Stem Cell Therapy
What is a stem cell?
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “stem cells” before, but what are they? Stem cells are immature cells within the body that are able to develop into various types of cells in your body. In other words, because they aren’t “set” to become a certain type of tissue cell, they can be used to renew or repair the damaged cells within your body. Although there has been controversy over the use of stem cells and their use has been highly regulated within the United States, stem cell therapy is both safe and effective in aiding the body to repair and heal various conditions. It is one of the fastest-growing areas of medicine with endless possibilities in the realm of healing and life-saving regenerative therapies. However, it is not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of specific conditions. Therefore any use of stem cells for treatment of degenerative conditions is considered experimental and “off-label”.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) are found in bone marrow and adipose (fat) tissue as well as in the amniotic membrane tissue. MSC’s can become muscle, tendon, cartilage, ligament, bone, fat, or other structural cells within the body. These cells have a great capacity for self-renewal, while also maintaining their ability to rejuvenate, renew, and repair a wide array of tissues that have been damaged due to age or injury. Additionally, when injected into an injured site, MSC’s that have been extracted from bone marrow, adipose and amnion tissues appear to have more of a stimulatory effect on generating new and healthy stem cells to encourage the body to heal itself. This is all done without invasive surgery and with faster healing times. When used in conjunction with OCM, the combination with stem cells appears to have a synergistic effect, leading to even speedier healing and recovery experience.
Amniotic stem cell injections
Stem cells are potent growth factor producers and also participate in tissue healing and remodeling. We initially only isolated these cells from the bone marrow however data has shown that with aging the concentration of the stem cells that are potent declines precipitously each year. While we often release these marrow stem cells at the time of surgical repair, in the office a frozen source of amniotic stem cells is now available. One cc of amniotic stem cells contains two million active amniotic stem cells and 2-50 times the concentration of growth factors found in platelet preparations.
What is PRP?
PRP or platelet-rich plasma is growth factor rich component of blood released from platelets. To obtain PRP we draw venous blood from the arm, spin the blood and concentrate the platelets. An additive stimulates those platelets to release growth factors. This concentrate is then injected into the tissue or joint. Often we combine the growth factors with hyaluronic acid, a natural lubricant.
What do we know about orthopedic stem cells?
Essentially, stem cells deliver the growth factors to the repair site. There, the stem cell either produces or recruits the growth factors that speed up the rate of repair and increase the quality of tissue regenerated. Orthopedic stem cell treatment is only as good as the doctor performing it. It can be the most highly advanced orthopedic stem cell treatment in the world, but if the doctor doesn’t know what he or she is doing, nothing else matters. It’s very, very important that that doctor has training in advanced-imaging placement of needles and cells.