Both platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy are used to accelerate the healing process, especially for patients with injuries that show little or no improvement. For this reason, they are often grouped together and sometimes used interchangeably.
However, stem cell and PRP therapy are completely different processes and operate through different means.
What are Stem Cells?
Almost every cell in the human body is specialized to perform a specific set of functions. Stem cells are cells without any specialized duties, and are essentially like blank slates.
These cells have the ability to integrate into any cellular system within the human body, meaning that a stem cell can turn into a brain cell, skin cell, or any other kind of cell.
The stem cells used for orthopedic purposes can be generalized into two main categories: adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.
Adult stem cells are usually obtained from the patient and are generally very limited in the types of cells that they can transform into.
Embryonic stem cells are obtained through human embryos. They are pluripotent, meaning that they can transform into virtually any cell type found in the human body.
However, the use and research of embryonic stem cells is heavily regulated and considered extremely controversial because it may require a human embryo to be destroyed.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?
Stem cell therapy is a non-surgical procedure that uses stem cells to completely replace damaged cells and to facilitate the regeneration of new, healthy cells.
What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) are components in your blood that are so rich in growth factors that they can facilitate the creation of blood clots, like you would after an injury.
How Does PRP Therapy Work?
The components present in PRP can enhance the healing process by speeding it up.
PRP is created by a professional or doctor taking blood from the patient’s vein, then putting it through special processes to concentrate blood platelets.
The new PRP is now injected into the injury, hopefully causing the injury to heal more quickly.
Similar, But Not the Same
Though PRP therapy works by signaling to platelets and white blood cells to assist in the healing process, stem cell therapy works by regenerating new cells to replace the damaged ones completely.
In short, PRP therapy aids in the healing process when healing is already taking place. Stem cell therapy helps when cells are damaged to the point that they are no longer able to heal, as in the case of chronic illnesses like arthritis.
PRP Therapy at the Orthopedic Center of Palm Beach County
The Orthopedic Center of Palm Beach County currently offers PRP therapy for a variety of ailments, including injuries or pain in the hips and limbs.
Interested in learning more about what PRP Therapy can do for you? Contact us today at (561) 967-6500, ext 1402 to schedule a PRP consultation at one of our three offices located in Palm Beach County.