What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem Cell therapy is a type of regenerative medicine treatment, aimed at healing your injuries by regenerating tissue. Stem cells are found throughout your body and are working constantly to balance tissue breakdown and tissue regeneration. Without active stem cells, you would die as your body could not repair itself.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?
Adult stem cells have several unique properties that make them different from your other cells. Their most unique quality is that they can form new tissue types. After an injury occurs, platelets are the first responders to the site and release signaling molecules called cytokines and healing proteins called growth factors. This healing cascade stimulates local stem cells to activate, replicate, differentiate, and repair.
Stem Cell Therapy takes your stem cells from an area of relative abundance and injects them directly into an area of relative deficiency, allowing you to heal more effectively.
Stem Cell Therapy helps people with:
- Stem Cell treatments have been shown to increase meniscus volume and repair some meniscus tears. Especially effective in the absence of mechanical symptoms (locking/buckling etc) (4)
- Has been shown to be superior to Exercise therapy alone (4)
- Rotator Cuff Tears
- Studies of full-thickness tears undergoing repair showed better healing (100% healing on MRI vs 67% for non-stem cell treated) and lower retear rates at 10 years (13% vs 56% re-torn) (5)
- Compared with exercise therapy alone for partial rotator cuff tears, patients undergoing stem cell injection showed 89% at 2 years. Most follow up MRI showed healing of the rotator cuff (6
- Shoulder Osteoarthritis
- Patients with symptomatic rotator cuff tears and arthritis of the shoulder underwent stem cell procedure noticed a 48.8% improvement at 2 years (9)
- Hip Osteoarthritis
- Knee Osteoarthritis
- One of the most studied uses for stem cells.
- A French study comparing patients with one knee replaced and stem cell treated knee showed that 70% of the patients preferred their knee which received stem cell therapy. (1)
- Another recent study showed that patients who had stem cell injections into their knee, 97% were able to avoid knee replacement in the first year, and 87% had still avoided knee replacement at the two year follow up (2)
- For patients with osteoarthritis undergoing stem cell injection, there was improvement in pain and function scores, as well as improvement seen on follow up MRI imaging. (3)
- Lateral Epicondylitis/Tennis Elbow
- Patients with tennis elbow experienced significant improvement in their pain following stem cell treatment (10)
- Hip Bursitis
- Stem cell injection with bone marrow aspirate provided better and longer lasting relief when compared to cortisone injection for hip bursitis (23)
What is the Procedure for Stem Cell Therapy Like?
The procedure starts with taking bone marrow from one of your pelvic bones. This is not nearly as painful as it may sound! The sample is then placed in a centrifuge that spins at a high speed, separating the stem cells and platelets from the other components of the sample. The concentrated stem cell sample is removed and then injected into the injured tissue. We use ultrasound and/or fluoroscopic guidance for pinpoint accuracy. High-quality living stem cells, containing powerful growth factors and cytokines, helps to jumpstart the healing process. It has even been shown to improve the quality of healing when compared to normal healing.
Stem Cell Therapy is an effective treatment used for common orthopedic conditions. It can be extremely beneficial for injuries to a tendon, ligament, or cartilage because these structures have a poor blood supply. Structures that do not receive enough blood supply have a hard time healing because the healing nutrients found in the blood cannot make it to the injury site. A high concentration of healing factors taken from the blood and injected into the injured area can significantly speed up the rate of which one recovers as well as the quality of healing.
Not All Stem Cell Treatments Are Considered Equal
There is much confusion and there are many doctors claiming they are using stem cells, when in fact, they are not.
Our procedures are backed by real, up-to-date science and we make sure each patient is getting the highest quantity and quality of regenerative components. Do not get fooled by others who use placenta, amniotic or umbilical cells and try to pass them off as active stem cells. By using live cells from your own body, we deliver the most active cells to aid in the healing process.
Bone Marrow contains both mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as well as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Both of these Bone Marrow Stem Cells guide tissue healing through their communication with other cells in the region. The HSCs form white blood cells, red blood cells, and blood vessels which help provide optimal conditions for tissue repair. Due to their plasticity, they can form into other cells as well. Additionally, they stimulate the release of additional stem cells from the local bone marrow, as well as releasing growth factors and cytokines to aid in healing.
What should I do to prepare for the procedure?
We recommend that you avoid any NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, meloxicam) for at least 4 days prior to your procedure. It is best to avoid receiving a steroid injection in the weeks leading up to your procedure. Stay hydrated and try to drink at least 60 oz of water a day in the 2-3 days prior to the procedure.