Regenerative medicine differs from more traditional, pharmaceutical-based medicine in many ways. Take platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, for example. Doctors trained to use this therapy to treat orthopedic conditions are not trained simply to relieve symptoms. They are trained to think from a healing perspective. This mindset is one of the most exciting aspects of learning how to use regenerative medicine.
Your average doctor got into medicine out of a desire to help people live healthier lives. As such, doctors have a lot of choices for achieving those ends. Regenerative medicine is a choice that seeks to get to the root of a person’s problem, so that it can be addressed, rather than simply writing a prescription to mask symptoms. Regenerative medicine is also about promoting natural healing with as little invasion of the body as possible.
To get a better understanding of how doctors are trained to think from a healing mindset, consider the following three aspects of PRP therapy as explained by the Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI):
1. Patient Blood Platelet Counts
Since PRP therapy is based on the natural, biological response of blood platelets at the site of injury, a patient’s blood platelet count has to be considered. Those with counts lower than 150,000 are considered to have a condition known as thrombocytopenia. They are not good candidates for PRP.
Doctors are trained to order blood draws and complete blood counts (CBC) as part of patient screening for PRP treatment. If blood count is too low, a patient is encouraged to put off treatment until his or her CBC can be brought into a normal range.
The point here should be obvious: if PRP therapy focuses on encouraging natural healing, the body has to be in a position to do so. Patient blood platelet counts need to be brought up to acceptable levels in order for the body to do what it naturally does.
2. How Long Results Last
Next, doctors and patients have to discuss how long the results of PRP therapy might last. The results tend to last longer than more traditional treatments due to the healing properties of the growth factors and nutrients found in blood plasma. However, it may take some time for those long-term results to set in.
People respond differently to PRP therapy depending on a whole host of factors. Once doctors and their patients better understand how the body is responding, treatment plans can be adjusted to achieve longer-lasting results. As an example, a patient may undergo 2 to 4 treatments for hair loss, then only require follow-up treatments every 6 to 12 months.
3. Number of Treatments Needed
Once again, the fact that patients respond differently indicates that not every patient will need the same number of treatments. The total number for any given condition will be determined by a few different influences, including how well the patient’s body responds.
If a doctor were simply writing a prescription for pain medication to treat osteoarthritis, the patient could expect that same prescription on a regular basis for the rest of his or her life. PRP treatment offers a better outlook. As the therapy focuses on natural healing, it is possible that a patient could be fairly pain-free after fewer than half a dozen injections.
In summary, doctors trained to use PRP and other regenerative medicine therapies are trained to think in a different way. At ARMI, they are trained to think in the direction of actually healing patients rather than merely treating symptoms. It is a new way of thinking in American medicine, and it’s working.