Regenerative Medicine – Helping Your Body Heal Itself
Over the last few years, there have been great strides in research regarding regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies in Phoenix, Arizona, which harness the body’s own healing capacity to heal from injuries. Stem cells are the most basic cells living in the human body. Their most amazing trait is that they can become many types of cells, from skin cells to muscle, from bone to cartilage. Additional therapies utilize the healing properties of a patient’s own platelet cells or the nourishing substance hyaluronic acid.
Many new advancements have shown dramatic benefits in the field of orthopedics, in particular. At the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute, Dr. Fitzmaurice and his team are proud to offer the latest in regenerative medicine technology in Arizona in order to achieve the best possible outcome for our patients who may be suffering from a wide range of painful hand conditions. To learn more about our leading edge care and how regenerative medicine may benefit you or a loved one, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at our Phoenix office today. Give us a call at (480) 351-6483 or make an appointment online.
How Does Regenerative Medicine Help the Body Heal?
Regenerative medicine is essentially an innovative use of the body’s natural ability to regenerate cells in order to repair injuries, restore tissues, and maintain healthy function. Traditional medicine often focuses on alleviating the symptoms of injuries, illnesses, or medical conditions while waiting for the body to heal on its own. However, regenerative medicine can expedite the healing process for quicker recoveries and better results. By reinforcing the body’s healing mechanisms, patients can find relief from pain and chronic injuries that do not respond to traditional treatments by using regenerative medicine.
Dr. Fitzmaurice offers the most advanced treatments and regenerative techniques available to help his patients recover from hand injuries and nerve and tendon conditions in Arizona. He and his staff are dedicated to providing the best care possible using the most minimally-invasive treatment options.
Types of Treatments
There are several types of the latest and most effective regenerative medicine treatments available at the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute, including:
Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells (Harvested from Fat)
The main type of regenerative medicine performed at the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute utilizes stem cells, in particular, stem cells obtained from fat. In order to obtain these stem cells, patients are carefully placed under local anesthesia, during which a mini-liposuction technique is performed on the fatty area. Once the fat has been taken, our regenerative medicine specialists place the fat in a centrifuge, which isolates the fat from the stem cells. At the end of the process, we are able to obtain a concentration of dense fat tissue of the patients own stem cells.
As with our amniotic stem cell technique, stem cells harvested from fat do to not contain embryotic cells. With this technique, patients are using their own stem cells as opposed to someone else’s tissue. Once the stem cells have been isolated from the fatty tissue, we are able to inject them into the affected joints, tendons, and ligaments of a patient’s body.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet-rich plasma therapy helps accelerate the healing of tendon and soft tissue conditions. Blood platelets are known for forming blood clots at the site of a damaged blood vessels in order to help prevent the vessel from bleeding out. However, these cells are responsible for much more. Cumulatively, platelets and their growth factors also accelerate tissue and wound healing.
Read more about platelet-rich plasma at Wikipedia.org.
The process is simple: Your blood is drawn and put into a test tube. The blood is put through a series of centrifuge spins to increase the baseline concentration of platelets. The layer with the platelets is drawn out, put into a syringe and injected into the desired area. The injection is sometimes done with ultrasound or fluoroscopy x-ray guidance. Oftentimes, a series of injections are necessary to optimize healing. Arizona PRP treatment is designed to ignite or initiate the healing response in an area that is stubborn to heal, such as a torn tendon.
Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
Hyaluronic Acid injections (viscosupplementation) are a regenerative medicine treatment that involves injecting a gel-like substance into the joint cavity. To improve accuracy, the injection is sometimes performed using ultrasound or fluoroscopy x-ray guidance. Once in the joint, the gel-like fluid mimics natural components of the joint and cartilage, also called “hyaluronic acid.” This fluid provides an initial lubricant and or “cushion” effect that prevents pain or grinding from friction.
Over time, HA will get absorbed into the joint surface and potentially generate a more durable cartilage. For most patients, it is more effective for joints that still have some cartilage remaining. Due to its anti-inflammatory effect, HA may even play a role in diminishing the risk of post-traumatic arthritis after fractures or surgery.
Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the synovial fluid that surrounds joints. HA is a thick liquid that helps lubricate the joints, making them work more smoothly and reducing inflammation. In people with osteoarthritis or patients undergoing surgery, the advantage of replacing lost hyaluronic acid is significant for proper functioning and pain control.
Amniotic Stem Cells
Amniotic-derived stem cells are relatively new in the field of regenerative medicine, but their role is becoming more prominent as their potential becomes more apparent. These types of stem cells are not new in medicine, having been used for decades in wound care and other specialties. However, in the field of orthopedics, pain management, and rheumatology, amnion is turning out to have the potential to revolutionize medical treatment altogether.
The Fitzmaurice Hand Institute uses amniotic stem cell injections to accelerate healing, decrease nerve pain, improve ligament and joint disorders, and enhance the results of some surgical procedures. The benefit of amniotic stem cell therapy over PRP is that you are getting a much higher concentration of growth factors and more anti-inflammatory potential. Although we also offer stem cells harvested from fat, amniotic stem cells are ideal for patients who do not wish to undergo the small liposuction procedure associated with stem cells harvested from fat. Additionally, amniotic stem cells allow for our regenerative medicine experts to inject the stem cells the same day a patient visits our clinic.
To obtain amniotic stem cells, technicians derive them from amniotic fluid provided during scheduled caesarean sections from consenting donors. Amniotic fluid surrounds the fetus during pregnancy, protecting and feeding it. Normally, this fluid is simply discarded. But with the amazing components it contains, now it can be used for those in need. Researchers have discovered that the amniotic fluid has an extremely high concentration of stem cells, even more than bone marrow in adults.
It’s helpful to note that amniotic stem cell therapy is not to be confused with embryonic stem cells, which are obtained from embryos and therefore considered by many groups to be unethical. Amniotic stem cells derived from amniotic fluid are not affected by this ethical debate since these are normally discarded following birth. There is no harm to the baby, and none of the baby’s cells are used.
Amniotic fluid is one of the richest sources of stem cells and contains multiple properties that are excellent for promoting tissue regeneration and repair. The derived stem cells have important anti-inflammatory properties including cytokines that help relieve pain. There is no steroid component to amniotic stem cell injections. The fluid contains growth factors, which can help promote new tissue growth and help to call in the body’s own stem cells.
Neurogen® Nerve Support Supplements are clinically designed to replicate the body’s healing process and encourage more efficient regeneration of tissue. The patent-pending formula was developed by Dr. Fitzmaurice using only scientifically proven ingredients that improve nerve function, regenerate nerve tissue, enhance the circulation of blood flow to the nerve tissue. The supplements not only reduce the painful or uncomfortable symptoms caused by nerve damage, but help rebuild and improve overall function of the once damaged nerves.
Neurogen® can provide effective relief for a broad range of nerve-related conditions, such as neuropathy, nerve compression, surgical recovery, nerve injury, chronic sciatica, and neurodegeneration.
Overcoming Painful Orthopedic Conditions
Regenerative medicine can provide tremendous benefits for patients experiencing pain and limited function from a variety of hand injuries and conditions, including the following:
Early onset patients may benefit from amniotic stem cell injections to reduce pain and delay the need for reconstructive surgery. For advanced cases, hyaluronic acid injections are combined with arthroscopic surgery to reduce inflammation and improve healing. Regenerative medicine can restore the joint and replenish cartilage that has been damaged by autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, effectively reducing joint degeneration and the need for more invasive treatments like surgery.
Amniotic stem cells are used to stimulate nerve regeneration and decrease inflammation, while nerve support supplements like Neurogen® can improve the healing process as well. They can also reduce the risk of scar tissue. In many cases, it can be difficult for a patient to fully recover from nerve injuries without medical attention. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Fitzmaurice at the first sign of nerve injury, such as numbness, tingling, or severe pain. Nerve pain can significantly interfere with daily life and prevent normal function and movement. Do not wait to get the professional care you need to find relief you deserve.
PRP injections can be used to stimulate healing of tendons and decrease inflammation and pain. PRP can not only slow deterioration of the damaged tendon, but improve the overall strength and function of the tissue. PRP is often referred to as an anti-aging treatment as the tendons rarely heal well on their own. Regenerative medicine offers a life-changing option for restoring this vital tissue.
We use a specific mixture of amniotic stem cells which significantly improve the healing process for fractures, reduce inflammation, and enable a quicker return to activity. Bone fractures typically take longer than soft tissue injuries to heal, and therefore, regenerative medicine helps shorten the overall recovery time, allowing patients to get back to their everyday lives and activities sooner.
Carpal tunnel syndrome or other nerve compression issues can benefit from regenerative medicine, such as platelet-rich plasma injections. Depending on the severity of the nerve compression in the elbow, wrist, or fingers, PRP may be injected into the compressed nerve to improve blood supply to the area and trigger faster healing of the damaged or inflamed nerve. Regenerative medicine may be an ideal alternative to surgically cutting into the tendon sheath and ligament or it may be used in addition to surgery to improve the recovery time and results.
Am I a Candidate for Regenerative Medicine Treatments?
Regenerative medicine therapy is highly versatile and can be combined with traditional methods of treatment for hand, wrist, and elbow conditions, such as medication, physical therapy, surgery, and joint replacement. While many patients are eligible to undergo regenerative medicine, it is important to consult with a board-certified doctor or surgeon prior to any treatment to determine whether the treatment will have the desired outcome.
If you are currently suffering from joint pain, joint injury, a degenerative condition, like arthritis, or a non-healing bone fracture, you may be eligible for stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma treatments, or HA injections. However, regenerative medicine in Arizona is typically not recommended for patients who have an active infection, cancer, or a history or lymphoma. Additional, patients who are taking blood-thinning medications may need to discuss the option of regenerative medicine prior to any treatments.
Schedule an Appointment at the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute
Dr. Michael Fitzmaurice and the team at the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in Arizona use stem cells combined with cutting-edge surgical techniques to provide patients with the most effective treatments possible. Together, our state-of-the-art services and revolutionary techniques help our patients return to a healthy, happy life despite even the most severe nerve or tissue damage. If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about how stem cell therapy and other forms of regenerative medicine can aid in your healing, contact us today.