Regenerative medicine includes minimally and non-invasive techniques that help the body heal damaged or traumatized tissue using stem cells as an alternative to a joint replacement or surgical procedure. Stem cells, which are immature cells, are taken from a patient’s body (typically from the bone marrow) or donated, and injected into the site of the injury. The cells recognize the damage and mature into the necessary cell to repair the area. The process, called a bone marrow concentrate procedure, can be used to help heal many parts of the body. In addition, stem cells can also be utilized to create scaffolds made of tissue, which also enhance the body’s ability to heal.
At NorthShore, our orthopaedic team includes physicians who have specialized in regenerative medicine for the treatment of common and often chronic orthopaedic conditions such as arthritis, plantar fasciitis, tendinopathy, rotator cuff injuries, chronic tennis elbow and various forms of muscular strains and tears. Patients who do not respond to traditional treatments or are not good candidates for surgery may qualify for regenerative medicine therapies.
Additionally, our team is performing research studies and clinical trials to further identify the capabilities of regenerative medicine. Current studies are looking at cells to enhance the healing of knee cartilage using platelet-rich plasma for patients with knee arthritis. Other studies will be focused on how regenerative medicine can be utilized to improve recovery for professional athletes.