REGENERATIVE INJECTION THERAPY

Image Credit: SEMI Sports Medicine

“Your health is what you make of it. Everything you do and think either adds to the vitality, energy and spirit you possess or takes away from it.” – Ann Wigmore

WHAT IS REGENERATIVE INJECTION THERAPY?

There are various chronic ailments that are identified within the orthopaedic realm. As a patient, if you experience painful conditions in areas such as: 

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • ACL injuries
  • Biceps tendinosis
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Ligament injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Tennis elbow

You will be the ideal candidate for an emerging technology known as regenerative injection therapy. This therapy is one that involves the injection of natural healing solutions in order to facilitate the natural healing mechanisms within your own body. Once the treatment is administered via injection therapy, new healthy tissue will then begin to form. 

Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT)

Regenerative Injection Therapy is also known as prolotherapy, and classifies as a minimally invasive injection, that helps to stimulate the body to restore itself. The root causes of damaged ligaments and tendons, is as a result of overuse of the joints during activities such as sports. Healing is administered via the injection of an irritant such as dextrose, a numbing agent, and the healing agents which then take the time to heal the wounded site.

Sites that are healed by RIT include those that contain ligaments. Ligaments are structurally like the elastic rubber bands that hold bones together. Ligaments can become weakened or injured, and they may not always heal to their original strength. The changes in the healing of ligaments is attributed to the reduction in blood flow to the ligaments. With restricted blood flow, the healing of torn ligaments can be reduced and the site may not heal completely. The utilization of prolotherapy is one of the ideal means to restore the sites by factoring in the healing of the nervous system and restoring the integrity of the ligament system. 

Tendons are also sites in the body that can be significantly affected by a weakness in their structures. As the tissues that connect muscles to bones, they too can become injured and cause the patient to experience pain due to their nerve rich centers. RIT is a suitable means to improve circulation to the affected tendons, and with the facilitation of a regenerative system the integrity of the tendons can be restored. 

Benefits of Regenerative Injection Therapy

The body is designed with natural healing mechanisms that are able to restore it when there’s an indication of an injury. For example, when a tissue is injured, there are chemical signals that are released in the body, that will enable the body to begin the healing process. The healing of tissue is one that involves restoration and repair. The body will remove the damaged tissue, and replace it with newer healthy tissue. During the process there is an autoimmune response that results in an inflammation of the site. Inflammation can be a painful process that can cause discomfort to the patient. The orthopaedic specialist will prescribe anti-inflammatories or steroids that will be able to treat the pain of inflammation. In some adverse conditions, the utilization of anti-inflammatories can cause a suppression of the healing process. 

RIT as a treatment, is designed to replicate the normal healing process. With a stimulation of the body’s natural ability to heal, only the enhancement of the body’s healing mechanisms will be enabled. 

Benefits of regenerative injection treatment include [1]:

  • An increase in movement and functional ability
  • Improved muscle strength
  • Reduced pain levels
  • Possible alternative to prescription medication or surgical procedures

Types of Regenerative Injection Therapy

There are two primary methods that RIT can be administered to patients. These include prolotherapy and platelet rich plasma.

What is prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy, as a regenerative therapy has existed for over 40 years and is a method that stimulates the body’s natural healing response. As an injection technique, proliferant (growth promoting) and irritant solutions are injected in multiple areas in and around the injured joint or body part to stimulate the body to respond through inflammation, which brings new blood cells, nutrients, and the body’s natural healing response[2].

In some instances, the injections can be painful to the patient, and cause swelling after administration, but the patient must resist the utilization of anti-inflammatories. The natural healing response is actually induced via the initial inflammation that takes place during regeneration. With time, the pain and swelling will subside as the body restores itself.

PLATELET RICH PLASMA (PRP):

The healing mechanisms in our bodies are facilitated by our blood, and the agents that are infused in the bloodstream. PRP is a healing therapy that is able to utilize a patient’s blood and transfuse it to an injured site in order to stimulate the regenerative process. Blood plasma can be extracted and concentrated via a centrifugal process. The advantages of concentrating plasma is that it has the ability to enhance healing via an enriched presence of growth factors. The growth factors, as specialty proteins have the ability to improve the recovery and healing of wound sites.

How does the Injection of PRP into the body work? 

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a tissue graft administered to the body via a transfusion methodology called ultrasound-guided injection technology. The tissue graft is a highly concentrated, and contains up to six times the concentration of platelets and growth factors compared to the natural blood stream. With an enhancement of these critical healing components, tissue repair and regeneration are facilitated. 

The treatment process with this technology involves 2-3 injections every 6-8 weeks. The extent of treatment is individual to persons. Many people do experience improvements after two treatments with PRP. With all treatments, the enhancement of the treatment can be achieved via the utilization of optimal nutrition and appropriate physical exercise.

The Regenerative Injection Therapy Process

The regenerative injection therapy process is usually administered via a specialist such as a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon. The doctor will apply a local anaesthetic in order to numb the site, prior to the administration of the injection. 

Once the anaesthetic has worn off, as a patient, you will experience small amounts of pain or soreness. Minimize strenuous activity immediately during your treatment in order to ensure that you are allowing the body to regenerate in an undisturbed state. You may experience slight discomfort for up to five days after the treatment. Where possible, apply heat or ice, and utilize a mild painkiller such as acetaminophen. 

During the recovery process, your doctor will formulate an appropriate pain management and healing plan that will enable you to ease into your normal routine, or even restore physical activity. Take good care during the healing process, as the absence of pain is not an indication that the tissues or ligaments have completely healed. Incrementally increase your workouts, and after the five week mark, you may be allowed to return to your normal exercise routine, according to your doctor’s permission.

References:

  1. UPMC: https://www.upmc.com/services/rehab/physical-medicine-rehab/treatments/regenerative-injection-therapy
  2. RiodanClinic: https://riordanclinic.org/what-we-do/regenerative-injection-therapy/
  3. What to Expect After RIT: https://www.semisportmed.com/what-to-expect-after-regenerative-injection-therapy/

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

Leave a comment

Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

Copyright © 2020 orthopaedic-surgeon.com.au