Orthobiologics are natural substances such as cells, tissue, blood components and growth factors that are harnessed to aid in the treatment of orthopedic injuries or conditions. They may be used to replace lost tissue, stimulate regeneration and healing, reduce pain and inflammation and improve joint function. Orthobiologics are indicated for the treatment of articular cartilage injuries, osteoarthritis, ligament injuries, and tendon injuries. They may be administered in the form of injections or may require a surgical procedure. They may be used alone as conservative treatment, at the time of or following orthopedic surgery to enhance results. It is important for patients to know that there is a lot of misunderstanding as to the precise role that orthobiologics have in the treatment of musculoskeletal injury. Most likely, the growth factors and not the cells themselves will have an impact on inflammation and healing. It is unlikely, however, that orthobiologics will play a role in “regeneration” in any application in orthopeadics at this time although several investigations are ongoing.
Different types of orthobiologics include:
Platelet rich plasma (PRP): PRP is obtained from your own 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.
Bone marrow aspiration concentrate (BMAC): BMAC is obtained after processing 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.
Adipose tissue: Adipose tissue or fat cells have remarkable healing and regenerative properties. It is typically obtained from your waist, processed to remove impurities and inflammatory components, and then injected at the site of injury.