What are Orthobiologics?
Orthobiologics are natural substances such as cells, tissue, blood components and growth factors that are harnessed to aid in the treatment of orthopedic injuries or conditions. They may be used to replace lost tissue, stimulate regeneration and healing, reduce pain and inflammation and improve joint function.
Orthobiologics may be obtained from your own body or from a donor. They may be administered in the form of injections or may require a surgical procedure. They may be used alone as conservative treatment or following orthopedic surgery to enhance results.
What are the Conditions Treated by Orthobiologics?
Orthobiologics can be used to treat:
- Articular cartilage injuries
- Early osteoarthritis
- Ligament injuries
- Tendon injuries
When are Orthobiologics recommended?
Orthobiologics are recommended when rest, medications and physical therapy do not relieve symptoms and joint replacement surgery is not indicated. It may also be recommended following spine surgery.
Types of Orthobiologics
The different types of orthobiologics include:
Platelet rich plasma (PRP): PRP is obtained from your own blood after it has been processed to concentrate platelets and certain white blood cells that enhance healing and reduce inflammation. PRP may be injected directly into the damaged tissue during an outpatient procedure or following repair surgery.
Bone marrow aspiration concentrate (BMAC): BMAC is obtained after processing bone marrow that is removed from your pelvic bone. BMAC is rich in stem cells, which produce proteins and growth factors necessary for healing and reducing inflammation.
Adipose tissue: Adipose tissue or fat cells have remarkable healing and regenerative properties. It is typically obtained from your waist, processed to remove impurities and inflammatory components, and then injected at the site of injury.
Amniotic products: Amniotic tissue products such as amniotic membrane and amniotic fluid can reduce inflammation and promote healing in tissues due to their cellular content and presence of hyaluronic acid. Amniotic tissues support the fetus in the womb. They are obtained from a consenting healthy donor following an elective cesarean section delivery. These products are carefully screened before use. They are available as injections or patches.
Cartilage transplantation: Cartilage transplantation is a procedure to restore articular cartilage in a joint by transplanting it from another region of your body or using cartilage from a donor. Articular cartilage is the white tissue lining the ends of bones that form joints. It acts as cushioning material and helps in smooth gliding of bones during movement. Articular cartilage damaged by injury or early osteoarthritis is replaced during this procedure.
Stem cells are the body's unspecialized cells that have the ability to multiply and differentiate into other cell types. They are present in the human embryo, where they differentiate and divide to form the various tissues of the body. They later get distributed throughout the body in specific pockets of tissues such as the bone marrow, blood and adipose tissue (fat), and function to renew old and worn out tissue cells.
Amniotic fluid (AF) is the protective media which surrounds the amnion, the sac which encloses a developing fetus in the womb. This amniotic membrane (AM) and fluid have been found to be excellent sources of stem cells or precursor cells that have the ability to multiply and transform into cells of any tissue. Stem cells aid in the repair and regeneration of tissues and can be used to treat various orthopedic injuries and conditions.
The articular surfaces of the body's joints are lined by hyaline cartilage, a smooth tissue that serves as a shock absorber and allows easy movement of the bones within the joint. Normal wear-and-tear or injury can damage and cause defects in the cartilage, resulting in irregular articular surfaces that interfere with movement, causing pain, swelling and disability.
PRP is a relatively new treatment method for several orthopaedic conditions such as muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries, arthritis and fractures. PRP injections can help alleviate painful symptoms, promote faster healing and delay joint replacement surgeries.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that utilizes the body's natural healing mechanism to treat various conditions.