Fuel Your Healing


Orthobiologics, also known as regenerative orthopedics, utilize substances that help
orthopedic injuries heal more quickly.
power your body’s natural healing process

Regenerative Cellular Therapies

Regenerative cellular therapies act as natural healers. Recent advancements in cellular therapy have allowed the use of stem cells for orthopedic treatment.

Adult stem cells are found in all of us and play a key role in the body’s healing process. They lie latent in your body until they receive signals that the body has suffered an injury and then they follow your platelets to the injured site. Autologous, or adult stem cells are able to transform into the same type of cell that was injured to promote healing. They are tasked to heal injured ligaments, tendons, tissues, and bones.

After an injury, or as a natural result of aging, the number of stem cells needed in certain areas of the body declines. Regenerative Cellular Therapy solves this problem by delivering a high concentration of autologous stem cells into the injured area promoting natural healing.

Adult stem cells continuously replicate and regenerate new tissues. Stem cell therapy takes advantage of this unique quality to promote faster healing of sports injuries and arthritis. Charleston Sports Medicine’s Bright McConnell, MD has extensive experience extracting your own (autologous) stem cells and injecting them into damaged tissues, where they help repair your injury. To learn whether you’re a good candidate for stem cell therapy, call the office in Daniel Island, SC or book an appointment online with Dr. Bright McConnell.

Regenerative Cellular Therapy Q&A

Is autologous cell therapy safe?
Adult stem cell therapy involves the use of a patient’s own cells (autologous) with no possibility of the body rejecting the new tissue formed. Therefore, stem cell therapy is very safe and very effective. This treatment greatly accelerates the patient’s normal rate of healing.
What are stem cells?
Adult stem cells throughout your body help keep you healthy by self-replicating to produce new tissues that are used to repair and replace old, damaged, and diseased tissues.
What is stem cell therapy?

Regenerative cellular therapy is a specialized treatment that uses autologous (your own) stem cell injections to heal your damaged tissues. One type of adult stem cell, mesenchymal stem cells, is very effective for treating orthopedic conditions.

Mesenchymal stem cells promote healing by:

  • Replicating and producing new bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles
  • Reducing inflammation and relieving pain
  • Promoting cell growth
  • Increasing blood vessel growth
  • Secreting growth factors
Where do adult stem cells come from?
Bone marrow is a rich source of adult mesenchymal stem cells. Dr. McConnell will typically extract bone marrow from your hip, and spin down the sample with a centrifuge. This device separates mesenchymal stem cells from other cells found in the bone marrow. These concentrated adult stem cells are used for your regenerative cellular therapy.
What conditions are treated with stem cell therapy?

Dr. McConnell uses adult mesenchymal stem cell therapy to heal conditions such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendon inflammation and injuries
  • Bursitis
  • Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Fractures
  • ACL injuries
  • Meniscus injuries

This regenerative treatment is an option for any type of sports injury or problem affecting your musculoskeletal system.

Is regenerative cellular therapy effective?

Dr. McConnell routinely combines cellular therapies with orthobiologic treatments such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This is a concentrate of platelets from the patient’s own blood. PRP releases growth factors into diseased or injured tissue. These growth factors stimulate the regeneration of new tissue. This combination of innovative treatments can be used to regenerate cartilage and collagen in tendons and ligaments.

Combining cellular therapy with concentrated platelets result in a powerful treatment for osteoarthritis, sports injuries, and spinal disorders. Dr. McConnell is the area’s leading provider of this regenerative medicine technique. Call or book online to see if you are a candidate.

Platelet-Rich Plasma

We specialize in an orthobiologics treatment known as “platelet-rich plasma” or PRP. PRP therapy for inflamed tendons has been used to treat such injuries as tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.

The body has a remarkable ability to heal itself. PRP is blood plasma with concentrated platelets and helps “jumpstart” the healing process. The concentrated platelets found in PRP contain large reservoirs of bioactive proteins, including growth factors that are vital to initiate and accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. These bioactive proteins initiate connective tissue healing to stimulate the wound healing process and repair bone, tendons, and ligaments. PRP can be performed in the tendons and ligaments all over the body. 


What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is a concentrated sample of your own blood composed primarily of high levels of platelets. Platelets are a critical component of the wound healing process. Importantly, platelets contain growth factors that are responsible for stimulating tissue generation and repair. Harvest PRP delivers a concentration of platelets and growth factors that is roughly 4-6 times greater than that found in whole blood.

Potential benefits of PRP include:

  • Reduced bleeding
  • Diminished pain levels
  • Reduced infection rates
  • Enhanced wound closure
  • Accelerated tissue regeneration
  • Reduction of overall healing times
How Could PRP Be Used for My Treatment?
The use of PRP varies from procedure to procedure. PRP is generally applied topically to the repair site. It is often applied to bone and soft tissue repair sites to accelerate tissue regeneration. Clinical studies have shown that the application of PRP can help reduce bleeding, minimize pain, reduce infection rates, and optimize overall healing.
Is PRP Safe?
Yes. PRP has been used clinically for over a decade. Leading clinicians in specialties such as Dental, Orthopedics, and Reconstructive Surgery routinely use PRP to deliver a cocktail of natural, bioactive growth factors. Because PRP is made from your own blood, it is insulated against the risk of disease transmission and inflammatory immune responses. The use of PRP is a safe, clinically accepted procedure now readily accessible to all segments of the medical profession.
Why is Harvest PRP Preferred over Other Products or Methods?
Harvest PRP delivers the optimal concentration of platelets to promote accelerated healing. Harvest PRP contains elevated levels of all your naturally occurring growth factors; these growth factors are maintained in precisely the same ratios found circulating in your body. Many other products simply don’t deliver platelets and growth factors at high enough concentrations.

Although synthetic products are available, these products typically contain only a single growth factor.

Am I A Candidate For PRP?
The use of PRP is considered by many to be a “new frontier” of regenerative therapy. Since clinical studies have shown that PRP can be used in many types of procedures for a wide range of patients, you should discuss your specific treatment with your doctor.
What Conditions Are Commonly Treated With PRP?
Knee: Patellar Tendinitis, Patellar Femoral Syndrome, chondromalacia patella, partially torn or strained major ligaments of knee (ACL/LCL/MCL), meniscus tears, arthritis, patellar instability

Hip: IIliotibial Band Tendinitis (ITB Syndrome), Psoas Tendinitis and bursitis, Greater Trochanteric Bursitis, Hip labrum tears, Piriformis Syndrome, Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, arthritis

Shoulder: Rotator Cuff Tendinitis or Tear, Rotator Cuff Impingement Syndrome or Bursitis, Bicipital Tendinitis, labrum tears, arthritis, instability

Wrist/Hand: de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, arthritis, other wrist or finger tendinitis, ligament tears, or dysfunction of the fingers

Elbow: Elbow tendonitis and epicondylitis, arthritis

Ankle/Foot: Achilles Tendinitis, Peroneal Tendinitis, arthritis, recurrent ankle sprains, other foot or ankle tendinitis

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Amniotic Allograft

Dr. McConnell uses Amniotic Allografts (amniotic tissue) as a regenerative treatment option due to its rich source of growth factors, hyaluronic acid, proteins, essential nutrients, and a low risk of an immune response. Charleston Sports Medicine is harnessing the unique biologic properties of the placental tissues to improve clinical outcomes for our patients.

Amniotic Allografts are a tissue graft derived from the placenta for orthopedic surgery, wound repair, and accelerated healing. Regenerative treatments, such as Amniotic Allografts, have been shown to substantially shorten the time it takes for patients to make a healthy recovery from joint replacement, joint reconstruction, and spine surgery, returning them to normal activities quicker.

Charleston Sports Medicine uses cryopreserved allograft derived from the human placental tissues developed for use as a wound covering in the treatment of localized tissue defects or areas of inflammation. This “tissue matrix” is derived from healthy, live donors that are pre-screened during pregnancy and selected with a rigorous screening process.

An amniotic tissue graft replaces the connective tissue that forms a protective covering for tendons and the spine that could help reduce the amount of time it takes to recover from these procedures. In tendon surgery, one challenge going through recovery is restoring proper movement to the area because the gliding function provided by the tendon’s protective covering or fascia is interrupted by the adhesions left from the surgery. Using amniotic tissue allografts restores that movement.

Amniotic Allograft is an option for the treatment of joint/tendon pain for patients seeking alternatives to surgery. Proven results of regenerative procedures such as allografts include patients with tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.


What are amniotic stem cells?
Amniotic tissue is derived from the amniotic sac and has the potential to become (regenerate) any one of a number of different cells, such as skin, blood, or bone cells. An injection of amniotic allograft may be useful in treating tissue voids, defects, and localized areas of inflammation.

It provides a promising alternative to surgery by promoting safe and natural healing. The less invasive approach is available at Charleston Sports Medicine located on Daniel Island, SC.

Is Amniotic Regenerative Medicine safe and ethical?
Amniotic Tissue Allografts are both safe and effective. The injections have been used over 10,000 times in the United States with no reported adverse side effects and have a 100% safety record in Europe with 100,000’s of patients.

Amniotic Tissue Allografts should not be confused with stem cells from embryos. This type of stem cell comes from the amniotic sac – not an embryo. No ethical questions are raised for Amniotic Tissue Allografts.

What conditions can amniotic stem cell injections treat?

Amniotic stem cell therapy may be useful in treating the pain associated with the following:

  • knee osteoarthritis
  • rotator cuff tendonitis
  • degenerative arthritis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • other related conditions
What benefits are included in amniotic injection therapy?

The benefits include:

  • Steroid-free. Naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Injections contain hyaluronic acid (for lubricating cartilage and stimulating cartilage growth).
  • Contains growth factors.
  • No threat of patient rejection.
  • High concentration of growth factors.

Allografts are donated from someone else and used in the patient. The most commonly used allograft is derived from amniotic tissues from the placenta obtained at the time of child delivery. The amniotic tissue has immunologic protection and has very little risk in terms of being “rejected.” Although frequently classified as a “stem cell,” allograft is derived from Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal stem cells. Allografts have cellular components, combined with growth factors, which have the capacity to differentiate into the repair of the tissue being sought. Amniotic allografts are great options for use in osteoarthritis and tendinopathy, including plantar fasciitis and other pathologies.

Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (ADMSC) Lipogems®

Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (ADMSC) is beneficial for patients looking for a less invasive option to total joint replacement surgeries. In this procedure, adult mesenchymal stem cells are taken from the patient’s own adipose stores following the tendon or joint delivery protocol. An MRI scan may be used before beginning treatment in order to determine the primary pain generator. If the pain is generated from the joint, ADMSC is a good solution. In dealing with knee osteoarthritis, if there are still progressive symptoms after a traditional treatment course of intraarticular medications and biomechanical optimization with the use of an appropriate knee brace, further options should be considered. An innovative technique, Lipogems®, was developed to obtain micro fragmented adipose tissue and Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) with a high regenerative capacity. Lipogems® technology was clinically available since 2013. Dr. McConnell is among the first in the area to bring this new regenerative medicine to orthopedic patients.

The Natural Way to Heal


Lipogems® is a cutting edge technology that harnesses the powerful healing capacity of your own adipose tissue to support your body’s natural regenerative process.

Lipogems is an innovative therapy option that employs a precisely engineered device to create an injectable tissue made from your own adipose tissue reserves. This injectable tissue is used to provide cushioning and support as your body heals.

FDA cleared device for processing and same-day injection of adipose tissue, LIPOGEMS® is a revolutionary new way of processing fat harvest to take full advantage of the complete healing microenvironment.


Who is a Candidate for Lipogems®?
You may be a candidate for Liopgems if:

You suffer from an injury or ailment that limits your normal daily functioning or physical activity.
Treatment options, such as physical therapy, NSAIDS, or steroid injections have not provided significant relief.
You would like to explore Lipogems as a minimally invasive alternative to a major surgical intervention.
The process for LipoGems

The Lipogems are created in a closed-system device that uses only sterile saline solution to wash away the impurities. The gentle process micro-fragments the fat, preserving the natural and beneficial properties of the tissue. The optimal size of the Lipogems tissue allows your physician to accurately inject a specific treatment site with a small gauge needle and minimize pain at the injection site.

An important point to note is that LIPOGEMS® is not simply – or only – a “stem cell” treatment. Rather, it’s a comprehensive Regenerative Medicine treatment. A little known fact is that if you inject pure stem cells into a damaged area, most of those cells will die! As noted above, mesenchymal stem cells need a supporting cast of other cells and proteins in order to exert their healing benefits. Unlike other so-called “stem cell” treatments, the major – and distinctly unique – an advantage of LIPOGEMS® is that the complete healing environment of the adipose tissue is captured, carefully processed, and then precisely injected.

The objective of the LIPOGEMS® product is to harness the natural regenerative process of tissues, and it is used in the treatment of numerous orthopedic pathologies.

How Are LIPOGEMS® Treatments Done?

First, the skin is numbed using local anesthesia.

Next, a thin blunt-tip cannula is inserted into the fat layer and the fat is infiltrated with a mixture of sterile saline and anesthetic. We then let this sit for 15 minutes to make sure that adequate anesthesia is obtained.

We then insert a thin harvesting cannula and aspirate the fat. This takes only a few minutes and is virtually painless. Depending on what areas or joints we’re injecting, we take anywhere from 50-120 cc of fat. (That’s roughly 4-8 tablespoons). This small amount is not enough to make a cosmetic difference!

Once the fat is harvested it’s processed using the proprietary LIPOGEMS® device to yield a powerful healing autologous tissue. This takes about 20 minutes and is done while you wait.

The resulting lipoaspirate is then placed into several small syringes for injection. We perform all of our injections under ultrasound guidance to help ensure both accurate and safe treatment.

The total length of the visit for a LIPOGEMS® treatment is about 90 minutes, but most of that time involves either waiting for the anesthesia to take effect or waiting while the technician processes and prepares the fat for injection.

Bone Marrow Aspirate / Marrow Cellutions®

Studies show patients are receiving significant improvement in their pain and function over several years utilizing less invasive treatment options, like Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMA). BMA is considered a more advanced form of regenerative therapy, in which blood is withdrawn from the patient’s bone marrow and concentrated in a special device. Stem cells are then collected by aspirating bone marrow from the posterior iliac crest. This procedure is beneficial to patients with significant tissue damage. BMA may be used either separately or in conjunction with adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells.

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