Questions and Answers
What is regenerative medicine?
As we all age, our bodies slowly develop signs of wear and tear. This is a normal part of aging and happens to all of us in varying degrees. Regenerative medicine focuses on slowing this degenerative process and reversing the effects of degeneration, thus restoring normal function and reducing the pain and discomfort associated with the degenerative process. The advances in regenerative medicine are the result of combined research and development by some of the most brilliant minds in medicine, biology, genetics, chemistry, computer science and engineering in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world.
Alpha 2 macroglobulin (A2M) as a regenerative medicine treatment is a very powerful and effective treatment that stops the degenerative process and its associated pain. Medical research has validated A2M injection therapy with multiple studies including double blinded studies. A2M was awarded “The Best New Spine Technology Award” by Orthopedics This Week in 2015.
What is regeneration?
Regeneration is essentially the opposite of degeneration. Degeneration is a word that describes how various parts of the body deteriorate over time. Regeneration is the process of renewal, restoration and new growth. Every species from bacteria to humans are able to regenerate. Regenerative medicine aims to reverse the degenerative process by stimulating and enhancing the body’s natural mechanism to heal and regenerate.
What is A2M injection therapy?
Alpha 2 macroglobulin, or A2M is a naturally occurring molecule in the blood and is one of our body’s own defense mechanism against arthritis. The A2M molecule has 4 binding sites that capture proteases which are destructive enzymes that cause joint and disc damage. These destructive enzymes are then eliminated by the body through normal processes. However, when this degenerate process is out of control, A2M is unable to enter the joint or disc space in large enough quantities due to its large size and complex structure. As a result, it is necessary to inject higher concentrations of A2M into the damaged areas to repair damage, relieve pain and restore the balance of our body. In concentrated doses, A2M acts as a powerful protector against cartilage breakdown and further degeneration. A2M attaches to and removes the destructive enzymes such as proteases that damage cartilage cells and tissues in the joint and disc space. This is a good example of how regenerative medicine treatments activate the body’s own natural healing mechanisms to repair and restore. A concentrated form of A2M can deactivate inflammatory and destructive agents that cause pain and destroy joint surfaces and spinal discs. This is accomplished without incisions, trauma, or general anesthesia and the lengthy recovery period that is common with surgery. The associated risk is also very low.
A2M injection therapy is a minimally invasive non-surgical medical intervention. A2M injection therapy involves taking a sample of blood from a patient, isolating a specific fraction and then concentrating it to a potent form of A2M. The purified and concentrated A2M is then injected back directly into painful structures. The system that we use is the only system to centrifuge and filter plasma to concentrate A2M up to 7 times of the body’s usual concentration. It won Orthopedics This Week’s 2015 “Best New Spine Technology Award”.
What pain conditions are treated by A2M?
For the past 30 years, Dr. Bleiweiss has been treating painful conditions of the spine, neck, back, muscles and joints. Our team continues to focus on specific areas of the body such as osteoarthritis and degenerative conditions of the shoulder, wrist, hip, knee and ankle, degenerative disc disease, disc herniations, annular tears, sport injuries, damaged or injured cartilages, ligament sprains or tears, rotator cuff injuries, joint and tendon injuries, plantar fasciitis, muscle injuries, cervical and Lumbar radiculopathy (sciatica), tendinitis and bursitis. A2M is a very effective and safe treatment for these conditions.
What are the main reasons to use A2M injection therapy?
The main reasons to use A2M injection therapy are to reduce or eliminate inflammation and pain, to prevent further breakdown of tissue, to restore joint and disc health, and to prevent or delay costly or invasive surgeries.
Does A2M injection therapy treat osteoarthritis (OA)?
Yes. A2M injection therapy uses proven scientific techniques and natural healing methods to successfully treat osteoarthritis at its source. It is used to prevent cartilage breakdown in patients, promote tissue growth and support the overall restoration of an affected joint. Medical science has validated A2M to be the key to stopping osteoarthritis at the molecular level. A2M is a Broad Spectrum Multi-Purpose Protease Inhibitor (a powerful chemical in destroying proteins that cause arthritis) that captures and inactivates the three major chemicals that lead to joint breakdown and cartilage damage. Once these destructive chemicals are trapped by A2M, the body can then quickly eliminate them.
I have disc degeneration of the spine. Could regenerative medicine A2M treat disc degeneration?
We can perform a very specific test, the Fibronectin-Aggrecan Complex test (FAC) to determine whether there are specific enzymes in a damaged disk that are causing the breakdown of the disc. If the FAC test is positive, you are a candidate for A2M injection therapy and will most likely respond to an A2M procedure to treat disc degeneration. We would isolate A2M from your blood, concentrate it and place it directly into your disc space to provide the adequate amount of A2M to bind and remove existing destructive proteases.
I'm an athlete with a bad knee joint. Can A2M injection therapy help me?
Yes, this is a great example of how regenerative medicine can help repair and restore, and enable you to continue your athletic pursuit. As mentioned above, an FAC test can be performed to determine your specific underlying causes of the degeneration. A tailored A2M injection treatment will be formulated and discussed with you after the evaluation and analysis. This injection treatment formulated for you will target your specific underlying causes to promote natural healing in an accelerated manner. If your FAC test is positive, A2M has an excellent record in treating this condition.
What’s the advantage of regenerative medicine A2M over taking medication?
There are many types of pain medications ranging from over the counter anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen, to prescription pain killers. They do not treat the underlying cause of pain conditions. While pain medication has been used worldwide for decades, the degenerative process continues to be a significant worldwide health problem. Unlike pain medications which mask symptoms of pain and have multiple side effects, regenerative medicine A2M addresses and treats the underlying causes of the pain conditions.
Surgery is recommended to me. How is regenerative medicine treatment different?
Regenerative medicine does not change the normal anatomy your body by replacing joints or adding hardware to your spine. Surgical techniques are well-established treatments. However, surgery does change the normal anatomy of your body and requires a substantial downtime and recovery period. There are instances when surgery is necessary. However, regenerative medicine A2M focuses on keeping the normal anatomy of your body and restoring it to a more functional state with no incisions, no hardware inside the body and no lengthy recovery period. With regenerative medicine A2M, we are not just trying to modify the disease process, we’re trying to stop and reverse it.
Can A2M injection therapy stop degeneration and regrow a disc or cartilage?
A2M does not just stop degeneration, it is also proven that the A2M molecule has growth factor binding sites. With the patented APIC system, your A2M is concentrated up to 7 times. This powerful serum can then protect and potentially help to repair your damaged cartilage. A2M candidates experience natural healing through reduction of additional deterioration, as well as the potential of tissue growth from naturally occurring compounds in their own blood stream.
Does A2M injection therapy work only for joints and discs?
No, it has also been shown to be very effective with other conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
How do I know if A2M injection therapy is for me?
As mentioned above, we perform a through physical examination, a complete history and a specific and accurate diagnostic test (FAC test) which looks for a unique biomarker in your joint or disc space that indicates the presence of a destructive group of enzymes. This process ensures the A2M injection therapy efficacy. If this destructive group of enzymes is present, you are a candidate for A2M. A treatment plan will be discussed with you at that time.
How many regenerative medicine A2M injection treatments do I need?
Some patients may require only one treatment while others may require repeat treatments. It depends on a patient’s specific conditions and how severe the degeneration is. Often, patients come for regenerative medicine treatments after they have developed a significant degenerative condition and have tried multiple other treatment protocols. Causes for pain are also different from person to person. Our regenerative medicine procedures are specifically tailored to your specific problem and your particular conditions. Basically if your pain goes away after the procedure and you are able to function and it does not come back, then you do not need additional treatments. If your pain begins to recur after a specific period of time, for example six months or a year, then a repeat treatment will be necessary. Some patients may require periodic maintenance treatments to maintain optimal function. For example, an athlete with a painful joint condition. One of the distinct advantages of regenerative medicine is that a treatment is specifically designed for your individual pain conditions. It is also very important to note that repeat regenerative medicine procedures do not result in any long term harm to your joints or spine. This is a distinct advantage over other pain management procedures such as steroid injections what can cause harm with repeated injection.
Is there a risk with regenerative medicine A2M injection therapy?
Regenerative medicine A2M injection therapy is a minimally invasive non-surgical medical intervention. Every type of interventional procedure has a potential risk. However, the risk of a regenerative medicine A2M procedure is extremely low and is no greater than any other type of injection treatments such as joint injections with steroids.
Dr. Bleiweiss has been performing minimally invasive interventional procedures for 30 years and is extremely meticulous and cautious in assuring that any risk of a particular procedure is minimized.