A small number of stem cells taken from the body can grow in the laboratory setting to create millions of new stem cells. Known as regenerative medicine, stem cell-based therapies hold the promise of replacing and repairing damaged and disease body structures.
What ethical issues are associated with adult stem cell therapy?
Adult stem cells do not come from embryos. They cannot develop into a new human being. Rather, these cells reside in the fat and bone marrow in large quantities.
How do I know if stem cell therapy is right for me?
Consult with your orthopedic specialist if you suffer from a degenerative disease, have an acute injury, or have chronic joint pain. Stem cells come from the patient’s own body, and these cells help heal and repair damaged tissues.
What are the side effects of stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy is a safe procedure. After you undergo a medical evaluation, the specialist will determine if you are a candidate for this particular therapy. Some patients experience soreness and pain right after the procedure. However, because autologous (from the patient) fat and blood are used, there is no chance for allergic reaction.
What are the benefits of stem cell therapy?
Repair, healing, and regeneration of damaged or injured tissue are the main benefits of stem cell therapy. Stem cells can regenerate tissues that are injured, such as ligaments, menisci, and the rotator cuffs. In addition, tissues that are chronically damaged can be repaired from diseases such as osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, and bursitis. Stem cell therapy is a procedure offered in the office setting using local anesthesia, which eliminates the risks associated with general anesthesia.
How do stem cells from fat differ from those derived from bone marrow?
Adipose (fat) stem cells and stem cells from bone marrow both are adult mesenchymal stem cells. Adipose stem cells are collected form a mini-liposuction procedure, whereas bone marrow stem cells are aspirated from the hip bone. While adipose stem cells have regenerative properties to make blood vessels (essential for nutrient and oxygen delivery to tissues), bone marrow stem cells have superior ability to differentiate into cartilage, ligaments, and bone.
How do I prepare for the stem cell therapy procedure?
To prepare the body to better receive the stem cells, we encourage patients to undergo a simple detox before the treatment. This involves stopping smoking, avoiding alcohol, and taking vitamins, which cleanses the system from toxins.
How is the stem cell injection done?
To assure correct placement, stem cell injections are done using fluoroscopy (x-ray guidance), which allows the doctor to visualize the site of injury and offer effective, accurate treatment. After cleansing the skin with an antiseptic solution, the needle is guided into the treatment region, and the stem cells are injected.
How soon can I go back to usual activities after stem cell injection?
The procedure is done outpatient, so you are allowed to leave the medical facility that day. Patients are typically sore during the first couple of days following the injection, but they can return to work after 3-4 days. This depends, however, on the site of treatment and the type of physical activity required for the patient.
Are stem cell injections effective?
In recent research studies, intra-articular stem cell injections for arthritis have been investigated. Studies used both bone marrow-derived and adipose-derived stem cells. Researchers found that injection of stem cells allowed for improvement in pain scores, increased range of motion, and better outcome scores at 6-12 months post-procedure. In addition, researchers found that participants had increases in cartilage growth and thickness, which were evident on MRI.
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