Here at Southwest Spine & Sports, we know that regenerative medicine treatments are growing in popularity due to their ability to regenerate damaged tissues, helping to maintain original function and prevent the growth of scar tissue. One of the biggest benefits of these therapies is that they can provide these benefits while being only minimally or even non-invasive.
One treatment option that is becoming increasingly common is the use of bone marrow concentrate with platelet-rich plasma. Each of these options provides their own healing benefits, and the combination of the two can produce extremely beneficial results when used with both surgical and nonsurgical procedures.
What is Bone Marrow Concentrate?
Bone marrow concentrate, also known as BMC, is generated by creating a sample of bone marrow that has a high concentration of stem cells, platelets, and other cells used by the human body for healing. Obtaining BMC is a simple, minimally invasive process. A needle is inserted into the top of the hip bone after the surrounding area has been numbed.
Then, bone marrow is withdrawn, and the sample is centrifuged to separate the various components. Much of the red blood cell volume is removed, providing a more concentrated sample that can be used in regenerative therapies.
The stem cells have the ability to create new tissue to replace damaged cells, and they are able to differentiate into a wide range of different types of tissue, allowing them to be effective in all areas of the body. BMC includes a number of different growth factors as well, which all play various roles in the healing process.
Some of these growth factors help to promote blood flow and the growth of new blood vessels in damaged tissues, others work to reduce chronic inflammation levels and scar tissue buildup, and some work to improve cellular communication to speed up the rebuilding and healing process.
What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is prepared in a similar manner to BMC, but it is derived from a person’s blood instead of their bone marrow. Once a blood sample is drawn and centrifuged, the plasma portion of the blood is isolated. This plasma sample is then centrifuged again, which separates the platelet-rich plasma from the platelet poor plasma. The platelet-rich plasma is then isolated to be utilized in various treatments.
PRP is packed with tons of growth factors and contains a higher percentage of growth factors than BMC. Together, these two products are able to work in tandem to improve tissue healing substantially. The growth factors help to improve the effectiveness of the stem cells, which are primarily responsible for new tissue growth.
How BMC and PRP Work with Other Treatments
PRP and BMC have been used in many different medical scenarios and for treating a variety of different injuries. One study noted that using PRP in conjunction with BMC allowed the stem cells to migrate and activate more quickly after an injection than if PRP was not utilized. This also helped to reduce overall inflammation and pain.
Another study looked at the effects of BMC and PRP on bone grafting. They found that bone regenerated much more quickly with both of these substances than it did with either BMC or PRP alone. Another study provided similar results, comparing a bone graft for the lumbar spine by itself compared to one administered with PRP and BMC. Good fusion was seen in four out of the 10 patients who received the allograft alone. However, when the PRP and BMC were added, nine out of 10 patients showed good fusions.
BMC and PRP have also been shown to be effective in ACL reconstruction surgeries. Researchers examined the difference between tendon-bone healing in ACL reconstructions both with and without this combination treatment. After two weeks, researchers found that the PRP/BMC group showed higher amounts of new tissue formation and the tissue that had formed had a larger load capacity. They concluded that BMC and PRP treatments helped to increase healed tissue functionality and significantly sped up the healing process.
PRP therapy continues to be combined with BMC, and these two therapies are being used in tandem in a number of different regenerative medicine treatments. Promising results have been seen treating cartilage injuries, bone injuries, tendon injuries, and more. The ability of this therapy combination to regenerate tissue shows a lot of promise and will most definitely see an increased role in medical treatments in the near future.
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