How regenerative medicine helps the body’s healing process

Katie Gollotto, DO
Katie Gollotto, DO

Living an active lifestyle can be tough on your body, particularly your joints and tendons, which can lead to setbacks like injury or pain. Repetitive use from sports like skiing, mountain biking, and hiking cause wear and tear, causing the body’s tissue to become inflamed which can be painful. While a recovery period of rest, ice, compression, elevation can work to some extent, non-surgical regenerative treatments focus on improving the healing process and getting you back in the game.

The body has the ability to heal itself in many ways, producing new cells to heal damaged tissues. Like a scrape on the surface of the skin, oxygen and blood cells work together to build new tissue and restore function. That natural ability of the body to heal is called regeneration.

Regenerative medicine harnesses the body’s natural regeneration and amplifies it with medical techniques. Depending on the application, those techniques may include stem cell treatments, blood products, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and viscosupplementation in which a gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid is injected as a joint lubricant. By interacting with and complementing natural cells and tissues in the body, regenerative treatments stimulate and speed the healing process.

For example, PRP is a procedure used in conjunction with other conventional treatments to help heal damaged tissue. The procedure involves drawing blood from the patient, which is placed in a filtration system that separates the platelets from the blood cells. The platelets, when separated, become highly concentrated and the new substance is injected into the damaged body part. This new material helps simulate new soft tissue or bone cell growth.

Regenerative medicine can be an effective non-surgical treatment option for common musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis, or tissues damaged by age, disease, or trauma. When those conditions affect the joints, inflammation can persist, causing slow healing and chronic pain. Common areas include the knee, elbow, ankle, foot, and shoulder, including in areas that tend to heal poorly on their own.

Regenerative medicine can be used on ligament and tendon injuries, fractures, and muscle injuries, or to help relieve pain from conditions such as early osteoarthritis, which may help delay the need for surgery. In cases where surgery has been performed, regenerative medicine can be used to improve healing after surgery.

Regenerative medicine is often used with other treatment options to maximize results. Athletes and enthusiasts of all types may benefit from regenerative treatments, as downtime is minimal and results can be life changing. If you experience chronic tendon pain or arthritis, speak with your doctor or a physical medicine specialist to find out if regenerative medicine is an option for you.

Dr. Katie Gollotto is a board-certified sports and physical medicine specialist offering non-surgical orthopedics and sports medicine solutions to the active Lake Tahoe community. Dr. Katie will host a free Wellness Webinar: “Stay Moving with Regenerative Medicine” on Thursday, July 13 at 5pm. Register in advance, or view previously recorded webinars at To learn more about Barton’s Sports and Physical Medicine services, call 775.589.8915 or visit

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