If you ever want to know what regenerative medicine looks like from a practical standpoint, all you need to do is Google phrases like ‘PRP therapy’ and ‘stem cell therapy’. You’ll find plenty of posts talking about things like vampire facials and stem cell injections. You will also find as many people critical of regenerative medicine as those in favor of it.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to peel back all of the politics and conjecture in order to find out what doctors think? Indeed, almost all the news stories showing regenerative medicine in a positive light include quotes from the doctors who offer the procedures. And if you question the veracity of regenerative medicine, you might wonder why doctors are embracing it in ever-growing numbers.
Apex Biologix, a Salt Lake City company that provides regenerative medicine equipment and supplies to doctors, says they have valid reasons for embracing PRP and stem cell therapies for musculoskeletal issues, hair loss, and aesthetic medicine.
Minimally Invasive Alternative
At the top of the list is one thing that cannot be denied about PRP and stem cell injections: they are minimally invasive. A typical stem cell procedure for osteoarthritis patients involves either a blood draw or removal of adipose fat tissue. The removed material is processed in a specialized centrifuge in order to isolate the patient’s stem cells. Those cells are then injected into the affected joint.
The level of invasiveness here is no more than a blood draw. It involves two needles. Now compare that to joint replacement surgery. The level of invasiveness isn’t even comparable. To say that the two procedures are not in the same league is to state the obvious.
Next, doctors always have to worry about complications. That’s true whether you’re talking about osteoarthritis, a sports injury, or even alopecia. Complications and side effects can be very damaging to a patient’s health and leave a doctor open to litigation.
Regenerative medicine procedures come with very little risk of complications. First and foremost, doctors are using autologous material – which is to say that patients donate their own PRP or stem cells. The chance of a person rejecting his or her own platelets or stem cells is next to none.
Risk is further reduced by the minimally invasive nature of regenerative medicine. While there is always a risk of infection when you are working with needles, proper hygiene and needle storage procedures mitigate those risks.
Offering Patients Alternatives
More doctors are embracing regenerative medicine because it allows them to offer patients alternatives. A dermatologist might be working with someone suffering from alopecia, someone nervous about prescription drugs or undergoing transplant surgery. PRP therapy gives that patient an alternative.
Likewise for patients looking at joint replacement surgeries, arthroscopic surgery, or procedures to repair a damaged tendon and ligament. The simple fact is that there are people who just do not want to go under the knife. Regenerative medicine gives them another avenue to pursue.
It’s Financially Beneficial
Last but not least, regenerative medicine is financially beneficial to doctors. Regenerative medicine is a cash-only business because insurance companies do not cover the procedures.
Of course, the temptation here is to accuse doctors of embracing regenerative medicine only to make their wallets thicker. But before anyone goes down that road, they should consider all the other services doctors sell to their patients. Medicine is a business in this country. Doctors have to think about the bottom line if they expect to keep their offices operating.
Regenerative medicine is a valid alternative to other treatments. That’s why doctors are gradually getting on board.