Regenerative medicine uses healthy human cells, either from the same person or from a donor, to restore normal function in the body.
The University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine merges evidence-based orthopaedics with cutting-edge techniques in regenerative medicine that include platelet-rich plasma (PRP), fat-derived stem cells, and bone marrow-derived stem cells. These treatments allow us to provide viable alternatives to surgery to treat common orthopaedic and sports-related injuries.
Platelets and mesenchymal stem cells are key factors important in wound healing. Platelets are found in our circulating blood in small numbers. Techniques used to concentrate platelets drawn from your own blood supply, unlock the healing power of platelets to relieve pain and stop inflammation for many musculoskeletal disorders and sports injuries. Platelet-derived growth factors are biologically active substances that enhance tissue repair. Activated platelets at a wound site release proteins that directly and indirectly influence all aspects of the wound healing cascade.
What Conditions Benefit From PRP?
PRP treatment works best for chronic ligament and tendon sprains/strains that have failed other conservative treatment (physical therapy, rest, medications), including:
- Rotator cuff injuries, including partial-thickness and full-thickness tears
- Tennis & golfer’s elbow
- Hamstring and hip strains
- Knee sprains and instability
- Patellofemoral syndrome and patellar tendinosis
- Ankle sprains
- Achilles tendinosis & plantar fasciitis
- Sports hernias & athletic pubalgia
- Knee, hip, and other joint osteoarthritis
NOTE: Most insurance plans, including Medicare, do NOT pay for PRP injections.
Stem Cell Therapy
BMAC (Bone marrow-derived stem cells)
Stem cells are gathered by aspirating bone marrow from the back of a patient’s pelvis. One can expect only minimal discomfort from the procedure. The aspirate includes platelets, mesenchymal stem cells, and other kinds of stem cells used in adult stem cell therapy. The bone marrow is placed inside a special machine and this process separates the platelets and stem cells from the remainder of the blood products. It is this concentration of bone marrow—called BMAC, or bone marrow aspiration concentrate—that is reintroduced to the injured area during stem cell therapy.
Lipo-aspirate (Fat-derived stem cells)
Adipose tissue is an excellent source of regenerative stem cells. The stem cells isolated from adipose tissue are abundant, easily extracted via lipo-aspiration, and they are capable of differentiation into numerous cell types. Adipose-derived stem cells hold particular promise in the field of regenerative medicine. Large quantities of adipose-derived stem cells may be collected in a minimally invasive procedure, similar to liposuction. Adipose tissue can be harvested from the belly, love-handles, or buttocks.
What Conditions May Benefit From Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell injections are most commonly used for the treatment of conditions that have failed or responded incompletely to other more conservative treatments. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic partial Rotator Cuff Tears
- Persistent partial tendon tears, such as tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, quadriceps and patellar tendon tears.
- Partial muscle tears
- Meniscal (cartilage) tears in the knee
What are the risks associated with stem cell treatment?
Injections can potentially cause infection, bleeding, or nerve damage. Risks will also depends on the structure being injected. Because we are using your own cells, the risk of an allergic reaction or rejection of the tissue product is very low. The use of ultrasound guidance helps lower the the risk of damaging surrounding structures, or of injecting the wrong location. Our doctors will review the complete risks of treatment with you. Overall the risks of these treatments are extremely low.
NOTE: Currently stem cell injections are still considered experimental. Most insurance plans, including Medicare, do NOT pay for stem cell injections.
Who is a Candidate?
There are no definitive criteria to determine who is a candidate, but there are some general guidelines, including:
- Physical therapy has been ineffective at improving function and refucing pain
- Injury pain causes disruption to your daily activities
- You are sensitive or resistant to ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
- Non-surgical treatments have not been effective
- You and your doctor determine that surgery is not the best option for you