Avera Medical Minute: Orthobiologics offering regenerative medicine options for patients

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 8:40 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Orthobiologics is the term applied to the next generation of pain relief in orthopedics.

“Orthobiologics is a field of medicine that harnesses the power of your natural biology to heal something that’s been damaged over time.” Said Dr. Jon Buchanan

Inside our cells are all the tools we need to heal ourselves from injury. Until now, the challenge has been getting those cells that are wired for healing on the fast track to a damaged joint or area.

“Platelet rich plasma are the platelets in the blood, and those can be put into any part of the body to induce stem cells that already live there.” Said Dr. Buchanan.

Today, it’s Noah Puetz getting a PRP injection for a broken big toe he suffered at the end of the basketball season.

“Kind of just helping kick start the process of the injury and hopefully help the bone heal the best, so I thought it seemed like a good idea!” said Puetz.

“So what I do is have patients come in, I’m a sports doc and get people exercising! So people come in for 20 minutes of fairly vigorous exercise that gets their heart pumping, gets their blood pumping, gets their veins nice and big so it’s easier to draw the blood and it increases their platelet count. We then pull the blood, put in a centrifuge and spin it. When they’re done processing, the patient gets in position and I inject those platelets, the PRP, back into that joint.” Said Dr. Buchanan.

“It’s sweet. Obviously, surgery is usually a last-case option. You really don’t want to go to that. So I’m really glad we can do this and hopefully I’ll just be in the boot for four, four weeks, and then I’m ready to go afterwards. So it’s pretty easy process!” said Puetz.

Platelet Rich Plasma is just one option, for a patient who has fewer platelets and cells in the bloodstream, Dr. Buchanan’s team can actually harvest from other areas of the body. The two most common are from adipose or fatty tissue under your skin and from directly inside the bone marrow. Both procedures are done in the clinic, and once harvested, the cells are put through screenings just like PRP.

“We inject them one at a time. A little bit of the adipose, a little bit of the bone marrow, and a little bit of the platelets. The joint is going to feel pretty full because of that and the way that the cells work is they increase inflammation. So I always tell patients, it always hurts a little, it gets a little worse before it gets better, but hang in there and try to breathe through it and muscle through it. And you’ll be better on there on the other end.” Said Dr. Buchanan.

Some patients may only need a PRP injection to find relief, while others may need all three because certain cells work better in certain parts of the body.

“So in joints, because joints are next to bone, bone marrow does really well. Adipose acts as a scaffolding, so if you can imagine you’ve got a little gap in a cartilage and if all you do is put in a liquid, it’s going to slosh around and go everywhere. But if you can put something with some substance to it, like adipose, it fills that area in and allows the cells to stay in contact with the disease cartilage with the underlying bone so that can create a good foundation for the cells to grow.” Said Dr. Buchanan.

Whether it is a stiff back, sore knee, or broken toe; the science behind orthobiologics and regenerative medicine continues to advance and provide more patients the opportunity for healing and relief.

For more information just go to AAvera.org/MedicalMinute