Orthobiologics are products made from biological substances naturally found in the body. They are used by orthopedic surgeons to improve the healing of musculoskeletal tissues such as tendons, muscle or bone. Regenerative medicine is the interdisciplinary branch of medicine that replaces damaged or diseased tissues and organs by generating functional tissues. This can be achieved by stimulating the body’s repair mechanism with biomaterials such as orthobiologics.
Orthobiologics Treatment for Spine
Orthobiologics help your body repair damaged tissue and bone, heal injuries faster and minimize pain. They are administered through injections or surgery. Orthobiologics are recommended by your doctor to treat spine conditions causing pain and stiffness.
Am I a Suitable Candidate for Orthobiologics Treatment?
Your doctor recommends orthobiologics if you do not respond to conservative treatment options and require quick healing. People with medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders or cancer may not be suitable for orthobiologics treatment. Inform your doctor if you take prescribed blood-thinning medications.
Types of Orthobiologics for Spine
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an orthobiologic with a high concentration of platelets in plasma. Blood consists of solid and liquid components. Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains water, salts, enzymes, hormones, and various proteins. The blood cells including the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets form the solid portion.
Activation of the platelets followed by an injury is an important step in the natural healing process. Platelets enhance the healing process by releasing various growth factors and proteins. PRP can be injected into a site of injury or maybe applied during surgery to enhance healing.
PRP is indicated for spine conditions including:
- Neck pain
- Chronic low back pain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc disease
- Lumbar and cervical facet dysfunction and pain
Cord blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after childbirth has anti-inflammatory properties and has also been shown to decrease cell death and fibrous tissue formation. This regenerative capacity offers the potential for the management of various spine conditions. However, conclusive evidence still needs to be obtained. Your doctor may recommend cell therapy to treat spine conditions including:
- Herniated discs
- Spinal facet pain
- Pinched nerves
- Degenerative disc disease
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain
- Spinal cord injuries
Bone graft is the healthy bone tissue taken from the patient’s body (autograft) or obtained from a healthy donor or a deceased donor (allograft) and transplanted between two vertebrae to fuse them into a single solid bone. Bone grafting is performed to treat painful areas in the spine that require fusion by a surgery called spinal fusion.
Once transplanted, the graft slowly converts to new living tissue and establishes functional connections with the living bone (osseointegration).
Complications of Orthobiologics
Complications are rare but can include:
- Nerve injuries
- Tissue damage
- Formation of tumors