Orthobiologics refers to the use of native and bioengineered cells, assistive devices, and engineering platforms to develop new treatments with the potential to fully heal the underlying causes of diseases, rather than only manage disease symptoms. In some forms such as organ and bone marrow transplant, regenerative medicine has been available for quite some time.
However, more recently, other forms of orthobiologic treatments including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and cellular (bone marrow aspirate) therapy have become more readily available for the treatment of common musculoskeletal conditions. Medical research has demonstrated benefits from these therapies in treating osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, ligament injuries and disc pain. The tissues used are your own (autologous) and therefore the risks of infection or adverse reactions are minimized.
As a result, the treatment paradigm has changed. For instance, instead of repeated corticosteroid (steroid) injections which may provide quick pain relief, these orthobiologic therapies may slow or reverse the degenerative process causing the pain. However, the pain relief may be delayed for several months. Also, athletes are using these treatments to hasten their recovery from acute injuries, and in an attempt to avoid surgery.