PRP Vs Stem Cell

Cell embryo, Mitosis under microscope. 3D illustration

A question we get asked a lot is “What is the difference between PRP and Stem Cell Therapy?” It is important to understand the differences and the benefits of both.

What is PRP?

  • PRP therapy is ideal for patients who are looking for long-term pain relief and healing without surgery, and for those who are not candidates for surgery

  • Platelets are the first response to injury

  • When you flood the area with platelets, repair is enhanced

  • With healing and growth factors, create an environment for stem cell recruitment and new blood vessels to bring more blood supply to the area

  • Increased level of platelets in an area stimulates regrowth versus our normal level of platelets

  • Can treat acute and chronic tendon and ligament injuries such as partial tears, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff injuries, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, tendonitis, strains, and sprains

  • PRP is generally good for helping things that may either heal on their own (given enough time) or are maybe stuck in the healing process and need a little “kick” to get things going towards resolution

  • Also used as cosmetic purposes-facials, hands, scars, hair

What to expect from a procedure?

  • PRP injections are a much simpler procedure than surgery

  • Performed as a short outpatient procedure, a small sample of your blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and spun at high speeds, separating the platelets from the other components.

  • The concentrated platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is then injected into and around the point of injury.

  • No stitches are necessary because only a needle is used

  • 20-60ml of blood taken from the patient

  • Can take up to one hour for the procedure (spin down)

  • Side effects: infection, nerve injuries, pain at the injection site, tissue damage

Main Benefits

  • Performed safely in our office

  • PRP therapy relieves pain without the risks of surgery, general anesthesia, or hospital stays and without a prolonged recovery

  • Cost less than stem cell


If the potential of stem cell research is realized, it would mean an end to the suffering of millions of people. If stem cell research succeeds, there isn’t a person in the country that won’t benefit, or know somebody that will
— Michael J. Fox

What is a Stem Cell?

  • A cell that doesn’t have a role yet

  • Undifferentiated, continuously divide, can differentiate into any cell in the body (proliferation), “blank cell”

  • Exponential growth proliferating +250 days (hence why it may take time, however why they have long term effect)

  • Rebuilds cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. “Regenerative cells”

  • Stem cell therapy would be more appropriate for degenerative diseases where there is lost tissue (like chronic arthritis, a partial tendon or ligament tear, a low back disc where there are torn fibers allowing the disc to bulge)

  • The younger you are the more stem cells you have

  • Three types: Totipotent (early embryos, can form complete organisms), Pluripotent (blastocyst), and Multipotent (fetal tissue, cord blood, and adult stem cells)

  • Sources:embryonic (7 to 10 days after fertilization) (not legal in US except for research), fetal (gonads of aborted fetuses), umbilical (Wharton’s jelly, similar to bone marrow), placental (10x as many than cord), adult (fat, skin, brain, bone marrow) (only as healthy as you are)


PRP versus Stem cell?

  • PRP and Stem Cell have been found to be beneficial in:

    • Tendonitis

    • Rotator cuff tears

    • Osteoarthritis

    • Spine conditions

    • Arthritic joints

    • Overuse injuries

    • Inflammation from herniated disc

  • Both use body’s natural healing processes

  • PRP can be used for cosmetic purposes

  • Stem cells are more powerful than PRP

Great metaphor

"PRP is like adding water and fertilizer to a damaged plant in a garden; stem cells are like adding new seeds to the garden and hiring a gardener!"

To fully understand how you can benefit from PRP and Stem Cell Therapy you can meet with one of our experts to discuss your best options.