Stem Cell Therapy
In most cases, orthopedic conditions are first treated using conservative and non-invasive treatment plans. Such treatment plans include medication, rest, physical therapy or even applying ice. It's only after those methods have failed to treat the condition that your doctor will advise you to undergo a surgical procedure. Surgical procedures present certain risks such as excessive bleeding, damage to adjacent tissues, and formation of a clot. To minimize those risks, some doctors may recommend stem cell therapy, which is an advanced form of treatment that may heal tissues without the need for you to undergo surgery.
Stem cells have the special ability to differentiate into certain types of tissues and renew themselves. The stem cells are grouped into two main categories; adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Embryonic cells are able to differentiate into any kind of body cell, while adult stem cells are able to differentiate into specific types of body cells. Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that uses adult stem cells extracted from bone marrow, fat, or amniotic fluid, which are referred to as mesenchymal stem cells. The mesenchymal stem cells are used to treat conditions caused by musculoskeletal diseases, whose treatment is limited to a few therapeutic treatment options.
Stem Cell Treatment Has the Following Benefits Over Surgical Options:
Your body cannot reject the stem cells because they are taken from your body.
Stem Cells help the damaged tissues to heal natural
It's an effective alternative treatment to surgery.
Patients aren't exposed to complications and risks of surgery.
It's used to treat severe injuries that cannot be treated such as degenerative disc diseases.
Use of stem cell therapy has found many useful applications in all fields of medicine, with many advantages especially in the treatment of orthopedic injuries.
Regenerative medicine is the use of stem cells to treat diseases. The stem cells are used because the body uses their regenerative capabilities to repair and replace damaged or diseased tissues. The Mesenchymal stem cells, which can differentiate into cartilage and bone cells, are used to treat various types of orthopedic conditions that include:
- Tendon Tears
- Ligament Tears
- Cartilage Damage Procedure
Stem cell therapy involves harvesting of the stem cells from fat, amniotic fluid, or bone marrow, processing of the cells, and finally implanting the stem cells on the site where there are damaged tissues or diseased tissues. If the stem cells used to perform the procedure are from your body, they are referred to as autologous stem cells, if extracted from amniotic fluid and then processed, they are referred to as allogeneic stem cells.
Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells
The amniotic fluid includes growth factors, stem cells, as well as the amniotic membrane. The cells found in the amniotic fluid can develop into cartilage cells, nerves, tendons, bone, and muscle cells. These stem cells promote healing through by enabling multiplication of reparative cells.
When amniotic fluid is extracted for regenerative purposes, it's sent to a lab for processing and then cryopreserved. The cryopreservation process cools the fluid down to a temperature preserves the healing properties of the cells. The amniotic fluid is sent to your physician who will use it to treat the damaged or diseased tissues by injecting it into that tissue.
The treatment using the amniotic fluid is done as an outpatient procedure and within the clinic's office setting. The physician cleans the affected area and injects the amniotic fluid into the diseased or damaged tissue. The physician may use ultra-sound imaging to ensure that they target the tissues accurately and the needle is delivering the fluid into the targeted tissue. Depending on the physician’s diagnosis, they may recommend one or multiple injections to achieve maximum healing.
Autologous Stem Cells
The autologous stems cells are extracted from your body's tissues through a brief process that's carried out as an outpatient procedure. You will be taken to an operating room where a local or twilight anesthesia will be administered. First, bone marrow is extracted from your pelvic bone's iliac crest using a needle. The laboratory medical staff will centrifuge the bone marrow to separate the stem cells from the rest of the cells, and harvest them.
Once the stem cells are harvested, they are injected into the tissues under treatment. After that, the physician will awaken you from the procedure, and discharge you within a period of one to three hours.
Potential benefits of Stem Cell Treatments
- Enables regeneration of damaged cartilage or bone cells
- Triggers tissue regeneration
- Reduces inflammation
- It’s used in post-procedure care
- Provides growth factors that promote healing
Once you have undergone the procedure, it's possible to feel a minor irritation or mild pain that may for 24 to 48 hours. Your physician will recommend that you rest for a day and avoid doing any physical exercise. To reduce the mild pain, your physician may recommend a cold treatment that you will apply to the injection site.
Complications and Risks
While stem cell treatment is non-invasive and safe procedure, just like most forms of treatment, certain complications may arise at times.
Some of the complications that may arise include:
- Painful sensation at the injection site
- Tissue damage
- Injury to neighboring nerves
Overall, you can minimize those complications by seeking stem cell treatment from a skilled and qualified medical service provider.