Regenerative Medicine and Prolotherapy

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Regenerative medicine has been getting a lot of buzz in the news lately – but the question remains: what is it?

The answer can be found right in our Northern Kentucky community at the St. Elizabeth Physiatry office.

“Regenerative medicine is a unique, non-invasive approach to helping joint, ligament and tendon pain,” says Dr. Michael Bertram, a board-certified Physician of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (also known as Physiatry) at St. Elizabeth Physicians. “We use your body’s own healing response to help repair the damaged area.”

Dr. Bertram and the St. Elizabeth Physiatry office offer multiple types of regenerative therapies including prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and perineural injections.

What is prolotherapy?

If you are struggling with pain and limited mobility from age, injury or a disease like osteoarthritis, prolotherapy could be a game-changer for you.

“Prolotherapy is a wonderful non-surgical option for active people,” says Dr. Bertram. “When we get older, our joints get wobbly because the tendons and ligaments don’t retain their elasticity as well. Prolotherapy can help to repair and strengthen the areas surrounding the joint, helping to decrease pain and increase mobility.”

Prolotherapy uses ultrasound-guided injections to target the painful areas in the body. The injections contain a concentrated sugar solution and cause the injection site to become irritated.

These injections signal to the body that it’s time to kick-start the three-phase healing process. The microdamage caused by the injections serves as a roadmap to the body on where it should get to work. The healing process at the injection site includes:

  • Inflammatory process – increases blood flow to the affected area; typically lasts a few weeks and flushes unhealthy tissue out of the area.
  • Fibroblastic (restorative) process – once the inflammatory process is complete, new blood vessels and collagen form in the affected area.
  • Maturation (remodeling) process – the newly formed tissues become stronger and healthier, helping ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint tighter and more stable.

Who can prolotherapy help?

Patients with a variety of ligament, joint and tendon issues can benefit from prolotherapy. Dr. Bertram sees patients with all types of ailments, including:

  • Chronic ankle or knee sprains
  • Degenerative arthritis in the joints – including the spine
  • Ligament damage – anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries
  • Tendon degeneration or tears – Achilles tendon, rotator cuff, tennis elbow or patella tendon injuries

How long does it take?

Typically, you’ll start to notice results after just one or two treatments; however, the recommended prolotherapy protocol is five to six treatments to maximize results. The St. Elizabeth Physiatry office will create a customized treatment plan for you during your initial appointment.

Prolotherapy: is it for you?

Interested in learning more about prolotherapy? Call the St. Elizabeth Physiatry office at (859) 957-0052 or visit stedocs.com/physiatry for more information.

Insurance coverage varies for all regenerative therapies; please contact your insurance company or connect with our office to determine if your treatment will be covered.