What is Orthobiologic Treatment?

Orthobiologics treatment aids the healing process of fractures, injured muscles, tendons, and ligaments using the naturally-occurring elements of the body called orthobiologics.

Specifically, orthobiologics include stem cells, growth factors, platelet rich plasma, autologous blood and conditioned serum and bone grafts. All these occur naturally within the body.

The field of orthobiologics is rapidly expanding, and allows for the human body to regenerate itself through multiple treatments options available that were previously either too invasive, or ineffective. Keeping in mind the contemporary orthobiological process available to us, recovery is fast and people report going back to the same un-injured physical state.

The Healing Process                  

A number of factors affect the healing process of a bone, muscle, or tendon, including blood flow to the injured area. These include the following.

Matrix and Conductive Materials

The matrix and other conductive materials are where new cells for bones, tendons and ligaments form and mature. Hence, experts refer to it as the ‘house’ for these stem cells. Moreover, in its absence, healing the gaps in the body is nearly impossible.

The orthobiological treatments of conductive matrix materials usually involve using high concentrations of materials. This includes treatment methods like:

  • Bone grafts
  • Artificial matrix material

Growth Factors

Although these growth factors occur in your body in low doses, it is possible to engineer them genetically in larger quantities for pharmaceutical purposes. Following are the treatment methods for growth factors:

  • Growth factor proteins and bone healing
  • Bone morphogenetic proteins

Stem Cells

Stem cells are immature cells that turn into mature cells depending on the injured site that they reach. This site could be bone, muscle, ligament or cartilage. The success rate of stems cells is higher than any other treatment.

Stem cells are often harvested from the patient themselves, through a close relative, or by a stem cell donor program. The kinds of stem cell orthobiological treatments out there include:

  • Stem cell harvesting
  • Stem cell donation

Parathyroid Hormone

A less-known form of orthobiological treatment is the endocrine mediator of calcium phosphate, Parathyroid hormone. In low doses, it has an anabolic effect on the bone, muscle, ligament, and cartilage injury.

A variation of the parathyroid hormone called teriparatide can also increase the density of the bones and reduces the risk of fracture–particularly those of the spine and neck in patients with osteoporosis.

What does the Future Hold For Orthobiologics?

New research on orthobiologics comes to light every year. Currently, scientists are working on a substance called ‘bone glue’ that would ‘paste’ the broken or cracked bones together and also speed up the healing process.

Although this bone glue is not a successful endeavor as of yet, the past decade led to creation of more options for musculoskeletal injuries than before. The end goal is restoring the patient’s health to its original state prior to the fracture.

 

Sources:
• https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931137/
• https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/orthobiologics-and-orthobiologic-research-the-current-state/
• https://www.spoc-ortho.com/services/orthobiologics-and-joint-preservation