The study of a medical student

Now is an exciting time to be an orthopedic physician as more and more innovative methods become available to help patients restore their bodies after an injury or condition. One of the most game-changing of these methods is known as “orthobiologics.” What are orthobiologic solutions, and how can they be used to help you?

At OAA Orthopedic Specialists, we want our patients to be aware of all the cutting-edge treatment options available to make their recovery smoother and more effective. Here’s what everyone should know about orthobiologics:

How It Works

The process behind orthobiologics actually begins with your own body. When you sustain an injury -- even a minor one, like a cut or scratch -- your body immediately begins calling on new cells to help repair the damage. A specific protein known as a “growth factor” stimulates the growth of whichever type of cell is needed to heal the affected tissue or cartilage. Some of these cells will be stem cells, which have the unique ability to become any type of cell. This makes them invaluable to the healing process.

The field of orthobiologics harnesses that natural healing power. During orthobiologic treatment, your doctor will collect blood or bone marrow from your body, isolate the healing factors, and then re-inject the concentrate into your affected area. We can significantly accelerate that healing process by directly placing an optimized, concentrated version of your body’s natural healing material.

PRP Therapy and BMAC

While this is the overall concept behind orthobiologics, there are several types of therapies that fall under the orthobiologics umbrella, each with its own applications and benefits. At OAA, we offer two common orthobiologic therapies:

  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): During PRP therapy, your doctor will draw your own (autologous) blood, which will then be spun in a sterile centrifuge to concentrate the clot-forming platelets from the blood with or without white blood cells. The platelets will be separated and concentrated from the rest of the plasma. Then, your doctor will reinject the sample into your affected tissue, stimulating the healing process. PRP can be used for both acute injuries and chronic musculoskeletal pain.
  • Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC): The process behind BMAC injections (also known as 'bone marrow therapy') is similar to PRP, but instead of plasma, BMAC focuses on mesenchymal stem cells found naturally in your own (autologous) bone marrow to promote the healing process. Bone marrow is aspirated and then spun in the sterile centrifuge, and the concentrate is injected into the problem area. Bone marrow contains stem cells that can turn into different types of cells in the body, such as cartilage cells, bone cells, or fat cells. BMAC is particularly useful for tears and cartilage damage. It is commonly used to treat arthritic joints like the knees, hips, shoulders, etc.

How Orthobiologics Can Help

The team of board-certified orthopedic and sports medicine specialists at OAA utilizes orthobiologics to treat a wide range of conditions. We also use orthobiologics to support other treatments, as well as to aid in recovery from injuries and certain surgeries.

Some of the most common applications we find for orthobioloics at OAA include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spine / Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Tendinopathies (shoulder, hip, elbow, knee, etc.)
  • Acute ligament injuries (ankle, knee sprains)

The Difference Orthobiologics Can Make

One of the most exciting aspects of orthobiologic solutions is their ability to improve recovery outcomes for our patients and, in some cases, potentially even avoid a need for surgery. Patients who have utilized PRP or BMAC as part of their treatment plan tend to show significantly quicker progress in their recovery with less pain, cost, and hospital time than those who do not. Because orthobiologics have such a broad application, we’re able to offer this support to a wide range of patients with a variety of conditions and injuries.

Orthobiologics is a growing field, and we understand you may have more questions. At OAA, our fellowship-trained, board-certified team is highly trained in the use of orthobiologic solutions, and we’re happy to discuss your possibilities further with you.

At OAA, we’re proud to have board-certified orthopedists who are experienced in the broad application of PRP and BMAC. If you’re ready to start finding relief, schedule your appointment with OAA today or call (610) 973-6200 for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if orthobiologic therapies are right for me?  

Orthobiologic therapies, such as stem cell treatments and regenerative medicine injections, can be highly beneficial for a wide range of conditions and injuries. If other treatment options like anti-inflammatory medications or certain types of physical therapy have not worked for you in the past, orthobiologics could be a viable alternative worth considering. Please consult with your orthopedic specialist at OAA Orthopedic Specialists to determine if you are a suitable candidate for these treatments.

How does stem cell therapy work in orthobiologics?

Stem cell therapy is a type of orthobiologic treatment that utilizes the body's own stem cells to stimulate healing. These stem cells can transform into different types of cells, such as cartilage cells, bone cells, or fat cells, and can be injected into an affected area to promote tissue regeneration and repair. This process is known as regenerative medicine and has shown promising results in treating conditions such as osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal injuries.

Is orthobiologics a replacement for surgery?

Orthobiologic therapies are not intended to be a replacement for surgery, but rather can be used to support other treatments or aid in recovery from injuries or surgeries. In some cases, orthobiologics may even help patients avoid the need for surgery altogether. However, each patient and condition is unique, so it's best to consult with your orthopedic specialist at OAA to determine the best course of treatment for you.