PRP (platelet rich plasma) and stem cell therapy are two different ways to help aid recovery after surgery and/or injury and both are playing larger roles within the context of sports medicine. If you are undergoing surgery and want to learn more about either of these therapies, don’t hesitate to Ask Dr. Millstein online or contact him for an appointment by calling (310) 595-1030.


PRP is a mixture of serum and platelets that help the healing process in the human body. Doctors and surgeons have known for a long time that platelets play a pivotal role in the body’s recovery because of their ability to help form clots and their role in the release of growth factors. Platelets are released whenever a ligament or muscle is injured and not only stop the bleeding, but also jump-start the healing process via growth factors. These growth factors are released over a weeklong period following the injury, attracting stem cells and bringing in new blood vessels to ensure increased blood flow.

Doctors create PRP by taking blood from a vein and centrifuging it to concentrate the platelets. This concentration is somewhere between 3 and 5 times the normal concentration level. PRP is usually used to help speed up injuries that will eventually heal on their own or to kick start the healing process.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is a much more advanced procedure because doctors can not only regenerate and differentiate the tissue that’s been lost, but also coordinate the body’s overall repair response. These types of procedures use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and are more appropriate to treat diseases that result in lost tissue (i.e., arthritis, ligament tears, lower back disc injuries, etc.).

Stem cell therapy has already begun playing a role in professional sports with stars like Kobe Bryant utilizing the procedure to help with existing injuries. As stem cell therapy procedures become more advanced, there’s no reason to believe that they won’t become much more prevalent among Americans. Unfortunately, one of the biggest difficulties facing stem cell therapy’s growth in the US is the ban on certain types of stem cell research. In terms of development, the United States is many years behind countries like Europe.

PRP & Stem Cell Therapy Preparation

One of the most important differences is the amount of time it takes to prepare each procedure. Stem cell therapy requires a far more rigorous and complex lab prep in comparison to PRP. The MSCs that are used in stem cell therapy must be isolated and grown in a sophisticated lab environment by cell biologists over a multi-week period, while a simple centrifuge can make PRP.

Talk to an Expert Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Millstein is an expert Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon who can help determine whether PRP or stem cell therapy is right for you. He finished his Orthopedic Fellowship in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute and has received numerous awards, including Castle Connolly’s Top Doctor award and the prestigious Patients’ Choice award. Don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Millstein to set up an appointment to discuss your options.

Dr. Millstein

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