Sports medicine is a sub-specialty of orthopedic medicine, focused on the treatment (and prevention) of injuries and conditions caused by strenuous physical and sports-related activities. It makes sense then that sports medicine, with an emphasis on healing and performance, would work well with another emerging medical field, known as regenerative medicine.
Regenerative medicine harnesses the natural healing abilities of the human body using stem cells, PRP (platelet-rich plasma), and other advanced biologics to regenerate damaged tissue (Biologics refers to products derived from living tissues). Sports medicine works hand in hand with stem cell therapy to boost healing and improve recovery outcomes for professional, high school, collegiate and amateur athletes who have suffered an injury.
More About Sports Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy may be the key in developing new forms of treatment for a host of medical issues, including sports related injuries. Stem cell therapies have already been shown to help tissues heal faster and more completely, often without the need for surgery. These kinds of stem cells are not the ones that caused such controversy in recent years. They come directly from the patient, not from some unknown embryos.
Stem cells have proven to be effective because adult stem cells are undifferentiated, meaning that they can become a different kind of cell, as needed. Like universal blank building blocks, adult stem cells can be removed from blood, fatty tissue, or bone marrow, and then directed to repair a specific area of damage. The stem cells will begin to reproduce, creating whatever kind of cell is needed to replace and rebuild damaged muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments, nerves, cartilage, or other tissues.
There is hope that stem cell therapy may become an effective treatment for more than just sports medicine, too. Stem cell therapy may offer new hope for patients with neurological and degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease, and others. Someday stem cells may be used to help repair damaged organs like the heart and lungs, or to replace nonfunctioning pancreatic cells to help treat or even cure diabetes.
Professional athletes are often ideal candidates for stem cell treatments. A typical example would be a player with a torn meniscus, which is notorious for slow healing due to a limited blood supply. In such cases, the surgeon may choose to repair the meniscus arthroscopically (as a minimally-invasive procedure), and then add previously collected and concentrated stem cells directly to the damaged tissue.
Because the stem cells are harvested directly from the body of the patient, there is no chance of rejection or outside infection. The activated stem cells flood the area, creating a natural healing cascade. Benefits of stem cell therapy may include:
- Faster healing
- Renewable source for replacement tissues and organs
- Improved patient outcomes
- Reduced inflammation
New horizons of treatment are coming into view every day with sports medicine and stem cell therapies. If you would like to know more about leading edge sports medicine and stem cell therapy treatments available at Tarpon Orthopedics, or to schedule an appointment with one of our highly qualified providers, please call 9725961059 or request an appointment online.