Regenerative medicine is fascinating — and a big part of the future of spine health. We spoke with several experts about their views on regenerative medicine — and about what you can expect looking forward. Check out their answers below.
Regenerative Medicine: Combatting the Aging Process
Regenerative medicine, which allows the body to heal from the inside by rejuvenating cells as opposed to therapies performed from outside the body, shows promise for replacing damaged tissue and restoring function of the spine. The use of stem cells and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are experimental, but they could prove to be an effective weapon for combating conditions of the spine caused by the aging process.
Aging can compromise the integrity of cellular elements in the nucleus of the spinal discs which affects their thickness and elasticity. For some patients, employing a regenerative solution that rebuilds cells may restore the height and resilience of the discs. This could also relieve pain from pressure on spinal nerves that is caused by disc degeneration or herniation.
Mark McLaughlin, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.N.S.,
Medical Director, Princeton Brain & Spine
Regenerative Medicine: Reducing Inflammation and Recovery Time
I have been involved with research related to the texture of a spinal implant’s surface and how it influences the way the body’s stem cells regenerate bone for a spinal fusion. A nanoscale titanium surface causes the body to begin producing bone naturally and much more quickly than a plastic or cadaver bone. For spinal fusion patients, this means reduced inflammation, faster bone growth, and a dramatically reduced overall recovery time.
Paul Slosar, M.D.,
SpineCare Medical Group
Regenerative Medicine: Non-Surgical Solution to Pain
Regenerative medicine is a natural treatment option that bridges the gap between conservative treatments and surgery. Simply put, it’s the process of creating living and functional tissues to repair or replace tissue that is lost due to age, disease, or damage.
The key goal in using regenerative medicine is to aid in healing the damaged condition and to fix the root cause of the pain. Many traditional, non-operative treatments concentrate on relieving pain and other symptoms without fixing the underlying cause. For our patients that are not interested in pursuing surgical intervention, but are still looking for a solution to their pain, regenerative medicine could be the answer to rejuvenate the damaged tissue.
Virginia Spine Institute