OrthoBiologics are natural substances such as cells, tissue, blood components, and growth factors that are harnessed to aid in the treatment of orthopedic conditions, such as osteoarthritis or ligament and tendon injuries. They may be used to replace lost tissue, stimulate regeneration and healing, reduce pain and inflammation and improve joint function, and can be administered as an office-based treatment, in the form of an injection, or at the time of surgery.
While research is ongoing, OrthoBiologics have been found to improve symptoms and surgical outcomes in clinical trials and practice, as they function like “biologic pharmacies,” delivering nutrients, growth factors, and various biologic molecules to a site of degeneration, injury or surgical repair. It is important to understand that OrthoBiologics are not necessarily related to stem cells, nor are they regenerative in nature. Research indicates it is the growth factors, and not the cells themselves, that impact inflammation and healing. For more information, view our Understanding OrthoBiologics brochure.
Types of OrthoBiologics
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
PRP is obtained from the patient’s blood after it has been processed to concentrate platelets and certain white blood cells that enhance healing and reduce inflammation. PRP may be injected directly into the damaged tissue during an outpatient procedure, at the time of or following repair surgery. PRP does not increase surgical time, prolong recovery, or require extra sutures.
Bone Marrow Aspiration Concentrate (BMAC)
BMAC is obtained intra-operatively, while under anesthesia, from bone marrow that is removed from a bone region. BMAC is rich in stem cells, which produce proteins and growth factors necessary for healing and reducing inflammation. It does not increase surgical time, prolong recovery, or require extra sutures.
Adipose tissue, or fat cells, have remarkable healing and regenerative properties. They are typically obtained from your waist, processed to remove impurities and inflammatory components, and then injected at the site of injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
While BMAC and PRP are innovative and effective treatment plans, they are not covered by insurance carriers and are typically denied as investigational or non-covered. As a result, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush offers it as an out-of-pocket expense and assists the fees by applying a 20% discount. See individual pricing below:
(One joint) Base BMAC Preparation Fee: $3,750
Discount at 20% (-$750.00)
Total Due: $3,000
(Two joint) Base BMAC Preparation Fee: $5,000
Discount at 20% (-$1,000.00)
Total Due: $4,000
(One joint) Base PRP Preparation Fee: $940.00
Discount at 20% (-$190)
Total Due: $750.00
OrthoBiologic therapies are typically denied under insurance as providers consider them experimental, investigational, and/or not medically necessary. To see leading research on the outcomes of biologic therapies, view the review articles listed above.
Most patients will begin to see improvement approximately 1 to 2 months after treatment has been completed. Patients experience increased stability and strength along with a decrease in pain. Recovery time and outcome will be dependent upon the structure treated, the chronicity of the problem and how patients respond to this treatment in general.
The risks of OrthoBiologic injections are extremely low but as with any procedure, there are possible risks and complications. Although very unlikely, any injection can potentially cause bleeding, increased pain, infection or nerve damage. Because your own cells are being utilized, there is no risk of tissue rejection of the cells.
Patients may experience soreness at the collection site and treatment site for a few days following the procedure. However, increased pain is not typically reported by patients.
No, the retrieval of bone marrow and plasma only takes a couple of minutes at the beginning of surgery. They are centrifuged and prepared while the rest of the procedure occurs to be ready for injection without an increase in surgical time.