Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use to help injuries heal more quickly. They are used to improve the healing of broken bones and injured muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These products are made from substances that are naturally found in your body. When they are used in higher concentrations, they may help speed up the healing process.
This article focuses on orthobiologics that orthopaedic surgeons use to help broken bones heal.
When you injure a bone, muscle, or tendon, there is bleeding into the injured area. This bleeding is the foundation for the healing response. It provides a way for healing factors to reach the injury site.
In addition to bleeding, there are three factors necessary for healing. All three are orthobiologic substances. They include:
The relationship between matrix, growth factors, and stem cells.
Matrix. This can be thought of as the house in which the cells live and where they will thrive and eventually make bone, tendon, or ligament. Matrix material is conductive. This means it can form the building blocks that help fill bone gaps.
Growth factors. These are the many different kinds of proteins necessary for cells to work during the healing process. Some proteins help speed up the healing process, while others help to control it or slow it down. These elements are much like the vitamins that we take every day to try to improve our health and body function.
Stem cells. These are special cells in your body that can turn into other types of cells. During the healing process, stem cells are called to the area of your body that needs repair. Factors in the area influence the stem cells to become repair cells. Note that the same stem cell that repairs bone can also repair a tendon or ligament.