An Alternative Solution to Pain Management
Many people have heard of regenerative medicine or therapy, but what exactly is it?
At Holistic Integration, we will now partner with Dr. Dan Williams, the only Regenexx certified practitioner in the state of Indiana. We feel that Regenexx provides the highest quality medicine for the lowest cost to you, that is why we partnered with Regenexx and Dr. Williams.
First and foremost, let’s debunk a common misconception that commonly pops up in regenerative medicine: What and where are the cells from?
The most significant piece we would like to stress to our patients is that we DO NOT use embryonic, amniotic, or umbilical stem cells. This practice is not as effective as the cells are generally dead by the time they are injected. In regard to embryonic cells, that practice is specifically prohibited by the FDA. Any cells that we use come directly from YOUR body.
So, that begs the question, what type of cells are we using?
We will be using autologous mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are taken from your bone marrow, they are then processed and injected into the problem area with precise image guidance. This is because these cells have been found to be extremely effective at treating orthopedic conditions.
Let’s start with what Regenexx is and what they do. Regenexx is a group of 30-plus medical practices across the country that utilize the same Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC) and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) procedures.
This group of practices helps to fund a university-style, clinical research lab headquartered in Colorado. This lab has four full-time employees using clinical research software (Clinovo) to track all outcomes. The research lab itself also has three full-time scientists with top-of-the-line tools including normoxic and hypoxic incubation, flow cytometry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and much more. Most labs do not have things like flow cytometry or cell sorting on site. On paper, the Regenexx research lab is the most sophisticated lab that is specifically dedicated to orthopedic stem cell research in the country.
In addition, most physicians offering this therapy fall into one of two categories, using an automated centrifuge or a laminar flow hood to process samples. Both of these practices, however, do not have clinical or in-vitro research being continuously conducted. This is why Regenexx is always the first in improving the systems and quality of these therapies.
The whole process here breaks down into four steps:
- The Bone Marrow Aspiration (BMA)
- Processing of Aspirate Sample
- The Reinjection
- Continuing Research
Bone Marrow Aspiration
Bone Marrow Aspiration is performed by using a sharp-tipped tool called a trocar.
The trocar is inserted, generally in the pelvis, and provides a small tunnel into the bone. Then, this allows the liquid portion (aspirate) of the bone marrow to be removed with a syringe. Regenexx research has shown that they receive a higher yield of usable cells while doing lower-volume draws on multiple sites of the body. However, this contrasts with the typical method of one point with a high-volume draw.
One other way Regenexx stands out in terms of being ahead of the game is they actually count the number of cells available to determine dosage. Nearly every other practice injects unknown doses of BMC. This stands out because there is NO other area of medicine where an unknown dose or concentration is injected into the patient’s body.
Processing the Bone Marrow Aspirate Sample
Nearly all practices use the typically automated bedside centrifuge to process the aspirate. The goal is to separate the plasma, the red blood cells, and what we are looking for, what is known as the “Buffy Coat.” The buffy coat is what is used in the injection.
Typically, when using automated tools they account for changes in different people’s blood. So, they will always “chop off” the same amount of plasma and red blood cells. Unfortunately, this can impact the amount of buffy coat that is received for reinjection. To make up for this, the 1-2 ml is diluted into a 10 ml concentrate, meaning less optimal results for your body.
However, Regenexx uses a manual process under a laminar flow hood that has shown to yield significantly higher concentrations. Using this manual process the Regenexx lab was able to get 1-2 ml of active buffy coat in roughly 3 ml of bone marrow concentrate. Contrast that with other labs by only getting 1-2 ml of buffy coat out of 60 ml of concentrate, and then diluting it further, and you will see that our process is significantly more helpful for our patients.
The reality is that most injections performed in orthopedic practices are done blind, i.e. no image guidance. Despite research showing that, frankly, image guidance is necessary.
Regenexx certified physicians must demonstrate mastery via cadaver lab after extensive education and live trial. For the shoulder alone there are 12 separate imaging-guided-injection procedures that must be demonstrated to an instructor in the course.
Simply put, typical orthopedic practices do not use imaging guidance, data backs up that this drastically increases ineffective injections, making the whole process moot. But, Regenexx physicians go through rigorous training, then practice on cadavers, and are graded by a previously licensed Regenexx physician. Training includes many procedures that are not widely available, only furthering the gap between Regenexx and other orthopedic injection practices.
Regenexx is committed to furthering research into the practice of regenerative medicine. Their research specializes in two sectors. Registry data collection and ongoing clinical or lab research.
Since 2005 they have been collecting outcome data from procedures with thousands of results covered and many peer-reviewed articles published.
“After the three-month appointment, I started going back to some regular activities like running and more of my typical day-to-day. From that point on, I’ve noticed a lot of improvement. Now I’m able to continue to do the things I love to do. Without the pain to go along with that. I feel like I’m 80% better than before.”
Todd B. Regenexx Patient
Want to Learn More?
If you have more questions or would like to learn more about Regenexx and what they do please click above.
Meet Dr. Williams, the only Regenexx certified doctor in Indiana!
Learn more about regenerative medicine and the Regenexx overview.