As professional and collegiate-level football programs are gearing up for the beginning of the 2018 regular season, it seems appropriate to talk about sports-related injuries. Anyone who faithfully follows their favorite team hoping for a chance at the playoffs knows the anguish when one of the star players is sidelined with a potentially career-ending injury. In a few cases, the entire team dynamic falls apart while they wait for the injured player to recover from surgery. Sports injuries can bench even the best athletes while in the best shape of their lives, and sports-related or orthopedic injuries can put the rest of us “on the bench” in terms of our daily lives as well.
The Surgical Option
Whether open or arthroscopic in nature, surgery is a serious thing. Traditional open surgery requires opening the skin and tissue to repair damage or reach the injured site. Arthroscopic surgery uses a scope to insert instruments through a small puncture wound in the skin. No matter which option is deemed appropriate, surgery tends to be invasive and painful and recovery times are lengthy. Additionally, once something is cut or removed (one example is damaged meniscal tissue) it can’t always be returned to its former effectiveness. A return to full function is difficult at best and unattainable in many cases. A dislocated shoulder, for example, carries a surgical recovery time that is estimated at between 3-6 months. At this point, movement is still very limited, and a full recovery (if possible) could take up to a year. In the case of a professional athlete, this can often mean an end to a profitable and enjoyable career. Slow recovery times aren’t the only problem, the chance of re-injury is increased with every surgical intervention. Damaged areas returning to full strength are susceptible to further trauma with less actual force applied. A rotator cuff surgery means that you have a 6 in 10 chance of a re-tear. Constant re-injury not only adds to overall recovery time but can oftentimes bench a player for the rest of their lives.
A Better Way
Recovery times for those choosing a traditional surgical route can be lengthy and painful. However, there is a better way for the injured player (or sports fan) to recover and return to the game faster and more effectively. Thanks to breakthroughs in regenerative medicine, with advanced orthobiologics, such as platelet-rich plasma and autologous stem cell therapies, many people suffering from orthopedic injuries don’t have to settle for slow recovery times. The use of stem cell and PRP therapies for the management of orthopedic injuries continues to advance. The applications for stem cell therapies especially have been rapidly expanding in recent years, with promising preclinical results leading to the translation of these therapies into a clinical setting. Due to its potential capability of regenerating cartilage, bone tissue, muscle tissue, and tendons, autologous adipose stem cells are currently and effectively helping patients with osteoarthritis, meniscal tears, and tendon injuries.
Autologous Adipose Stem Cells
Musculoskeletal and Orthopedic injuries are common health problems among athletes and non-athletes alike. Although there are various therapy modalities, most simply provide symptomatic relief without addressing the cause of the problem, which is the injury itself. The regenerative properties of stem cells provide an exciting new world of therapy options. Utilizing a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure, the trained, treating medical professional would extract an ounce or two of adipose (fat) tissue (which most people would be happy to have it thrown away!), which has tens of millions of stem cells that can be extracted within 90 minutes. Unlike bone marrow-derived stem cells, adipose tissue has a much higher concentration of regenerative cells, cytokines and growth factors; and it is easier to access. These regenerative stem cells are multipotent, which means that once they are applied to the injury site, they can reestablish themselves and metamorphose to bone cells, muscle tissue, blood vessels, or any structure required to repair the damage resulting from the injury. Not only does this fact make stem cell therapy a viable modality for a wide variety of medical conditions, but it is also of particular interest for practitioners of orthopedic sports medicine. Due to this multi-potency, stem cell therapy offers an opportunity not afforded by surgery or medicines like NSAIDs, which is the full return to pre-injury levels of performance. The procedure is minimally-invasive and can be accomplished from beginning to end in less than 3 hours, in an outpatient setting with no recovery time. Since the stem cells are isolated from autologous adipose tissue, there is no complication or any risk of tissue rejection. This therapy modality has great clinical potential for the fields of regenerative, orthopedic, and sports medicine, and can be utilized as a therapy option for various diseases and disorders. For patients for whom no satisfactory therapy exist, surgical options are contraindicated, or just people who want to get back in the game faster, stem cell therapy can mean the difference between riding the bench and playing your best.
Who We Are
At the Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center, we are actively engaged in research programs, managing a wide range of varied disorders, including orthopedic, degenerative, neurological and autoimmune. For more information about the diseases and disorders that we currently address and study, please call (866) 885-4823. There is also a lot more information on our website.