08 Aug The Real Problem with Bone Marrow Stem Cell Therapy
There’s a lot written online these days about stem cell therapy using one’s own bone marrow. Some providers will say “you should only have your own bone marrow used, bone marrow is better for regenerative medicine,” etc. This is concerning as it’s mostly NOT a good idea.
When you really look at using one’s own bone marrow, there are TWO GLARING PROBLEMS that should be taken into consideration. The first issue simply comes
down to pure math. When a person is in his or her 20s or 30s, the amount of regenerative cells available is plentiful. For instance, when an athlete is considering undergoing a regenerative procedure, bone marrow may be an excellent option. For an individual in his or her 30’s with a post traumatic cartilage defect, it also makes sense to consider bone marrow procedures.
However, once a person reaches the age of 50, undergoing a bone marrow procedure is mathematically NOT a good idea. Studies have shown that the amount of stem cells available in one’s bone marrow drops exponentially as we age.
Specifically, by the age of 50, that amount drops by about 90%. By the age of 70, it drops by over 95%. In addition, researchers at Case Western have shown the stem cells that are still present do not function as well as those when a person is younger. Basically, stem cells in older individuals get LAZY.
Studies in the past have also shown a significant problem with what is obtained even under the best of circumstances with a bone marrow aspiration. With current techniques, the needle is placed into the iliac crest of the pelvis. Approximately 60 mL of bone marrow is aspirated for use.
What exactly is in that bone marrow?
That question has been answered by studies looking at the composition. The first 2 mL contains a decent amount of stem cells. Unfortunately, the rest of the 60 mL mostly consists of blood. This has very few stem cells and not very many regenerative cells either.
So in addition to age becoming a mathematical liability for the amount of cells we have available, the current techniques for aspiration hurt the situation even more.
The combination of the mathematical decay of the amount of stem cells we have available with aging, the decrease in function of what stem cells remain, and the current technical deficiencies with aspiration all add up to a sub-optimal regenerative procedure using one’s own bone marrow.
Complications with the Aspiration
And if that wasn’t enough to discourage people from undergoing a bone marrow procedure, consider the potential complications of the iliac crest aspiration. On average, studies show a 35% incidence of chronic pain from the aspiration. This means a person may have pain that last well over six months afterwards.
In addition, there have been reports of pelvic fractures, vascular injury, nerve injury and even a bowel perforation can occur. Imagine going in for a simple bone marrow stem cell procedure and ending up needing a blood transfusion and a bowel repair!
For the younger population, bone marrow should still be in the conversation. However, we simply have much better options available today for regenerative procedures. Umbilical cord and amniotic stem cell treatments have been shown in many peer reviewed studies to be safe and very effective for many conditions.
In over 10,000 cases performed over five years, R3’s Centers of Excellence have not experienced any disease transmission, deep infection, no rejection, and of course no chronic pain as no aspiration is necessary.
With umbilical cord tissue and amniotic fluid being obtained ethically and in accordance with FDA regulations, why risk any of the complications and poor cell numbers associated with a bone marrow procedure?
R3 Stem Cell offers effective regenerative procedures at over 30 Centers of Excellence nationwide. We also have a Concierge center in Las Vegas, where patients from around the country and internationally come for first-rate treatments.
Initial consultations, whether in person or over the phone, are offered complimentary along with an imaging review. Call us today at (844) GET-STEM and we will locate a provider close to you!