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You don’t need to be a professional athlete to know that an injury-induced setback is debilitating. Not only are workouts difficult (or even temporarily impossible), but daily tasks such as walking and carrying groceries also become problematic.

Orthopaedic surgery and therapeutics are constantly improving and advancing, with biologic and regenerative therapies currently leading the way.

Dr. Joseph Straight, M.D., the director of First State Orthopaedics Biologic Therapies Division, is a primary care sports medicine doctor expertly trained in non-operative orthopaedics. Here, he discusses his interest in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections and stem cell procedures, and the remarkable results these non-surgical options offer in restoring function and relieving pain.

When did your interest in these treatments begin?

As a longtime Steelers fan, my interest in biologics and regenerative medicine began when wide receiver Hines Ward returned for Super Bowl XL after concentrated blood products were injected into his medial collateral ligament (MCL); he was selected as the MVP just two weeks later.

What is the difference between PRP injections and stem cell procedures?

PRP is platelet-rich plasma obtained by drawing the patient’s blood and concentrating its platelet-growth factors. The PRP is then injected back into the compromised tendon, muscle, ligament or joint. It is ideal for patients suffering from arthritis, partially injured ligaments or muscles, and tendonitis. Patients with serious injuries to their tendons, ligaments, cartilage or bones may require a stem cell procedure. This involves removing stem cells from the bone marrow of the pelvis and injecting the concentrated product back into the compromised body part. Stem cell procedures can safely repair and regenerate cells—unlike cortisone products, which can cause cartilage cell death with frequent use.

Why are cartilage cells so special?

When your bones stop growing in your teens, all the natural cartilage cells in the joints are formed and locked into space in the surface cartilage. Any event that breaks the surface cartilage or injures these cells can cause permanent damage and abnormal wearing in the joint, leading to pain and a feeling of looseness—arthritis. Biologics and regenerative therapies give us hope in treating this difficult condition non-operatively.

Are these treatments cost-effective?

The answer is a qualified yes. If healing quality and efficiency are important to you, then these treatments are worth the expense.

Dr. Joseph Straight, M.D., is the director of First State Orthopaedics Biologic Therapies Division for musculoskeletal healing and regeneration. He is fellowship-trained in primary care sports medicine and ultrasound-guided injections, and specializes in occupational medicine for firemen, policemen, correctional officers, longshoremen and other active professionals.

Dr. Straight offers scheduled appointments in his New Castle County and Kent County offices, Monday through Friday, and performs event coverage on nights and weekends.

First State Orthopaedics

302-731-2888 • www.firststateortho.com

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Sabre Building
Delaware Hand to Shoulder Center
4051 Ogletown-Stanton Rd., Suite 103
Newark, DE 19713