Stem Cells, PRP, And Regenerative Medicine – Dr. Glenn Flanagan explains

Dr. Glenn Flanagan

How can PRP help manage my pain?

PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma. This is obtained from a simple blood draw from your vein, spun in a bedside centrifuge to separate it, and the PRP portion is isolated so it can be used as treatment. PRP contains millions of platelets after your blood is concentrated, and when injected precisely near injuries these platelets help boost a strong, natural, healing process to aid in tissue recovery and preservation.

What else is in PRP?

There are also several other proteins and factors responsible for growth and healing that are mixed in with the concentrated platelet rich plasma. Together, these products reduce chronic painful inflammation, while initiating a fresh healing response to boost regeneration.

Are my Stem Cells too old to use for treatment?

No!! Studies tracking outcomes in patients treated with stem cells for spine and joint problems have shown repeatedly that the age of the cells is not the most important factor. Severe chronic disease causes people to heal poorly, but a healthy patient can respond favorably to injections with their own stem cells into their 80s and 90s.

Can I get better results with “younger” Stem Cells?

No!! First, all the pre-packaged products from sources like a placenta, amniotic tissue, Wharton’s jelly, or umbilical cord products have been shown in multiple studies to contain no live cells. So, using these products is not a stem cell treatment, no matter how they are marketed. Plus, there are no human studies showing these products have any benefit in orthopedic applications. At best, they contain growth factors that you can also get with your own PRP or with your own stem cells. At worst, these pre-packaged birth tissue products can be contaminated, and patients have ended up hospitalized after receiving them due to sepsis from bacterial infections like E. Coli.

Where are Stem Cells and PRP injected?

After obtaining these from your body, regulations require Dr. Flanagan to treat you that same day. The strongest evidence supports injections directly into injured areas. Common areas that respond well to these injections include degenerative discs, joints, rotator cuff tears, meniscus tears, ligaments and tendons (like golfer’s or tennis elbow) and soft tissue like the plantar fascia.

What about injecting Stem Cells or PRP into my blood so they can “go everywhere” and heal me?

These products should not be injected into your blood. They are not miracle cells that find a way to all your problems to cure them. The PRP came from your blood, so it makes no sense to simply inject it back in there! Stem cells obtained from your bone or fat could have serious unwanted side effects if they are injected into your blood leading to your lungs, heart and brain. The regenerative treatments need to be injected directly in & around the injured areas of your spine and joints.

If you’re interested in learning more about Dr. Flanagan and his pursuit of preserving your orthopedic health without steroid shots, pills, and surgeries, you can check for his article in last month’s December issue of Life in Naples, visit his website for more information at or call 239.276.7074. 

 He’s looking forward to hearing from you!

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