Growth factors: what they are, how they are applied and what they are used for

What are growth factors?

Growth factors are proteins that are inside the cells at the cytoplasm level and that, it has been discovered, have an important stimulating activity on the regeneration of organic tissues. Since this discovery, attempts have been made to obtain them in order to apply them in medicine. Nowadays it is a technique totally surpassed in terms of its obtaining and in the application in diverse fields of the medicine it has demonstrated to be of great utility.

What are growth factors indicated for in the field of rheumatology?

The most important indications in the field of rheumatology are all degenerative processes, i.e. when tendons or articular cartilage begin to wear out. We know that we cannot influence this process except with the application of this new technique. All this is intended to avoid, in many cases, the need for replacement surgery.

Thus, the main indications would be chondromalacia, chondropathies, chronic tendinitis of the shoulder or other locations.

How are they applied and what are their side effects?

The application of growth factors is performed directly in the affected area but the technique to obtain them is from platelets, since they are the cells richest in growth factors. Based on this knowledge, a blood extraction is made, which is centrifuged and from which the plasma is obtained, which carries the concentration of platelets that in turn carry the growth factors in their cytoplasm. However, they are not activated, so before application they must be activated by the application of calcium chloride, which produces the activation of the growth factors. Once prepared, they are applied in the indicated area, either intra-articular or tendon level, depending on the area to be treated.

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As for side effects, there are no side effects, since the factors are homologous, from the patient himself, so there is no problem of rejection, hence the great advantage and ease of application of this new technique.

What are the results obtained so far?

Our personal statistics go back to the last four years during which we have been able to monitor a significant number of patients and we have observed so far that the results in terms of improving cartilage resistance, reducing inflammation, reducing pain and stopping the progression of this whole process, is around 80%.

We do not have comparative groups so far but based on personal experiences we have to say that the results are frankly encouraging.