Regenerative Medicine procedures use the body’s own cells to facilitate healing. When injected into an injured site, these concentrated cells attract growth factors and other components to the site to ignite the body’s natural healing response.
Regenerative medicine procedures can help facilitate healing in patients with musculoskeletal and spine injuries such as:
- Cartilage loss
- Disc degeneration
- Chronic or acute joint pain
- Ligament sprain, strain or tear
- Mild to moderate osteoarthritis
- Muscle strain or tear
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
- Tendonitis or tendon damage
Regenerative medicine procedures:
What You Need To Know
- Depending on the procedure you are having, a small amount of cells will be taken from you and placed into a centrifuge to separate the components.
- Using imaging guidance to monitor the position of the needle, the radiologist will inject the concentrated cells into the area that needs healing.
- Immediately following the injection, the cells release growth and other factors that trigger the body’s healing response. You may experience inflammation and soreness as the body’s healing process begins. In fact, there may be no symptom relief for a period of two to eight weeks. You will want to treat the injected area with care, like you would with a new injury. Depending on the area that is injured, crutches or a sling may be recommended to minimize use of the area as healing begins.
- In the months that follow, inflammation and pain will decrease and new tissue will begin to develop. As this tissue matures, it causes repair and strengthening of the tendons, ligaments, discs or joints. Pain and inflammation will decrease as this occurs.
- Frequently, chronic injuries require more than one injection. Depending on the severity and duration of the injury, an additional PRP injection may be suggested.
- Regenerative medicine procedures are not covered by insurance and do not count toward your deductible. Some health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts may cover the cost of the procedures – check with your HSA or HRA administrator to learn more about your specific plan allowances. Payment for your procedure is due in full at the time of service.
- Research and clinical data show regenerative medicine injections using a patient’s own biologic material are extremely safe. There is minimal risk for any adverse reaction or complication.
- Because the cells are harvested from your own body, there is no concern for rejection or disease transmission.
- This procedure is not performed in all of our centers. Please contact the location or region nearest you for more information or to schedule an appointment.
What to Expect
- If your doctor requested a regenerative medicine consultation, you will meet with our doctor or nurse practitioner who will talk through your symptoms and review any relevant imaging you may have.
- If you do not have recent images of the area of concern, we may recommend ordering additional imaging to assess your injury or the location of your pain, discomfort or immobility
- If you are a candidate for a regenerative medicine procedure, we will work with you to schedule the procedure and help you prepare for a successful treatment
- We will contact you prior to your appointment to review medications you are currently taking, your medical history, potential risks and answer any of your questions
- Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, nursing, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
- Contact your doctor before you stop taking any medication.
- On the day of your procedure, please arrive 15 minutes early to check-in and bring prior imaging results with you, if instructed.
- You will need someone to drive you home following the procedure.
- The entire process takes approximately 60 minutes to collect, concentrate the cells and inject them into an injury site.
- Depending on whether you’re having PRP or BMAC, a sample will be obtained.
- The sample is placed in a centrifuge, which separates the components in order to generate a powerful concentrate to promote healing.
- The injured area will be cleaned and numbed.
- A board-certified radiologist will inject the concentrated cells into the injured area using imaging guidance to ensure proper placement.
- Immediately following the injection, the cells release cellular growth factors that trigger the body’s healing response.
- You may experience an “achy” soreness at the site of the injury in the hours and days following the injection. The effect can last for several days, gradually decreasing as healing and tissue repair occurs.
- Avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, Naproxen and aspirin, for two weeks prior to the procedure and three months post-procedure. These medications block the intended healing response facilitated by the post-injection inflammation.
- Do not take any oral or injected steroids for eight weeks prior to and three months post injection.
- Avoid icing the treated area for two weeks.
- To maximize the healing process, no strenuous activity is advised for two weeks following your procedure. Activity may be increased as tolerated.
- Following this period of rest, you may resume normal day-to-day activities and light exercise.
- A physical therapy program may enhance the success of the treatment.
- Most patients begin noticing improvement four to eight weeks following the procedure. Increased stability and strength are typically reported along with a decrease in pain.
- You will need to schedule a follow-up appointment. We will talk with you about what follow up to expect.
Frequently Asked Questions About Regenerative Medicine
What is regenerative medicine?
Regenerative medicine procedures use the body’s own cells to facilitate healing. When injected into an injured site, these concentrated cells release growth factors and other components at the site to start the body’s natural healing response.
What are the types of regenerative medicine?
RAYUS offers regenerative medicine treatments using platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections or bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC).
What is PRP?
A PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection is a regenerative medicine procedure performed using your own concentrated blood platelets to promote healing. When injected into an injury site, PRP can lead to a more rapid, efficient and thorough restoration of the tissue and stimulate the body’s natural healing response.
What is BMAC?
BMAC (bone marrow aspirate concentrate) is a regenerative medicine procedure performed using stem cells from your own bone marrow to help the body heal itself. These cells, when injected into an injury site, can lead to more rapid, efficient restoration of the tissue and stimulate the body’s natural healing response.
What does stem cell treatment involve?
At RAYUS, regenerative medicine (or stem cell) treatments involve taking a small amount of your own cells and separating the components of those cells. Then, using imaging guidance to monitor the position of the needle, the radiologist will inject the concentrated cells into the area that is injured or degenerated.
How do you get the cells?
Depending on which regenerative medicine procedure that you’re having done, the cells will either come from the platelets (PRP) in your blood, or from bone marrow taken from an area on the back of your hip (BMAC). We only use plasma or stem cells from your own body.
What can regenerative medicine be used for?
Regenerative medicine can be used to treat cartilage loss, disc degeneration, chronic or acute joint pain, mild or moderate osteoarthritis, non-union fracture, muscle strain or tear, TMJ disorders, tendonitis or tendon damage, and ligament sprain, strain or tear.
Does stem cell therapy work for joint pain?
Yes, stem cell therapy (or regenerative medicine therapy) can be an option for treating joint pain. The treatment encourages new tissue growth and inhibits degeneration. This helps repair and strengthen the treated joint.
Can stem cells help arthritis?
Yes, regenerative medicine procedures can be used to treat arthritis.
How long do the injections last?
Depending on the degree of the injury, most patients require only a single regenerative medicine treatment. However, for patients who experience significant relief that plateaus or have chronic injuries, a second injection or procedure may be necessary.
Is stem cell better than a joint (knee, hip, shoulder, etc..) replacement?
While it’s up to each individual patient to determine which treatment path is right for them, regenerative medicine procedures offer a promising, non-surgical treatment option for some individuals looking to avoid a hip, shoulder or knee replacement.
Will insurance cover regenerative medicine procedures?
Regenerative medicine procedures are typically not covered by insurance and do not count toward your deductible. However, you should check with your insurance company. Some health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement accounts (HRA) cover the cost of the procedures – check with your insurance administrator to learn more about your specific plan allowances. Also, some labor groups are now covering regenerative medicine injections.
Is regenerative medicine FDA approved?
While a majority of regenerative medicine procedures are not FDA approved, research and clinical data show regenerative medicine injections using a patient’s own biologic material are extremely safe. There is minimal risk for any adverse reaction or complication when performed properly. Regenerative medicine procedures at RAYUS will only be performed using your own cells for the treatment.
Who performs the injections at RAYUS?
At RAYUS, subspecialized radiologists who are specifically trained, complete injections for joints, tendons, muscles and spine. With vast experience, the radiologists perform over 20,000 injections every year throughout the Twin Cities market. All procedures are performed using image guidance (US, Fluoroscopy, or CT) to ensure both maximum safety and accuracy.
Who is a candidate for regenerative medicine?
RAYUS treats every regenerative medicine candidate on a case by case basis. We are conservative in our selection process to maximize the potential of success for patients. We stand by our process and only recommend an injection if we believe there’s a good chance the patient will have a positive outcome. RAYUS relies on clinical history, advanced imaging, and consultation to determine if regenerative medicine is right for you.
What if I’m not a candidate?
Unfortunately, not everyone is a candidate for a successful regenerative medicine injection. Some patients may not be a candidate for regenerative medicine due to underlying conditions such as active cancers, blood disorders, no identifiable pain generator, previous joint replacement, severe spinal stenosis, or a full thickness tendon/ligament tear. If you are not a candidate, we can help most patients with an alternative treatment plan such as: steroid injections, RF rhizotomy, vertebroplasty, trigger point injections, or facet nerve injections. It is our goal to help patients feel the best they can regardless of the direction they go. Additionally, RAYUS Pain Care specializes in evaluating pain and underlying conditions to identify which tests and treatments will best resolve your pain.
What about allogeneic (derived from a different source) stem cells?
RAYUS is committed to patient safety. To reduce the chance of infections, and increase the probability of a successful injection, we only use blood or mesenchymal (adult) stem cells harvested directly from the patient on the day of the procedure.
Other biologics such as Wharton’s jelly (from an umbilical cord), stromal vascular fraction (adipose cells derived typically from a person’s stomach fat), amniotic fluids (derived from donors after giving birth) or embryonic (derived from an embryo) stem cells have a variety of safety, ethical, or legal issues surrounding them, and RAYUS does not use any of those products.
How long does a procedure take?
The harvest and injections are completed the same day. Patients can plan on being at the RAYUS center for less than 2 hours typically. We safely harvest the PRP or BMAC, separate the components using a two-stage centrifuge device and inject into the injured area. After monitoring patients for a short period after the procedure, patients are able to return home that day.
Is regenerative medicine safe?
Regenerative medicine has been utilized safely for decades in spine and extremity injections. By harvesting autologous (meaning directly from the patient) PRP or BMAC, the chances of infection or disease transmission are greatly reduced. Additionally, the radiologists perform every injection using image guidance to ensure the injection is going into the correct target. RAYUS does not culture, grow or manipulate cells at our centers.
Anytime a needle is inserted into the body (even for a simple blood draw), there is a chance of infection or injury, but these are extremely rare occurrences and every precaution is taken to avoid them.
How much does regenerative medicine cost?
Pricing is determined by the specific procedure performed. PRP injections cost less than BMAC injections because it involves a simple blood draw versus retrieving marrow from your hip area. We will work with patients to provide pricing information (based on the specific procedure being performed) and payment options.
What can I expect after the procedure?
Most patients will see signs of improvement between four to eight weeks after their procedure. The body needs time to heal the affected area, and it does take time for tissue regeneration. Some patients may find relief in less than four weeks, while occasionally a patient may not see results for up to three months as the body promotes healing.