At the Spine Institute Northwest, one of our goals is to stay on top of the latest research and treatments that are available, enabling us to bring our patients relief from pain in ways that is minimally invasive and maximally effective. Over time, surgeons have used many different methods to treat back pain, and we have learned from this aggregation of medical knowledge what works not only in terms of relieving pain, but also ensuring that patients are able to return to their normal lifestyles as quickly as possible. Traditional open-back surgeries, which cut through layers of muscle and tissue, involve higher risks and longer recovery times. At the Spine Institute Northwest, our focus is finding minimally invasive treatments that are safe, effective, and offer patients a direct path to getting their lives back.
In the quest for the most effective treatments, regenerative therapy has begun to emerge as a promising treatment for patients who have pain caused by tissue loss or damage due to injury or aging. For example, degenerative disc disease — the wearing away of the tissue in intervertebral discs, leading to chronic pain and arthritis — is one common condition that has been treated in the past with techniques like disc replacement or spinal fusion. Regenerative therapy, which helps the discs to in effect heal themselves, may prove to be a true breakthrough for the treatment of degenerative disc disease.
Regenerative therapy works by triggering the body’s natural healing mechanisms by introducing natural substances at the site of the pain (for example, in the center of the injured discs). These substances stimulate the body to grow new collagen fibers, increasing the strength of the targeted area and relieving pain.
At the Spine Institute Northwest, we have been working with three types of regenerative materials:
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a concentration of platelet cells taken from the patient’s own blood which is injected into the area of injury. Platelets contain growth factors that may help in the healing process of chronic injuries, signaling to the body to start healing. PRP has applications for many orthopedic conditions.
BioD is derived from fetal afterbirth tissue as well as cells recovered from live, healthy donors during childbirth. This placental tissue contains proteins, growth factors and residual multipotent cells that can be injected or applied directly to the site of pain or injury. BioD can be used in procedures including microdiscectomy, discectomy, laminectomy, interspinal muscle protection, and nerve bundle protection.
MatriStem is a complex protein obtained from pig bladders, which have a composition similar to that of human tissue. Tissue and even organs from pigs have been safely used for years in treating humans, and in this case, these cells trigger reactions in the body that halt scar formation and encourage cells to return to their normal state. MatriStem is used in many types of procedures, including treating sports injuries.
Universities and hospitals across the United States are working to build the body of research on regenerative therapies, and there is considerable hope that regenerative therapy will be a new frontier for pain medicine. Pain specialists around the world, including here at the Spine Institute Northwest, are incorporating regenerative therapy into their treatment plans. With the potential to reduce the need for more costly surgical interventions and to help people living with chronic pain get back their lives, regenerative therapy is an exciting new area, and the surgeons of the Spine Institute Northwest look forward to being part of this next wave of effective treatments.
Curious about whether regenerative therapy is right for you? Contact the Spine Institute Northwest today at (425) 486-1000 to set up a free consultation.