PRP and Stem Cell Therapy: Are They the Same?
PRP therapy (which is short for platelet-rich plasma therapy) and stem cell therapy are both medical treatments that use the body’s natural healing abilities and work to accelerate the body’s natural healing process. They are both delivered via injection and can be used to treat similar health issues.
Despite their similarities, PRP therapy and stem cell therapy are not the same thing.
What are the Differences Between PRP and Stem Cell Therapy?
The main difference comes from the contents of these two injection-based therapies, which are discussed in more detail below.
PRP therapy is an autologous treatment. Autologous is a term that refers to blood, cells, and tissue obtained from the same individual. Simply put, PRP therapy uses your own blood as part of the treatment. When performing PRP therapy, medical practitioners take a sample of your blood. They then run the blood through a centrifuge until its components are separated.
Blood has 4 components:
- Plasma: the liquid part of blood that makes it easy for blood to travel throughout the body
- Red blood cells: blood cells that are responsible for sending oxygen and other nutrients throughout the body
- White blood cells: blood cells that protect your body from viruses and anything else it deems a threat
- Platelets: blood cells that clot wounds and help the body heal
As mentioned earlier, PRP is short for platelet-rich plasma. So when these 4 components are separated, the medical practitioner will take the part of the sample that contains the highest amount of platelets and prepare it into an injection. The sample with the highest concentration of platelets will be injected at the site that is causing you pain. Once injected, the platelets from the PRP therapy injection will encourage the body’s natural healing process to heal faster, along with the platelets already there. A higher concentration of platelets at the site of the injury will help your body heal faster and better, easing inflammation and reducing pain.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is not an autologous treatment. While PRP therapy uses a sample of a patient’s blood, stem cell therapy typically relies on the donated stem cells from the umbilical cords of healthy newborns, or is donated from amniotic fluid. These stem cells are brand new and can easily change and adapt to other kinds of cells in the body. Generally speaking, stem cells have that ability, but “adult” stem cells are less likely to be able to adapt to the degree that these particular types of stem cells can.
When injected into the afflicted part of the body, the stem cells will adapt, change, and divide into the cells needed to repair the damaged tissue. The stem cells help repair that tissue faster and become part of that tissue, making it stronger and better than before.
Should I do PRP Therapy or Stem Cell Therapy?
The short answer: It depends.
Both stem cell therapy and PRP therapy are both treatment options for similar issues, such as joint pain and sports injuries. Some patients prefer PRP therapy because there is hardly any risk of their body reacting to it since the injection is derived from their own blood. However, reactions from stem cell therapy are still very rare. The greatest risk from these therapies is infection at the injection site, which is still rare, as we use new needles with every injection.
Other factors that we consider when deciding to go with PRP therapy or stem cell therapy include:
- The location of injury or the source of pain
- How long you’ve been in pain or injured
- Current medications and treatments
- Medical history
The best way to determine which of these two therapies is best for you by talking to your doctor or contacting Memphis Regenerative Healthcare for more information.
Contact Memphis Regenerative Healthcare to Learn More
All of our staff members are well-versed in PRP and stem cell therapies and can help you determine which treatment is the best one for you. To find out which option is right for you, book a consultation today by filling out our contact form or by calling 901-469-3432. We’ll discuss why you came to see us, your medical history, any medications you are currently taking, and more. From there, we’ll go into more detail about your options. We will do everything we can to help ease your pain and have you start feeling like new again.