PRP and Stem Cell Treatment FAQ’s — Part 2

prp and stem cell faqWhat is the difference between PRP/platelet and BMA/stem cell use in a practical sense?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is spun off of a normal (venous) blood sample, delivering growth factors to the injured joint or muscle/tendon. These factors exert powerful healing and anti-inflammatory action for up to 6-9 months. A “booster” shot at 4-6 weeks is often warranted to optimize the pain relieving/healing effect.

This can be performed and completed within 30 minutes in an office setting.

BMA/stem cells  “bone marrow aspirate”- is just that; pluripotent cells taken from the cell-line forming area of the body that can not only exert anti-inflammatory effect but may actually induce new cartilage formation. This effect is often longer-lasting (12-18 months) and even regenerative in some joints.

This procedure requires about 45-50 minutes in an office or day surgical center, usually with mild (oral) sedation.

When will I see results?

PRP, if effective, often leads to significant joint pain relief/tissue healing within 2 weeks.

BMA/stem cell may take up to 4-5 weeks to gradually work, but relief is often profound and longer-lasting, especially if combined with simultaneous or subsequent “high-volume” growth factor  therapy.

Will I need additional injections?

Usually one BMA or one to two PRP injections are sufficient to allow relief and resumption of activity at the desired level.
These injections are “autologous”; from your own body, therefore avoiding the potentially harmful cumulative side effects (such as paradoxical increased cartilage breakdown) of steroids, for example.

They can be repeated as often as necessary to get you “back on track” activity-wise – which is generally far less often than steroid or “rooster comb”/viscosupplementation shots.


Dr. Kelly Cunningham

Austin Ortho+Biologics

Sports Medicine & Regenerative Medicine Specialist

Austin, Texas