PRP and Stem Cells – More Patient Information

Posted on: June 26th, 2015 by Chris Jones, MD No Comments

Stem Cell and PRP Therapy Patient Information

Dr. Christopher Jones of Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group offers the most technologically advanced operative and non-operative treatment options for patients with common orthopaedic conditions.  While surgery is a mainstay of treating orthopaedic conditions, Dr. Jones believes in taking a conservative approach when considering surgery and thus has been utilizing biologic treatments for over 9 years as a form of Regenerative Medicine.  He started using Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for treatment of conditions such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, patella tendinitis, plantar fascitis and osteoarthritis when research began to show it as a viable alternative.  He has seen great success in treating these conditions with fewer and fewer patients requiring surgery.

More recently, Stem Cell Therapy has entered the clinical arena of Regenerative Medicine as a viable treatment option.  Stem cells have been shown in laboratory and clinical studies to regenerate or regrow new viable tissue and cartilage.  The conditions that are amenable to these biologic treatments include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendinopathies
    • Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
    • Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)
    • Jumper’s Knee (Patella Tendonitis)
    • Plantar Fasciitis
    • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
  • Cartilage Injuries
  • Ligament Injuries
  • Muscle Injuries

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Are these treatments covered by insurance?  These treatments are not covered by insurance.
  • What is the cost of PRP?  The cost varies depending on the condition being treated.  While Dr. Jones tries to make them as affordable as possible, these technologies are expensive.  A single PRP injection costs $500.  For most conditions, Dr. Jones recommends one injection with a follow up at 4 weeks.  If there is no improvement at that point, he will often recommend a second injection.  For conditions such as osteoarthritis, he recommends starting with a series of 3 injections.  These are administered one injection per week for 3 weeks.
  • What is the advantage of using Stem Cell Injections?  Dr. Jones utilizes both Amniotic Fluid and Autologous Bone Marrow Concentrate as a source of growth factors and stem cells.  The Amniotic Fluid is harvested during scheduled caesarian births of healthy mothers.  The donors are health screened prior to donation.  The stem cells from Amniotic Fluid offer advantages over simple use of PRP in that they provide living cells that can replicate and potentially replace lost cartilage or tendon cells to a damaged area.  The stem cells are mixed with your own PRP and injected together.  The PRP provides the growth factors that will direct the stem cells “what to do” and assist in the reparative process.  Alternatively, bone marrow from the patient can be harvested and centrifuged to obtain the patient’s own mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s) along with growth factors.
  • Why use Amniotic-Derived Stem Cells as opposed to bone marrow derived or adipose derived stem cells?  The first and most obvious reason is that there is no donor site morbidity, meaning that Dr. Jones does not have to harvest bone marrow from your pelvis which can be painful and add a source of a potential complication.  Second, the potential of stem cells is thought to decrease with age so the stem cells derived from the amniotic fluid have the most “potential” to differentiate into viable tissue.  Not all sources of Amniotic Fluid guarantee that MSC’s are present in their product.  Dr. Jones only uses amniotic fluid from companies that have rigorous testing and preparation methods, and will guarantee MSC’s are present.
  • What is the advantage of using your own Bone Marrow?  First and foremost, it is your tissue so it carries no risk of disease transmission.  There is also an abundance of research that shows the presence of MSC’s in bone marrow concentrate.  Further, the number of stem cells in your bone marrow is greater.
  • What is the cost of Stem Cell Injections?   Stem cell injections vary depending on the site of the injection.  Dr. Jones utilizes a different concentration of stem cells.  The cost of stem cells combined with the PRP ranges from $2000 to $4000 per injection.
  • Am I a candidate for Stem Cell or PRP Therapy?  While many clinics claim to have amazing results with curing arthritis and repairing tears, Dr. Jones will present a more realistic opinion and will not offer you these treatments unless he truly believes that you will benefit.  The best way for him to determine if you are a candidate is to come in for an evaluation.  He asks that you bring with you any X-Rays or MRI’s that you have had recently (preferably on disc format), any operative photos or operative reports so that he can review all of these with you.  After the evaluation, he will discuss your options with you in detail.
  • What else do I need to know?  If you are considering on of these therapies, there is some important steps to understand.  First, you must be off all anti-inflammatory medications for 1 week prior to your treatment.  These medications directly inhibit platelets and suppress the inflammatory response which is required to stimulate healing.  He also asks that you avoid the use of anti-inflammatory medications and the use of ice for 1-2 weeks after treatment for the same reason.
  • How do I make an appointment?  You can simply call Dr. Jones’ office at (719)632-7669 to request an appointment with him or you can send him an email at and I will have one of my team members call you.

REFERENCES:  Presented below is a sample of the research that has been done on these regenerative medicine techniques.

Can platelet-rich plasma enhance tendon repair? A cell culture study. 

A retrospective comparison of the management of recalcitrant lateral elbow tendinosis: platelet-rich plasma injections versus surgery.

PRP and Articular Cartilage: A Clinical Update.

Platelet-rich plasma: why intra-articular? A systematic review of preclinical studies and clinical evidence on PRP for joint degeneration.

Platelet-rich plasma intra-articular injection versus hyaluronic acid viscosupplementation as treatments for cartilage pathology: from early degeneration to osteoarthritis.

Platelet-rich plasma: intra-articular knee injections produced favorable results on degenerative cartilage lesions.

Does platelet-rich plasma enhance microfracture treatment for chronic focal chondral defects? An in-vivo study performed in a rat model.

The treatment of chondral lesions of the knee with the microfracture technique and platelet-rich plasma. 

Stem cells derived from amniotic fluid: new potentials in regenerative medicine. 

Amniotic fluid stem cells: a promising therapeutic resource for cell-based regenerative therapy. 

Amniotic membrane transplant for articular cartilage repair: an experimental study in sheep. 

The effects of staged intra-articular injection of cultured autologous mesenchymal stromal cells on the repair of damaged cartilage: a pilot study in caprine model.

A preliminary study comparing the use of allogenic chondrogenic pre-differentiated and undifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells for the repair of full thickness articular cartilage defects in rabbits. 

Amniotic fluid stem cells and their application in cell-based tissue regeneration.