Valencia Medical Center

PRP Therapy vs Stem Cell Injections: Which Regenerative Medicine Approach Is Best for You?

Mar 02, 2024
PRP Therapy vs Stem Cell Injections: Which Regenerative Medicine Approach Is Best for You?
Regenerative medicine is an exciting research area involving harnessing your body’s ability to heal. Two types of procedures, PRP therapy and stem cell therapy, are currently available, but which one is right for you?

The human body has an amazing capacity to heal, and scientists, researchers, and physicians are learning how to direct that capacity with some impressive results. Two procedures in current use fall into the category of regenerative medicine and, though similar in some ways, are actually very different.

At Valencia Medical Center, our highly trained experts seek to treat the underlying cause of your symptoms, not just the symptoms themselves. In providing treatment, they aim to take the path that helps you reach an optimal level of overall health, and that may involve regenerative medicine approaches such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy or stem cell therapy

Although both types of therapy involve using cells from your body to promote healing, they are quite different. In this post, we describe each one to help you understand why one may be better for you than the other. 

PRP therapy

PRP therapy is increasingly available and used in numerous cosmetic and medical applications. Let’s first look at what platelets are and then how they may be used.

Platelets are fragments of cells in your blood. They help you stop bleeding when you cut yourself. Platelets contain proteins that stimulate healing.

When you have PRP therapy, we extract a small amount of blood and process it in an advanced centrifuge machine, which separates it into red blood cells, white blood cells, and plasma, where the platelets are. 

We then use a musculoskeletal ultrasound to guide us as we inject the platelet-rich plasma into the area you need. For example, if you have a tendon injury that’s slow to heal, we may suggest PRP therapy to stimulate healing. We would inject the PRP into the injured tendon. 

PRP joint injections treat the following: 

Osteoarthritis of the knee

Shoulder pain

Chronic lower back pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Injuries to ligaments and muscles, meniscus, ACL, and PCL tear of the knee chronic tendon issues

Tennis elbow

Rotator cuff tears

Plantar fasciitis

Golfer’s elbow

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Foot & Ankle sprains

Stem cell therapy

Stem cells are a special cell type because they can do two things. First, they can transform into whatever kind of cell you need at the time. Second, they can reproduce.

Stem cells are essentially blank cells that can differentiate themselves to be skin cells, muscle tissue cells, or whatever type of cell your body needs. They can be found both in embryos or in various places in your body. 

Due to FDA regulations, we don’t use embryonic stem cells at Valencia Medical Center. Instead, we use autologous stem cell therapy, carefully harvested cells from the bone marrow of your hip bone.

This procedure is more complex than drawing blood, but stem cells are more powerful than platelets. Stem cell therapy may be used to treat conditions such as surgical wounds, arthritis, severe muscle strain, and many others. 

Which is better? 

PRP therapy and stem cell therapy are both important and effective treatment methods. The best one for you depends on many factors, including your underlying condition, what other treatments have been attempted, and several others.

Working with a highly trained specialist who has the knowledge to understand the benefits and limitations of each type of treatment is crucial. Your provider at Valencia Medical Center carefully assesses your health, goals, and challenges before recommending a treatment.

If you’d like to learn more about PRP and stem cell therapy, schedule an appointment at Valencia Medical Center today. We’re happy to answer your questions and discuss procedures in the context of your health.