For every doctor who practices regenerative medicine responsibly there is another who goes too far in promoting things like PRP therapy as ‘magic’ cures for whatever ails you. The truth is that regenerative medicine is not magic. Stem cell injections and PRP therapy are not magic. They are medicine.
The distinction between medicine and magic should be self-evident. And yet, there are those who give regenerative medicine a bad name by insisting that those therapies currently on the market are a cure-all. They do further disservice by implying that PRP and stem cell injections work for everyone who use them. That is also not true.
Different Patients Respond Differently
While regenerative medicine has proved beneficial for large numbers of patients, these treatments do not work for everyone. Why? Because of the fundamental fact that different patients respond differently.
According to the Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute, one patient may respond very well to PRP injections for osteoarthritis while another one is no better off after being treated. One patient may be pain free after three injections while another still experiences significant pain.
For the record, this reality is not confined to regenerative medicine. It exists across the entire spectrum of modern medicine. Just ask any patient who has undergone cancer treatment. Ask any patient currently being treated for diabetes. Ask anyone who has received the flu vaccine how it worked out.
There is no medical device or treatment protocol that works 100% of the time for 100% of the patients. So to portray regenerative medicine as a foolproof cure-all is to defy both logic and nature. And for the record, similar claims from the opposite side of the spectrum are no more valid.
The fact that some people do not respond well to PRP therapy is not a wholesale indictment of regenerative medicine. It is ludicrous for regenerative medicine critics to say there is nothing to it simply because some people do not respond well. If we were to follow the critics’ conclusions to their logical end, we would have to stop treating people with any illness or injury.
When PRP Works
The fact that PRP therapy does not work for everyone implies that it does work for some. And when it does, it tends to work very well. The secret to successful PRP therapy is patient screening followed by proper treatment.
Doctors screen their patients in an attempt to determine the best candidates for PRP injections. They sit and talk with patients about their particular condition, their pain level, how they have responded to other treatments in the past, what they hope to get out of PRP therapy, etc.
Good candidates for the therapy are then treated via an outpatient procedure involving a blood draw and a subsequent injection. Follow-up treatments are then applied as needed. They may include physical therapy, prescription medications, and additional injections.
When PRP works well, osteoarthritis patients experience less pain. Injured athletes heal faster, more completely, and with less pain. They get back into competition more quickly as well. When PRP works as intended, fewer prescription pain medications are needed and invasive surgery is often avoided.
A Proper Perspective
If we need anything in the regenerative medicine field these days, it is a proper perspective. PRP therapy and its regenerative medicine counterparts are not magic. They are medicine. They should be understood like any other form of medicine in that they will prove successful for some but not for all.
A proper perspective would weed out those doctors who sell regenerative medicine as magic. It would also temper patient expectations accordingly. Both would be refreshing change.