How do I know if I qualify for this treatment protocol?
We will be happy to evaluate and determine if we can help treat your pain or wound. There is no charge for reviewing your questionnaire and previous scans.
What do the "Stem Cell / PRP" injections contain, and how do they work?
We use autologous blood-derived cellular graft material for these procedures, a.k.a. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and associated adult peripheral stem cells. These represent a portion of the “Buffy Coat” component of whole blood that has been centrifuged to seperate the various blood components. The Buffy Coat as processed by AnotherWay will normally contain, among other components, platelets (with their respective alpha-granule packets and growth factors), white cells, soluble fibrinogen, a few red cells, and peripheral adult stem cells. When injected into many damaged joint capsules, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and soft tissue injuries they initiate a "healing and repair cascade" similar to the familiar clotting cascade superficially evident in an open wound. This means that the fibrinogen becomes a fibrin matrix in the presence of collagen, creating a scaffold or latticework to capture, hold, and provide a structure in which the other components can reside, identify tissue defects, and begin a repair process led by the stem cells and appropriate platelet related growth factors.
What types of problems does the procedure work for?
While our initial experience was developed treating diabetic ulcers, post-surgical wounds and trauma, (2000 -2009), we have performed derivatives of this procedure for over the last 5 years with significant and consistent success. Customary joint or bone related treatments have included:
- Shoulders (rotator cuff etc.)
- Lower spine/lumbar facets
- Broken or fractured bones
Soft tissue procedures include:
- connective tissues
- and related body areas
In general, the process works well on bone and soft tissue injuries, damage, acute and chronic episodes.
Do I need to have a new MRI taken or can I use one I already have?
We prefer to have a current MRI to clearly "see" the soft tissue damage within the structure. You should be able to have the MRI performed here if you have an order from your physician for the diagnostic procedure. The advantage to a local MRI is that our physicians will have the information resident on a local system should they need it for the procedure, and also for future follow-up comparisons. You may however have the scans performed at a facility of your choice as long as the protocols needed for your procedure are used. (This may be an advantage if you are traveling from another location as it will allow a preliminary determination prior to the expense and time of traveling.
What kind of medical information do I need to provide?
As part of the determination process we will ask you to complete a detailed questionnaire relating to your medical history in general and the area of treatment specifically. This information will be sent to you for completion and will need to be returned to us prior to your telephone interview. Current MRIs, CTs, X-rays, and Ultrasound scans will also need to be forwarded to us pre-procedure for review.
Do I need to see a doctor before the procedure?
Subsequent to your interview and prior to your procedure you will have a global evaluation by a general practice physician and a lab screening panel will be performed. If you are a candidate for the procedure, a date, time and location will be set.
Will I have to give blood? When?
At the time of the procedure your information will be reviewed and a small quantity of your peripheral blood will be drawn and processed in a proprietary system to capture the Buffy Coat (see above). Depending on the area and complexity of the injection(s), the finished autologous cellular blood-graft material will be processed and readied for your procedure. All processing and procedure components are carried out at the time of your visit.
Who does the procedure? How long does it take? What happens afterward?
Your prepared injection material will be applied by a qualified physician trained in the procedure, and may or may not require Ultrasound or CT guidance. The procedure will take about 2 hours, the recovery is usually in keeping with your normal activities, which means light duty for about two weeks, then exercise as comfortable, retiring on first sign of pain, applying ice, and starting over the next day.
When does the pain end? When does the healing begin?
While everyone's response is a little different, the post procedure process for this procedure is one of gradual movement, progressive flexion and exercise. In most cases the autologous materials gradually reduce the pain and discomfort and help your body to initiate an anti-inflammatory response followed by a repair or remodeling process, which may continue over two to three months and reflects your bodies efforts to solve your complaint. Remodeled tissue actually can take up to four to six months to regain its tensile strength and full viability, but it is repairing itself in the natural laying down of new tissues in their native or component appropriate sites, not the pulling, transferring or substitution seen in "surgical" procedures.
Is an injection all that I need?
Finally, this is a process, not just a procedure. We may ask you work with a chiropractor, physical therapst or manual rehab professional to help ensure your success, coupled with possible gait assessments, orthotics or other exercises to also ensure the stresses to the knees, hips, spine & torso are addressed. Any of these directives will be under the advice of your treating physician.
Is compliance (following doctor's orders) on my part important following the procedure?
We believe this detailed protocol or process is in your long term best interest, and imperative to you achieving the best possible outcome. Your clear understanding and compliance with the physician's directions will be imperative to you achieving the most from your procedure.
Will my insurance company pay for this?
The MRI and physicians evaluation / check-up are often covered by insurance carriers. Unfortunately this procedure is not usually covered by insurance. Please cover any questions you may have regarding cost and payment options with your care counselor at the time of your telephone review.
We are committed to helping you help yourself through this process. Please call or contact us at any time if you have questions or do not understand the proposed treatment process. The information contained in this narrative is not meant to be all-inclusive or the giving of medical advice or treatment. It is for informational purposes only. You should ask the treating physician to clearly define the procedure suggested for you and to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for your trust in AnotherWay and our team!