As your healthcare provider, it is our medical obligation to provide you with the current treatment options available. Over the past decade, the medical field has benefitted from stem cell research. These research endeavors have given way to the new and exciting field of regenerative medicine. This field focuses on the use of stem cells to aid in the repair of damaged tissues such as bone, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. We believe the use of stem cells is a safe treatment option. Stem cells offer natural healing of damaged tissue, and can potentially prevent further tissue degeneration.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are natural cells within the human body. Stem cells are immature cells that have not fully differentiated into their designated tissue line. Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to form into bone, cartilage, fat, and muscle. Under the right conditions, stem cells are capable of providing a strong cell signaling response to the body with the potential to repair, and possibly regenerate damaged tissue.
Where do adult stem cells come from?
Adult stem cells are present within a variety of tissues and organs, the most common sources being bone marrow and fat (adipose) tissue.
How are stem cells obtained and prepared?
Stem cells can be harvested from the patient or be purchased through a medical supplier. Amniotic stem cells are retrieved from amniotic products including umbilical cord, placenta, or amniotic fluid. Amniotic products can be donated to the medical field, which are then processed and sold for therapeutic use. One of the richest sources of stem cells is bone marrow from the patient. In the harvesting procedure, the doctor removes (aspirates) from the pelvis. The stem cells are then injected at the site of injury.
Will my body reject the stem cells?
Stem cells are safe. No major adverse side effects have been reported. Amniotic stem cells have been processed and sterilized. Local reaction to the injection is possible, but rejection is not likely. Stem cells that are aspirated from your own tissue have little chance of rejection.
Does this treatment regrow lost or damaged cartilage?
No. The treatment’s successful effect as with all regenerative cellular therapy is to decrease inflammatory mediators, slowing the enzymes that cause cartilage decay, promoting the production of healthy joint fluid and as many other positive effects on the joint as possible. Cartilage repair has been shown to occur in a very small degree and is not the primary goal of treatment.
How many treatments are needed?
In general, we start with one injection and follow your clinical response. If necessary, more injections can be utilized if clinically required.
When can patients return to normal daily activities?
Patients receiving injections of stem cells are to abstain from physical labor, high impact exercise or full sports activities for six weeks in order to give the tissue reparative process optimal time to heal. Patients are encouraged to engage in light, low impact, aerobic exercise, such as walking, stationary biking, or swimming.
What patients are optimal candidates for regenerative-orthobiologic cellular therapies?
The optimal patients do not have any joint deformity or instability. Optimal patients are in generally good nutritional and physical shape and do not smoke cigarettes. Ideally, these candidates prefer to use their own body’s regenerative potential as an option to possibly delay or avoid invasive surgical procedures.
Will my insurance cover the procedure?
While stem cells have been used for decades to treat a variety of diseases, their application as standalone orthopedic surgical procedures is relatively new. Research in this field is still inconclusive. Long term outcome data does not exist. Because of this, insurance companies will not yet cover these procedures.
What is the cost of the treatment?
The cost of a stem cell treatment varies based on the procedure. Further pricing is available upon request.
Speak to your healthcare provider to determine if stem cell therapy may be an option for you.