What do Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez have in common? All three have had injuries healed with the latest cutting-edge sports medicine procedures that do not involve cutting. You now have access to these same procedures. At California Pacific Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine (CPOSM), you will be treated like a pro. byteclay.com recently spoke with CPOSM’s Dr. Rowan Paul about non-invasive treatments for sports injuries. Dr. Paul is currently a team physician for the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Ballet. In addition, Dr. Paul was a division one varsity swimmer at Brown University and is a triathlete, marathoner, martial artist, skier, snowboarder, and yoga practitioner.
Mark Davis: We have Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections and then we have amniotic allograft injections.
Rowan Paul: It’s a new and very promising treatment option. With amniotic allograft, you’re leveraging the growing fetal environment within the amniotic sac of an expectant mother to promote healing. There’s no sacrificing of fetal tissue, the baby is delivered by scheduled caesarian section and the mother donates her amniotic fluid, amniotic sac and placenta. The very vigorous, young and healthy Mesenchymal stem cells that are found in the amniotic tissue are concentrated along with a huge amount of growth factors and anti-microbial elements. The amniotic allograft has been used for treatment of chronic wounds, tendon injury, ligaments, fascia, cartilage, and tendinosis. It has been used extensively for decades for wound care. It provides a healthy anti-microbial environment, and a regenerative environment, it balances the PH of the wound environment and it promotes healthy blood vessel formation. It improves circulation, it reduces scarring, that’s why it’s used in spinal surgery, and it’s used to improve chronic nerve pain. It’s still early and there needs to be larger and more randomized controlled trials for routine use but certainly for patients that have failed conservative care, are not good surgical candidates or don’t want to do surgery it’s a nice option.
MD: Is the amniotic allograft treatment newer than PRP?
RP: The clinical use of stem cell enhanced treatments is newer. There’s been research on stem cells for a long time but the clinical research is just starting to catch up.
MD: Is the amniotic allograft treatment done on an outpatient basis?
RP: Most of my procedures are done on an outpatient basis.
MD: To summarize, with amniotic allograft, you are taking stem cells harvested from the amniotic fluid of a full-term pregnancy and injecting them into the area to be treated. The stem cells contain growth factors, which helped a baby grow for nine months, and are now used to promote regeneration and healing of tissues.
RP: That is partially correct. Stem cells line all blood vessels and are recruited locally and regionally after injury or for growth. In the specific case of amniotic allograft, the Mesenchymal stem cells are the active cells floating around that promote healing by secreting powerful growth factors, antibiotics and other proteins necessary for healing. It was a theory that stem cells can turn into whatever they are sitting next to and whatever they want to become within limits. They can become cartilage, they can become bone, and they can become nerve. This differentiation is well documented, however, we now know that we are actually healing via secretion of their growth factors, and healing proteins as much as anything.
Next up: the suture-less TENEX surgical procedure. Stay tuned…