Science has come a long way in helping us improve the quality of our lives and even extend our lives far beyond previous expectations. New and innovative technologies are gaining popularity and notoriety throughout the medical field. Options such as stem cell therapy and PRP treatment are now available for many people to utilize.
The Difference Between PRP vs. Stem Cell Therapy
PRP and stem cell therapy are two different treatment plans, but they are often conflated or assumed to be the same. However, fully understanding the difference between PRP vs. stem cell therapy requires one to have a bit of information. So, if PRP treatment is not the same as stem cell therapy, then what is it?
PRP Treatment Defined
PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. PRP treatment is a therapeutic method that shares a great deal of similarities with stem cell therapy, but is its own method entirely. Platelet-rich plasma or PRP treatment is actually a type of regenerative healing based on the knowledge that your body is capable of healing itself. It’s true: with some extra help and amplification, the natural growth of tissue in your body has tremendous healing capacity.
The benefits of PRP treatment are myriad. PRP treatment helps cells to repair, which relieves inflammation and reduces pain for many patients. PRP treatment can be helpful for people with arthritis or even for people with sports injuries or other acute injuries. PRP can even be an alternative to surgery in many cases.
In terms of the actual PRP procedure, there are four stages. When your doctor has decided a PRP treatment is the best course of action for you, they will:
- Begin the process by drawing some blood.
- Take the blood and spin it in a device called a centrifuge.
- Separate the blood’s components and isolate the platelets.
- Reinsert the platelet-rich blood back into the body at the site of pain or injury.
Stem Cell Therapy Defined
Stem cell therapy refers to the extraction of stem cells from the body followed by the reinsertion of them into a point of injury or pain. The cells used are called “master cells”. They are cells that are unassigned, and they can actually develop into different types of cells. They can even replace damaged cells throughout your body. Like PRP, stem cell therapy is a relatively simple procedure and, compared to surgery, it is much less invasive for the patient.
However, stem cell therapy is considered controversial by some. There is no doubt that it is a faction of medicine that is frequently misunderstood and, as such, it can get a bad reputation from politicians and decision-makers. However, scientists and those in the medical field are prone to believe that stem cell therapy is a wonderful advancement in healing practices.
Let’s back up for a moment though. To understand PRP vs. stem cell therapy, it is also useful to know exactly what some of these terms even mean!
- Plasma – refers to the liquid portion of your blood. It is made up of water and proteins for the most part. Plasma is a vehicle for red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to circulate through the bloodstream. Many of you will be familiar with red and white blood cells, but you may not have heard the term platelet before.
- Platelet – can also be called a thrombocyte. It is a blood cell that causes blood clots and other growth that facilitates healing in the body. Platelets have proteins and cytokines that aid in the healing of bone and soft tissue in the body. The activation of platelets is a major player in the body’s healing process. So, as you can imagine, when that process is aided and amplified the results can be extremely therapeutic to patients.
- Stem Cell – grows inside your bone marrow. It serves as part of your body’s repair system. There are two main types of stem cells: embryonic and adult stem cells.
Both PRP and stem cell therapy are treatments that help with the regeneration of damaged tissue in the body. PRP is different from stem cell therapy, however, and is best used for treatments dealing with acute pain and less severe injuries. Although PRP and stem cell therapy are different treatments, they can be used in combination to provide more effective results. For example, PRP treatment can be used as a follow up to stem cell therapy.
PRP and stem cell therapy are different types of medical treatments that can help with a range of problems in the body. Tendonitis, rotator cuff tears, spinal conditions, arthritis in joints, overuse injuries, and inflammation due to a herniated disc are several of the ailments that PRP and stem cell therapy can treat effectively.
A major benefit to both PRP treatment and stem cell therapy is that they often replace the need for surgery to handle pain issues and injuries. Rather than undergoing invasive surgery for knee, back, or shoulder problems, many patients are able to benefit from PRP and stem cell therapy. The recovery time for surgery can be many weeks, however, with PRP and stem cell therapy, patients can recover within days.