From Dr. Mercola:
Orthopedic injuries can be debilitating, and many who seek treatment frequently end up getting surgery. Unfortunately, the side effects from going under the knife are often irreversible. If a mistake is made, you can end up with a permanent, lifelong problem.
In my view, surgery is the last resort almost every single time. The practical question though is, what are the realistic alternatives?
James Leiber, a D.O., who is board certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Pain Medicine as well as Family Medicine, has worked with the Air Force and was actually a personal physician to the former President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
He’s currently an associate professor of family medicine and osteopathic principles and practice at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Florida and runs his own practice, New reGeneration Orthopedics of Florida and is the first Florida affiliate of Regenexx.
He has a passion for interventional regenerative orthopedics — a field in which he has many years of experience. In his Florida practice, he uses a number of different stem cell products and techniques, which he discusses in this interview.
Many years ago he became interested in prolotherapy, which has been around since the 1930s, when orthopedists were trying to figure out how to strengthen ligaments without doing surgery.
They discovered that by injecting an irritant solution into damaged tissue, it will release growth factors that help heal and strengthen the area.
In the last decade, medical professionals have begun using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cells in the same way. Ultrasound is also used, along with other imaging techniques, which allows the doctor to “see” what’s going on inside the tissue. It’s also helpful for pinpointing the exact location for the injections.
The Benefits of Platelets and Stem Cell Therapy
Platelets are an important part of the healing cascade. They’re responsible for blood clotting and are among the “first responders” to any site of an injury. By forming a clot, they stop bleeding.
This process involves the platelets opening up and spilling out the growth factors held inside. These growth factors act as signaling molecules, issuing the instructions needed to call forth resources to repair the damaged tissue. This includes stem cells.
Stem cells are primitive precursors to your cells. They can be thought of as “baby cells,” and are found in high concentrations in your bone marrow and fat tissues. Some also float around in your blood, and in your joints. Dr. Leiber explains:
“When the (stem cells) come to the area, they can turn into the new tissue that’s trying to be repaired. They can also instruct all the other cells on what to do. They become like the foreman.
They can even take a cell that’s trying to destroy the knee, for example, and convert it into a cell that’s trying to repair.
Stem cells are very powerful in their ability to heal. That’s why we use them. We