Stem Cell Therapy

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that utilizes the body's natural healing mechanism to treat various conditions.

Stem cells are being used in regenerative medicine to renew and repair diseased or damaged tissues and have shown promising results in treatments for various orthopaedic, cardiovascular, neuromuscular and autoimmune conditions.

Stem cells are present in all of us acting like a repair system for the body. However, with increased age sometimes the optimum amount of stem cells is not delivered to the injured area. The goal of Stem Cell therapy is to amplify the natural repair system of the patient's body.

Types of Stem Cells

There are two major types of stem cells embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are stem cells derived from human embryos. They are pluripotent, which means they have the ability to develop into almost any of the various cell types of the body.

As the embryo develops and forms a baby, stem cells are distributed throughout the body where they reside in specific pockets of each tissue, such as the bone marrow and blood. As we age, these cells function to renew old and worn out tissue cells. These are called adult stem cells or somatic stem cells. Like embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells can also replicate into more than one cell type, but their replication is restricted to a limited number of cell types.

Use of Stem Cells in Orthopaedics

The unique self-regeneration and differentiating ability of stem cells has many applications in the field of orthopaedics. The potential benefits include the possible healing of:

  • Bone defects
  • Nonunion fractures
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Cartilage injuries
  • Tendon & Ligament injuries
  • Meniscal damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Intravertebral disc degeneration
  • Muscular dystrophies

Adult stem cells can be harvested from many areas in the body. These include adipose tissue (fat), bone marrow, peripheral blood, and umbilical cord blood. The mesenchymal stem cell is the most commonly harvested. These have the ability to turn into cells that form the musculoskeletal system such as tendons, ligaments, and articular cartilage. To obtain stem cells from the bone marrow, a needle is inserted into the iliac crest of the pelvic bone to extract the stem cells.

Currently, stem cell therapy is used to treat various degenerative conditions of the shoulder, knees, hips, and spine. Stem cells are also being used in the treatments for various soft tissue (muscle, ligaments and tendons) as well as bone-related injuries.

Who is a Good Candidate for a Stem Cell Procedure?

You may be a good candidate for stem cell therapy if you have been suffering from joint pain and want to improve your quality of life while avoiding complications related to invasive surgical procedures.

Procedure

The procedure begins with your doctor extracting stem cells from your own bone marrow. Bone marrow is usually aspirated from your hip region. Your doctor will first clean and numb your hip area. A needle is then introduced into an area of your pelvic bone known as the iliac crest. Bone marrow is then aspirated using a special syringe and the sample obtained is sent to the laboratory. In the laboratory, the aspirate is spun in a machine for 10 to 15 minutes and a concentrated stem cell sample is separated.

Your doctor then cleans and numbs your affected area to be treated and then, under the guidance of special x-rays, injects the stem cells into the diseased region. The whole procedure usually takes less than one hour, and you may return home on the same day of the procedure.

Conditions Treated by Stem Cell Therapy

Stem Cells for Knee Pain

What are the Common Knee Injuries/Diseases?

Any injury or disease of the knee will adversely affect the joint's range of motion. The most common knee injuries/diseases include

  • Knee Arthritis
  • Ligament Tear
  • Meniscal Tear
  • Patellar Tendinitis
  • Patellofemoral Instability
  • Cartilage Injury

How do Stem Cells Help in the Treatments for Knee Pain?

Stem cells are present in all of us acting like a repair system for the body. However, with increased age sometimes the optimum amounts of stem cells are not delivered to the injured area. The goal of stem cell therapy is to amplify the natural repair system of the patient's body.

How do you Prepare for the Stem Cell Procedure?

It is important that you stop taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at least two weeks before your procedure.

Preparing for a stem cell procedure is relatively easy and your doctor will give you specific instructions depending on your condition.

How are Stem Cells Derived from Bone Marrow or Umbilical Cord Blood used for Treatments for Knee Pain?

Procedure Using Stem Cells Derived from Bone Marrow

The procedure begins with your doctor extracting stem cells from your own bone marrow. Bone marrow is usually aspirated from your hip region. Your doctor will first clean and numb your hip area. A needle is then introduced into an area of your pelvic bone known as the iliac crest. Bone marrow is then aspirated using a special syringe and the sample obtained is sent to the laboratory. In the laboratory, the aspirate is spun in a machine for 10 to 15 minutes and a concentrated stem cell sample is separated.

Your doctor then cleans and numbs your affected area to be treated and then, under the guidance of special x-rays, injects the stem cells into the diseased region. The whole procedure usually takes less than one hour, and you may return home on the same day of the procedure.

Procedure Using Stem Cells Derived from Umbilical Cord Blood:

The same procedure can also be performed using pre-packaged, ready-to-use umbilical cord blood. Donors undergo a rigorous screening process to meet the highest industry standards. State-of-the-art scientific technology is used to create a cellular suspension of mesenchyme cells. These cells can differentiate in different cell types such as bone, cartilage, and muscle. The product is frozen to maintain cellular integrity. No synthetic or chemical preservatives are used. UCB has been scientifically proven to have concentrations of mesenchymal cells and other cell populations necessary to stimulate the regenerative process.

What Post-operative Precautions must be taken?

Post-operative Care

  • You will most likely be able to return to work the next day following your procedure.
  • You will need to take it easy and avoid any load bearing activities for at least two weeks following your procedure.
  • You will need to refrain from taking non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) for a while as this can affect the healing process of your body.

What are the Risks and Complications of Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy is generally considered a safe procedure with minimal complications, however, as with any medical procedure, complications can occur.

Some risks factors related to stem cell therapy include infection as the stem cells may become contaminated with bacteria, viruses or other pathogens that may cause disease during the preparation process.

The procedure to either remove or inject the cells also has the risk of introducing an infection to the damaged tissue into which they are injected. Rarely, an immune reaction may occur from injected stem cells.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Arthroscopy Association of North America American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Arthrex OrthoIllustrated Miami Institute For Joint Reconstruction