Growing older and certain repetitive activities have two things in common. They can both cause wear and tear of cartilage. This degrading of cartilage can lead to pain, inflammation and arthritis. Fortunately, there are treatments which can minimize the symptoms of cartilage damage. In some situations, cartilage repair is possible with stem cell therapy.
What Are Stem Cells and Where Do They Come From?
Stem cells are cells in the body with the unique ability to develop into various types of cells. They are part of the human body’s repair system. There are two types, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. These cells divide and renew themselves over long periods of time. They cannot do specific functions because they are unspecialized; however, they have the potential to become specialized into specific cells like muscle, blood cells and cartilage.
Stem cells can be found in different parts of the body. Concentrated amounts are found in the bone marrow. New cartilage is regenerated by using adult stem cells. These cells are extracted from bone marrow and centrifuged to create a concentrated quantity.
Cartilage Repair with Stem Cells
The concentrated stem cells are injected into the damaged joint. Growth factors in the stem cells increase healing and decrease inflammation. This simple procedure takes less than an hour on an outpatient basis. Local anesthetic is used to minimize discomfort during the procedure.
Cartilage repair with stem cell therapy has been highly effective, though not all patients respond well to the treatment. The majority of patients see results that can last up to several years.
Stem cell therapy does not produce immediate results. It may take a few weeks before you notice any changes. When you do begin to feel better, the improvement will continue for six months or more.
Dr. Steven Struhl will be happy to answer your questions about this therapy for cartilage repair. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation appointment.