assigned a format yet. Cells typically are specialized. For example, they might be liver, brain cells or nerve cells. They have a set function in the body. Stem cells are young and have not gotten that assignment yet.

The fact that they are unassigned makes them potentially useful in healing. The theory is that by injecting stem cells into an injury, they will become the cells needed for repair. Stem cells injected into a knee with torn cartilage may grow into cartilage cells.

The concept of stem cells has multiple applications in medicine. They could potentially cure:

  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

They may be the answer to regenerating spinal cords and healing a brain deteriorating from Alzheimer’s. The jury is still out on how far stem cells application can go. It’s a treatment that is common in orthopedics for things like:

  • Cartilage repair
  • Osteoarthritis and joint repair
  • Rotor cuff repair

It doesn’t come without controversy, though. For instances, its difficult to control the growth of new cells and it may lead to immune system complications.

 

PRP vs Stem Cell Therapy: What is the Difference?

The main difference involves the cells used in the treatment:

  • Stem cells come from different sources including cord blood(umbilical) and bone marrow
  • PRP uses a solution created from components of the patient’s blood.

Once you get past this point, there are more similarities than differences. Both treatments involve injections, for example. They both treat the same conditions, as well. Stem cell therapy is more advanced, though, with more potential applications.

Some experts consider PRP a diluted version of stem cell therapy because there are likely some stem cells in the solution injected with it. It’s up to the doctor to decide the best course of treatment, and in some cases, both are part of the overall care plan at BackFit.

To learn more about these two revolutionary treatment options, contact BackFit today.

Pain Management, Regenerative Medicine

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