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How Regenerative Medicine is Revolutionizing the Treatment of Aging Joints

Approximately 54 million people in the United States have arthritis — a number that’s expected to grow to a whopping 78 million by 2040 thanks to an aging population. With so many people struggling to move without pain and stiffness, medical researchers have been diligently exploring solutions. One area that’s showing great promise is regenerative medicine, which encourages your body to repair itself from within, on a cellular level.

At Arctic Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska, our team specializes in regenerative medicine and its incredibly wide range of applications, from musculoskeletal pain to sexual dysfunction. When it comes to aging joints, here’s how regenerative medicine is revolutionizing the way we approach the problem.

Oh, those achy joints

Your body contains hundreds of joints which are designed to provide you with mobility and range of motion. From the largest — your knees — to the tiny joints in your toes, these complex structures rely on every component functioning optimally, which means a problem in one area can have a widespread impact over the entire joint.

With arthritis, which is a catchall term for more than 100 different diseases that cause pain and inflammation in your joints, the soft tissues that facilitate movement become damaged. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative form of the disease in which the cartilage inside your joint breaks down. Your cartilage is a slippery substance that covers the ends of your bones, preventing them from rubbing together.

The problem with this type of arthritis is that your cartilage lacks the vasculature to regenerate itself readily, which leaves you with increasingly painful and inflamed joints.

This is where regenerative medicine comes in.

Regenerating from within

In order to provide the connective tissues inside your aching joints with the resources they need to repair themselves, we offer two types of regenerative medicine.

Mesenchymal stem cells

Each of the cells in your body exists for one purpose. For example, your skin cells only tend to your skin and your liver cells stay in that one area. The human body does contain one type of cell, however, that’s different in that it’s undifferentiated. Called mesenchymal stem cells, these cells aren’t assigned to one area, but have the amazing ability to become other cells and then multiply indefinitely as that cell.

We tap this incredible ability using mesenchymal stem cells that are harvested from donor cord tissue from the birth of full-term healthy babies that were pre-screened and pre-approved for the process. We then inject these powerful mesenchymal stem cells into your damaged tissue where they go to work to promote rebuilding and repair.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

In addition to mesenchymal stem cells, the human body contains another amazing regenerative resource — platelets. Platelets are found in your blood, and they’re largely responsible for clotting. But these cells also contain powerful growth factors and other proteins that encourage healing and repair.

To harness this power, we draw a sample of your own blood, separate out the platelets in a special centrifuge, and re-inject the platelet concentrate (called PRP) into your damaged tissue.

Between mesenchymal stem cells and platelets, we create the ultimate regenerative environment in your joints to encourage pain-free movement.

To learn more about regenerative medicine and how it helps with aging joints, please contact our office to set up a consultation.

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