Platelet-rich plasma injections and stem cell therapy have both seen an increase in popularity as an alternative for otherwise invasive surgeries and treatments. By boosting the natural healing process and wound repair of the skin, these treatments can help repair damaged tissue, stall degenerative diseases, and even improve the outcome of conditions that have acute and chronic pain. But while each procedure is an effective treatment in its own right, they have distinct differences that patients should always keep in mind.
So what’s the difference between PRP injection and stem cell therapy? While both treatments use regenerative medicine to heal the body from disease, the types of cells used in each treatment can radically alter the outcome. Platelets in PRP treatments are far more effective for cases with acute pain and less serious conditions, while stem cell treatment can give a better outcome to more serious diseases for long-term care.
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Stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections are both examples of a regenerative treatment plan, where the primary treatment relies on boosting the body’s natural repair response to wounds and other damage to the body. Compared to conventional therapies and surgical techniques, these treatments aim to improve the quality of life by providing patients with more options for overcoming their conditions.
A few other reasons why people are looking for injectable treatments like stem cell therapy and PRP injection include:
Initial studies indicate that both stem cell treatments and PRP therapy can be applied to a wide variety of conditions, primarily because their overall method of action isn’t limited to a specific area of the body or a general effect. As a result, it’s possible to use either treatment from conditions as general as inflammatory diseases to something incredibly specific such as overuse injuries like rotator cuff tears.
Because both therapies focus on a holistic approach to treatment, they can also do far more than simply treat the chronic or acute pain that comes from these conditions: they can go straight to the underlying cause. This has usually been the complication for most conventional treatments since they can only do one or the other – either sacrificing the patient’s quality of life for better treatment or simply addressing the symptoms and not the actual cause.
Stem cell treatments and PRP therapy can be used for either solution without comprising the outcome of either goal, which makes them a viable treatment option for patients who need treatments for less-than-severe conditions or people who are normally only qualified for conservative treatment.
Stem cell therapy and PRP treatments are both injectables – which means that no incisions are involved during the actual procedure. As an alternative treatment option for more intense treatments, these regenerative therapies aim to cure the body from within.
As a result, the most that a patient has to deal with is the needle used during extraction and the direct injection (usually joint injection) with the following treatments. In comparison to conventional therapies, PRP and stem cell treatments only need injections for the entire process, which is significantly less taxing on the patient.
Simple procedures like these also make it easier for the patient to report for repeat treatments, which are often necessary to get the best outcome from either therapy. For degenerative conditions and other instances that require long-term management, having a simple procedure greatly helps the provider and the patient with the quality of their care.
One of the advantages of using injectable treatments is that they’re a viable treatment option for patients who need different outcomes from their treatment. It’s possible to enjoy short-term benefits from PRP therapy, especially for less serious conditions or ones that just aim to improve the quality of life. On the other hand, stem cell treatments can offer long-lasting relief, especially for degenerative conditions that may worsen as you get older.
While it can be argued that long-term results are better than short-term results, providers will usually balance the needs of the patient versus most of what each treatment provides. Sometimes, there’s no need to do something as complex as stem cell extraction and treatment for something that can be solved with PRP therapy. For younger patients, this approach can help manage their conditions without taxing their body any further than needed – for older patients, it can help give a long-term benefit to what otherwise would be short-term treatments.
However, keep in mind that your medical provider should have the last word on what makes your treatment long or short-term: deciding it by yourself can be extremely risky because of the lack of information. This also makes it crucial for you to find a skilled and experienced provider, to ensure that you have enough information to go on regarding which treatment you’ll get.
So now you’ve understood the merits of getting injectable regenerative therapies, what makes these two treatments distinct from one another?
Platelet-rich plasma treatment is a procedure where a sample of your blood is withdrawn, processed, and injected back into your body in the form of a pure platelet concentrate. This method relies on the regenerative capabilities of your platelets to speed up wound healing and cellular regeneration, which accomplish a variety of effects from relieving inflammation to helping regrow lost skin and bones.
PRP therapy has enjoyed a long history of success in the field of sports medicine, where athletes get regular shots of PRP to offset the chronic injuries and the general wear and tear that their body sustains throughout their careers. Recently, it’s even become a lifestyle and wellness choice for many celebrities, who advertise it as a method to keep your body in good form as you get older.
The immediate benefit of platelet-rich plasma treatment is primarily with its biocompatibility – because it’s extracted from your own body and processed from your own blood, it’s less likely to undergo rejection compared to chemical treatments and conventional medications. With the variety of different PRP preparations between providers, you can further enhance the effects of PRP treatments with growth factors.
Platelet-rich plasma treatments particularly excel at treating short-term conditions like active injuries, since the response of platelets activates the body’s wound healing response. As a result, they’re best suited for treatments aimed primarily at quality of life improvements, but they can still have long-term effects and improvements that go beyond treating the symptoms of your condition.
While there are virtually no drawbacks to using PRP therapy for most conditions, one specific thing holding it from widespread use and approval is that the effects aren’t fully understood yet. There have been preliminary studies about the efficacy of PRP in cosmetic and medical applications – and the process has gotten FDA approval – but the differences in PRP preparation, the possible effects on the patient, and the full picture of long-term results are still unknown.
As a result, PRP injections are rarely advised as the first option for treating conditions; rather, it’s an alternative that patients can explore if primary treatments don’t bring them the relief that they’re looking for. Alternatively, it can also work as a secondary method of treatment that can boost the effects of the primary treatment, helping the body heal better from any additional strain.
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Stem cell treatment works similarly to PRP injections where it uses your body’s own regenerative capabilities to heal and repair itself. But instead of using a platelet solution extracted and processed from your body, stem cell treatment harvests young cells from your bone marrow and directly injects them on the affected site.
These stem cells are “immature cells”, which are cells that haven’t really grown into a specific type of cell unlike most of the cells in your body. With correct application, this allows your provider to insert these cells virtually anywhere, helping replace and repair anything in your body that has a cellular structure. As one of the core building blocks of your body, stem cells represent some of the most advanced innovations in the field of regenerative treatments.
The reason why most patients move to stem cell treatments is that its applications are virtually limitless, as long as the stem cells haven’t developed into any specific cell type yet. Considering that the majority of the body is composed of cells, stem cell treatments can be used with almost any condition regardless of the severity, both for cosmetic and medical purposes.
Harvesting and injecting stem cells also works similarly to PRP treatments, with the additional option of not using your own stem cells for your treatment. Known as allogeneic stem cell treatments, this procedure is normally reserved for patients who have lost their own stem cells due to chemotherapy or other similarly invasive procedures.
There are two significant drawbacks to using stem cell treatment for most patients – the first is misinformation. While it may seem like a particularly simple procedure, stem cell treatment requires a thorough understanding of the patient’s body and how to use stem cells to achieve the effect that they want. Some clinics and medical professionals who offer stem cell treatments may not understand the intricacies of this procedure, which means your outcome will be less ideal than you’d expect.
Another issue is that because of this same misunderstanding, stem cell treatment still carries a lot of stigma around its use and access. It may be difficult to find providers depending on where you live, which can drastically limit your options if you need it as a treatment.
While these treatments have proven themselves to be effective in their own right, the current consensus about their use is that they’re experimental/alternative treatments. They can perform well given the right circumstances, but unlike conventional therapies, they still need more studies before experts can give the official go-ahead to choose them as a primary method of treatment.
That isn’t to say that these treatments are the same – PRP injections work best for milder conditions, while stem cell therapy is a far more effective option for diseases that require intense or long-term care. But you should always keep in mind that these treatments are rarely used as the first option for managing most conditions, though they can be used as a secondary supporting treatment to boost the effects of your primary care.
Platelet-rich plasma treatments and stem cell therapy both represent the best innovations in regenerative medicine, capable of tackling conditions from knee problems to cosmetic concerns like hair regrowth and rejuvenation. For patients who don’t want to go through surgeries, either procedure can be an acceptable substitute, only requiring needle treatment as the only surgical procedure. From orthopedic conditions to degenerative conditions, it’s possible to get a favorable outcome by simply activating your body’s natural repair and healing response.
FACE Med Store has extensive experience in providing equipment for basic and advanced treatments, medical or otherwise. From ordinary procedures that you can do at home to medical-grade equipment for more intense treatments, you can rely on us as a partner for accessible and affordable supplies on demand. With our long experience in customer service, we can ensure that you’ll always have what you need with whatever procedure you need to get done.
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