FAQs About Stem Cells

Frequently Asked Questions About Stem Cells

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are the only cells in the body able to morph into other types of specialized cells. Stem cells are found in many parts of the body but are concentrated in the bone marrow. When the patient’s own stem cells are injected into a damaged joint, they appear to amplify the body’s own natural repair efforts by reducing inflammation, accelerating healing, and preventing scarring and loss of function. It is not only a powerful approach to all stages of arthritis but can be used for treatment of ligament, tendon, cartilage, and even bone problems.

How Is Stem Cell Treatment Performed?

Through a simple and nearly painless 30 minute office procedure, the patient’s stem cells are obtained from their pelvic (hip) bone. The practitioner then concentrates the stem cells over 10 fold in a special centrifuge. The stem cells are then reinjected back into the patient’s site of injury or damage. Patients can leave at the conclusion of the procedure.

Do Stem Cell Injections Hurt?

No. A local anesthetic is used. This results in minimal discomfort.

How Well Does Stem Cell Treatment Work?

There have been numerous clinical studies that show significant and lasting reduction in pain for a variety of injuries. Common injuries include early to advanced arthritis, knee, hip, and shoulder pain. Multiple clinical studies have shown that when effective, the results last many years. In general 85% of patients feel reduced pain with fewer symptoms.

When Can I Expect to Feel Better?

Some patients feel better within a week. Most patients notice little change during the first 2-4 weeks. Generally, it takes 6-8 weeks to feel improvement with continued improvement for up to 6 months or longer.

What is the Recovery Like After Stem Cell Treatment?

There may be some mild soreness in the joint for up to a week after the injection. Heavy exertion should be avoided during this period. Anti-inflammatory products such as aspirin, Motrin, Advil, and Aleve should be avoided for the first 2 weeks as it can adversely affect the stem cell function. Taking Tylenol is ok.

What Is the Difference Between Adult Stem Cells and Embryonic Stem Cells?

Adult stem cells are found in mature adult tissues including bone marrow and fat, while embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are not found in the adult human body. ESCs are obtained from donated in vitro fertilizations which raise many ethical concerns. Because ESCs are not autologous (the same as self), there is a possibility of rejection by the immune system. Adult stem cells do not raise ethical issues nor pose any risks for immune rejection.

Will My Body Reject the Stem Cells? Is Stem Cell Treatment Safe?

No. The stem cells come from your own body and are used immediately. Therefore, there is no risk of rejection and virtually no risk of infection. A large safety study of over 800 patients showed no associated risk of cancer.

Is This an Alternative to Knee or Hip Replacement or Arthroscopic Surgery?

Stem cells can be highly effective in substantially reducing pain in patients with even advanced arthritis. In addition to stem cells, bone marrow also contains many powerful growth hormones and anti-inflammatory proteins that will greatly reduce inflammation and promote healthier tissue.

Can Stem Cells Grow Cartilage in My Joints?

The growth of new cartilage in hip and knee joints has been demonstrated in case studies only. The latest evidence indicates that stem cells support a pro-growth environment within a joint and help the cartilage cells that are present within the joint to multiply and produce more cartilage matrix.

Will My Insurance Cover the Cost of Stem Cell Treatment?

While adult stem cells have been used for decades to treat a variety of diseases, their application in the treatment of pain is relatively new. Because of this, most insurance companies do not currently cover Stem Cell therapy. You should check with your individual insurer for coverage

How Much Does Stem Cell Treatment Cost?

The cost of a stem cell treatment varies based on the procedure performed. Our office staff can assist you with payment options and any other questions you may have.

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Copyright © 2021 Daniel Southern, M.D., Interventional Orthopedics Connecticut
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