What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem Cell Therapy is a modern Regenerative Medicine treatment with the capacity to repair injured, torn, or arthritic tissue when delivered directly, through non-surgical means, to the site of the problem. Stem Cells have the ability to “home in” to damaged tissue, going to the source of your problem. Stem Cells then release biological signals at the site of tissue damage, which “direct” your body’s own cells to divide, heal, and regenerate. Much of the excitement surrounding Stem Cells lies in their potential to repair partial thickness muscle tears and osteoarthritis, while avoiding surgical treatment and joint replacements.
Though cutting edge, Stem Cell Therapy is a natural process whereby cells are simply taken from one area and introduced to another where they initiate biological activity on their own and enhance your own natural healing. As evidence for the benefit of Stem Cell Therapy continues to grow, it is thought to be the future of non-operative musculoskeletal medicine and may very well become the standard treatment for a variety of painful conditions.
What are Stem Cells
Stem cells are cells that have the ability to replenish themselves as well as to turn into other types of cells, called ‘differentiation.’ For musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis or muscle, tendon, and ligament problems, a specific type of stem cell called a ‘mesenchymal’ stem cell is desired as the mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to turn into bone, cartilage, fat, ligament, tendon, or muscle cells. It remains unclear exactly how Stem Cell Therapies work, but the current understanding based upon the latest research, indicates mesenchymal stem cells work by signaling to the surrounding tissue through biologic chemical signals, directing the cells that already live in the tissue, also called ‘native cells,’ to begin the healing process. Regardless of the specific mechanism for how the mesenchymal stem cells work, evidence is mounting that Stem Cell Therapy can improve pain and function of a multitude of conditions and may help to avoid surgery in some cases.
Where do RIC’s Stem Cells Come from?
The primary source for Stem Cell Therapy at RIC is from Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC), that is mesenchymal stem cells harvested from your hip. This is a minimal invasive process with minimal discomfort. These cells are minimally manipulated and used in the same day.
Several other Regenerative Therapies also are options should BMAC not be the right choice for you. RIC will help you determine the right therapy based on your specific condition. Other options may include the use of your own Fat/Adipose or use of tissues from donated sources, called “allograft”, including Amniotic Allograft or Umbilical Cord Blood Allograft which come from healthy, screened donors.
Is the type of Stem Cell Therapy that RIC performs ethical?
Yes! RIC’s Stem Cell Therapy comes from your own bone marrow, so there are no ethical issues with this tissue. Cells from both Umbilical Cord Blood and Amniotic Allograft are not from embryos and as such there are no ethical issues. These tissues comes from placenta which is typically discarded and destroyed after a cesarean section.
What should I expect during my treatment?
The process is typically a simple one hour, in-office procedure. Spine procedures are performed in a surgery center. A medical exam will diagnose your injury/condition during which we may view your pathology with diagnostic imaging. Your problem area will then receive the regenerative medicine injection, under imaging guidance. Depending on whether we use an autologous graft from your own body, or an allograft, we may first draw tissue from your own body before re-injecting it. You will then be given a recovery protocol to allow the healing process to initiate.
Peripheral joint procedures are performed in office and take about an hour. Spine procedures are performed in a surgery center, and you can go home the same day. Typically a medical exam will be performed prior to a procedure, including reviewing the history of your condition, performing a physical exam, and reviewing related imaging studies to provide a specific diagnosis to provide the most precise treatment.
Your problem area will then receive the Regenerative Medicine injection under imaging guidance. If an autologous graft is used (i.e. tissue from your own body), this will first be drawn from your body and processed following FDA regulations of minimal manipulation. You will then be given a recovery protocol to allow the healing process to initiate.
Why is imaging guidance important?
RIC physicians only perform injections with live ultrasound or fluoroscopic x-ray guidance. This allows the exact location of the needle to be seen in your joint or muscle for precise delivery. This is a crucial practice, and not all practitioners adhere to this standard.
Who is a good candidate for Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem Cell Therapy may be a natural treatment option that can avoid surgery for people with chronic joint, muscle or tendon conditions. Some conditions that Stem cell Therapy may treat include arthritic joints, labral tears, partial thickness rotator cuff tears, tendon problems, and back pain resulting from facet syndrome or degenerative disc disease.
Does insurance cover Stem cell Therapy? How much will it cost?
Insurance generally does not cover Stem Cell Therapy. CROM’s self-pay pricing is very competitive and we strive to provide this treatment as cost-effectively as possible. The cost of treatment depends on the area treated, dose and type of treatment used. Please contact us for more information.
How many Regenerative Treatments will I need?
RIC’s goal is to treat specific injuries with a single treatment. We want to be as effective as possible with one treatment, and minimize unnecessary cost to you. However, some cases can be quite challenging, and depending on factors such as severity of your pain, severity of the problem, your age, and area that is being treated, additional processes may be considered.