TRIA Orthobiologics


Article by David Scheller

Photography by TRIA

TRIA was founded in 2005 to provide comprehensive, convenient and compassionate care for all conditions relating to bones, joints, muscles and soft tissues. To do this, TRIA’s leadership knew they would always have to innovate. Their walk-in orthopedic urgent care clinic was the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota, and their hotel recovery program redefines what constitutes a hospital stay.

But TRIA is not content merely to reinvent orthopedic care. As one of the world’s eminent orthopedic research centers, they are also revolutionizing their field of medicine. Nothing demonstrates this so plainly as TRIA’s pioneering Orthobiologics Program.

Orthobiologics is an emerging field of medicine which utilizes tissue-derived substances such as proteins and carbohydrates. When these natural products are introduced to the site of a broken bone or injured muscle, tendon, or ligament, they may dramatically reduce inflammation and accelerate the healing process. 

In essence, TRIA’s Orthobiologics Program is harnessing the body’s innate healing mechanisms to shorten their patients’ recovery periods and help them live in greater comfort. The Orthobiologics Program makes physical therapy and pain management tools more effective for TRIA’s patients, and also helps others delay their surgeries – or avoid them altogether.

“My mother inspired me to study how we can use the body’s own biology to heal itself,” said Dr. Brian Cunningham, vice chair and director of inpatient orthopedics for TRIA. “She lived with debilitating arthritis during her later years, and underwent several joint replacement surgeries in attempts just to manage her pain. 

“As drugs which can alter the body’s natural, biologic pathways became available, I recognized their potential at once. What if they could alter the trajectory of an injury, disease, or degenerative condition, and spare people like my mother from so much suffering?

“I am always looking for places of innovation and development. I saw many research centers doing biologics work, but none were employing it as part of a fully realized treatment program. In February of 2020 we began discussing what TRIA’s Orthobiologics Program would look like, and how it could create the best courses of treatment for our patients.

“We developed our Orthobiologics Program in the hope that it would become a model for future programs of its kind throughout the world. As with everything else we do at TRIA, this program is intended to advance our field of medicine while better adapting it to a clinical setting. It was equally important to us to provide this groundbreaking treatment to anyone in our community who could benefit from it.

“Traditionally, long-term solutions such as surgery and replacing lost cartilage with implants have been standard practice in orthopedics. But these are not ideal solutions, as they do not restore a body’s original functionality. This next leap forward in medicine – and I do genuinely believe orthobiologics are the future – will optimize the inner workings of our own bodies to treat and even cure a great many types of injuries and conditions.

“We officially launched our Orthobiologics Program in October of 2020, and we are already seeing sound evidence of its success. Many of TRIA’s patients have reported positive results from their orthobiologic treatments during follow-up consultations, and our research into this exciting branch of medicine only becomes more promising with time.

“And just as I had hoped from the onset, orthobiologics can slow down the progression of arthritis. In some cases, they have apparently gotten rid of it completely.

“There are currently countless ads for quick fixes, and seemingly miraculous treatments like stem cell therapy entering the market as well. What these promises do not offer is transparency. Our team at TRIA truly distinguishes ourselves in that regard: We’re committed to explaining exactly how orthobiologics work to our patients so they can better understand how we’re helping them to heal faster, live with less pain, and avoid invasive procedures like surgery.”

TRIA is currently offering their Orthobiologics Program at their orthopedic center in Bloomington. You may learn more about it and schedule an appointment at tria.com/orthobiologics.

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