Knowing the Difference Between PRP and Stem Cell Therapy

According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 33% of Americans could benefit from some type of regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine is a large field. It began with organ transplants and evolved into treatments that use a patient’s own cells. PRP and stem cell therapy are two types of regenerative medicine.

Although PRP and stem cell therapy are both regenerative treatments, they provide relief in different ways. Dr. John Regan and the team at Spine Group Beverly Hills may suggest PRP or stem cell therapy for reducing pain and inflammation associated with several conditions including arthritis. 

Dr. Regan will suggest the appropriate treatment for your condition, but in the meantime, let’s explore the difference between PRP and stem cell therapy.

PRP and stem cell therapy

During PRP or stem cell therapy, your own cells are injected into the problematic area. Unlike other injections, these injections don’t contain foreign ingredients such as lidocaine or steroids. As a result, both PRP and stem cell therapy are easily tolerated with very little chance of an allergic reaction. That’s because there are special growth factors in these therapies that promote healing and tissue regenerative. The biggest difference between these two treatments is what types of cells are used.

PRP therapy

If you’re opting for PRP therapy, your injection will consist of your own blood cells. PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. Normally, your blood composition is about six percent platelets. But when your blood sample is prepared, the serum is about 90% platelets. 

The platelets are rich in growth factors that promote wound healing. PRP can be a good choice for slow-healing wounds or areas that are notorious for low blood supply.

Stem cell therapy

As the name suggests, stem cell therapy makes use of stem cells. Stem cells are special kinds of cells that don't have specific “jobs” yet. This means that a stem cell can become a heart cell, or a skin cell, or any other type of cell that's needed. 

When stem cells are placed at the site of an injury, they turn into the type of cell that's needed. Stem cells can be gathered from many sources including umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. 

Dr. Regan uses your own stem cells, but you won’t need to make two appointments. Before your stem cell infusion, Dr. Regan will first collect stem cells from your own bone marrow.

Which therapy do you need?

We may suggest PRP or stem cell therapy based on your symptoms, the cause of your pain, and the severity of your condition. But, PRP and stem cell therapy aren’t necessarily exclusive. It's possible to receive both treatments.

Questions about PRP or stem cell therapy? 

If you have a degenerative condition that causes pain, medication isn’t your only option. Dr. Regan is here to help you feel your best, whether that's with minimally invasive spine surgery or regenerative therapies like PRP. 

Questions? We’re just a click away. To learn more about the benefits of PRP and stem cell therapy, visit our website to request an appointment at our Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, California, clinic.

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