Stem Cell Therapy
Dr. Robert Tennant, a total-joint fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon, who has treated patients over the past 30 years is offering a new treatment for arthritic joints. Non-surgical options include anti-inflammatory medicines, braces, physical therapy, weight reductions, injection therapy including cortisone shots and hyaluronic acid. Another type of injection is in the realm of regenerative medicine which includes PRP and Stem Cell injections.
If you are suffering from osteoarthritis, there may be a safe alternative to surgery to help relieve your pain. Stem Cell Therapy, a regenerative treatment utilizes the body’s own cells to help repair the damaged cartilage affected by osteoarthritis.
Stem Cell treatment has been recognized as one of the biggest breakthroughs in natural healing by the medical industry. Stem cells have regenerative power – when injected into an affected area, your body’s natural response is to speed the healing process and repair the damage. This cutting-edge treatement provides pain relief that can last for several years. Studies now show that these injections have better results than other nonsurgical options, and can often help patients prolong surgery.
Stem cell injections are done as an out-patient procedure under local anesthetic. Patients return home after the procedure, and are encouraged to rest the area for one to two weeks. Most individuals are able to resume normal activities within a few days. This is followed by a program of physical therapy involving gradual progression of activities, targeting a full return to normal activity by three months.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are the natural raw materials the body uses to stimulate new cells, creating growth and healing. Bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) is a source of non-controversial active stem cells. These stem cells have the ability to change or turn into other types of cells – i.e. cartilage, tendon, muscle, depending on the environment they are injected into. Your own stem cells can be used to assist your body in the repair of degenerative tissues, with zero risk of rejection or disease transmission.
What conditions are treated with Stem Cell Treatment?
Here is a list of the most common conditions treated with Stem Cell:
- Osteoarthritis (knee, hip, shoulder)
- Ligament sprains
- Soft tissue injuries
- Inflammation and tearing of tendons and muscles
What does the process involve?
A consultation with one of the specialists at O+FS is the first step to determine if treatment with Stem Cell injections is an option for you. The injection(s) will likely be scheduled during a follow-up visit 1-2 weeks later.
- First, liquid bone marrow is aspirated from the back of the ilium bone of the pelvis (just above the hip) under local anesthetic.
- The extracted marrow is then placed in a centrifuge which isolates and concentrates the stem cells.
- These cells are then injected into the damaged area (knee, shoulder, hip, elbow, wrist, ankle, etc.)
Often, we will mix the stem cells with PRP (platelet-rich plasma). The PRP acts as a “fertilzer” for the stem cell. PRP is obtained from a simple blood draw which is then spun down in the centrifuge to collect pure platelets and growth factors, which are also important in the healing of injuries.
What can I expect immediately following the procedure?
Unlike cortisone injections, an injection of Stem Cells provides no instant pain relief.
A topical anesthetic is used to numb the skin prior to the injection. Mild pain and swelling may occur at the injection and donor site at this time. An inflammatory reaction occurs that varies from mild to severe and lasts 3-5 days.
Rest, icing, and elevation are recommended during this time. A small amount of pain medication will be prescribed, in case the pain is severe. Anti-inflammatory medications (nSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen should not be taken, as they may reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
Patients typically report gradual improvements in their function and reduction of symptoms over the first 2-6 weeks.
What are the possible complications?
Infection is a rare, but serious complication of any injection. It can take several days to develop, resulting in pain, swelling and redness at the site as well as fever and chills. If you experience these symptoms contact us immediately.
Bleeding at the site of the injection as well as the donor site can occur, but usually subsides within a short period of time. Direct pressure can help if excessive bleeding persists.
These injections contain your own blood plasma and cells, so there is no risk of an allergic reaction.
How much down time is required after the injection?
This varies, based on your activity level and your response to the injection. You should allow 5-7 days for the inflammatory reaction to subside prior to resuming vigorous exercise. Conditioning by walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bike, should be gradually increased prior to returning to higher-impact athletics.
How many regenerative injections will I need?
Typically, one stem cell injection should alleviate most of the discomfort. In some cases, there might be a need for a second stem cell injection or a just a PRP injection 2-3 months after the initial treatment.
Does my insurance cover this treatment?
Insurance coverage varies, but most plans do not cover stem cell injections. We can assist you with documentation if you plan to submit your bill for reimbursement from your insurance plan, but you will be responsible for the full payment for the procedure. O+FS employs financial counselors who can advise you regarding insurance and coverage issues.