Top 10 things to know about Stem cell therapy
1. What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy uses a patient’s own stem cells to treat minor to moderate conditions formally where surgery would be the primary option. Stem cell therapy is an alternative to surgery through an office based procedure. Through advanced technology stem cell therapy is now a quick and easy alternative to surgery.
2. What are stem cells?
Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.
Stem cells are the only cells in the body able to morph into other types of specialized cells. Stem cells are found in many parts of the body but are concentrated in the bone marrow. Through a simple and nearly painless office procedure a small amount of bone marrow can be aspirated from the patient and then concentrated with a centrifuge. The stem cells are then re-injected back into the site of injury or damage. When the patient’s own stem cells are injected into a damaged joint, they appear to amplify the body’s own natural repair efforts by reducing inflammation, accelerating healing, and preventing scarring and loss of function. It is not only a powerful approach to all stages of arthritis but can be used for treatment of ligament, tendon, cartilage, and even bone problems.
Regenerative Growth Factors
Stem cells have high natural growth factors that promote healing. These growth factors also naturally decrease inflammation.
3. How is it performed?
Patient’s stem cells are obtained from their pelvic (hip) bone. The practitioner then concentrates the stem cells over 10 fold in a special centrifuge.
4. How long does it take?
This office based procedure takes 30 minutes. Patients can leave at the conclusion of the procedure.
4. Does it hurt?
A local anesthetic is used. This results in minimal discomfort.
How Well Does it Work?
There have been numerous clinical studies that show significant and lasting reduction in pain for a variety of injuries. Common injuries include early to advanced arthritis, knee and shoulder pain.
5. How long does it last?
Multiple clinical studies have shown that when effective, the results last many years.
Is there scientific evidence that stem cells work?
Yes see the article section
What percentage is effective?
6. When can I expect to feel better?
Most patients feel no improvement for at least 3 weeks and possible 6-8 weeks. Once you feel improvement, you will notice continued improvement expanding over 6 months.
What is the recovery like after a stem cell procedure?
There may be some mild soreness in the joint for up to a week after the injection. Heavy exertion should be avoided during this period. Anti-inflammatory products such as aspirin, motrin, advil, Aleve should be avoided for the first 2 weeks as it can adversely affect the stem cell function. Taking Tylenol is ok.
What is the difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells?
Adult stem cells are found in mature adult tissues including bone marrow and fat, while embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are not found in the adult human body. ESCs are obtained from donated in vitro fertilizations, which raise many ethical concerns. Because ESCs are not autologous, there is a possibility of immune rejection. Adult stem cells do not raise ethical issues nor pose any risks for immune rejection.
Will my body reject the stem cells? Is Stem Cell therapy safe?
No, the stem cells come from your own body and are used immediately. Therefore, there is no risk of rejection and virtually no risk of infection.
7. Is this an alternative to a knee replacement?
Stem cells can be highly effective in substantially reducing pain in patients with even advanced arthritis. In addition to the stem cells, bone marrow also contains many powerful growth hormones and anti-inflammatory proteins that will greatly reduce inflammation and promote healthier tissue.
8. Can stem cells grow cartilage in my knee?
Stem cells have been shown in many studies (see studies) to have the power to grow cartilage in certain types of procedures, micro fractures, and tibial osteotomies. The ability for cartilage to form after an injection in the absence of a surgical procedure is still an active area of academic research.
9. Can stem cells help optimize my results from a surgical procedure?
This depends on what type of procedure is done. Microfracture surgery is a common surgical procedure done to restore the cartilage surface in your knee. If your doctor preforms this procedure on you, there are numerous scientific articles (see here) that show a far more robust cartilage healing response when an injection is given post operatively.
10. What does it cost?
Most insurance will not cover stem cell procedures. Ask your doctor for payment options