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Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy

    At A Glance

    • Adult stem-cell therapy is a technique that can help certain musculoskeletal conditions by using a patient’s own bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), and blood.
    • It does not involve embryonic stem cells.
    • The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, usually not in a hospital operating room, and generally takes two hours or less.
    • Conditions that regenerative stem cell therapy can help include:
      • Degenerative disc disease
      • Degenerative facet arthritis
      • Piriformis syndrome
      • Paraspinal trigger point
      • Spinal nerve injury
      • Degenerative joint disease
      • Tendonitis
      • Muscle injury

     

    A Therapy That Brings Promising Results

    Most Americans have heard about adult stem-cell therapy in which certain kinds of human cells that are stored in our body can be injected into targeted areas to replace or regenerate diseased or damaged cells.

    While much of regenerative medicine is still undergoing research and development, there is growing acceptance of a procedure in which a component of a person’s own bone marrow or fat tissue is injected into an injured or diseased area. This approach utilizes a patient’s own stem cells and is not to be confused with the more controversial idea of using embryonic stem cells.

    The use of adult stem cells for treating specific spinal disorders also draws on the healing powers of platelet rich plasma found in bone marrow and peripheral blood.

    Adult-stem cell treatments for spine, joint, muscle and tendon injuries are being performed more frequently as an outpatient under minor anesthesia and are showing good results.

    What Are Stem Cells & Platelet Rich Plasma?

    Adult stem cells are present in every human and can renew and change form to meet the body’s needs. Two common types of adult stem cells are called hematopoietic, which form various blood cells, and, mesenchymal, which are precursors to bone, muscle, soft tissue, cartilage, and blood vessels. They are different from other cells in the body due to two properties: self-renewal and differentiation.

    Self-renewal means that stem cells can divide and replicate themselves into the same type of cell. Differentiation means that they can become more specialized cells such as blood, blood vessels, muscle, supportive soft tissue, bone or cartilage.

    These special properties allow stem cells to act as the repair system for the body and are an important part of our immune system. When an injury occurs, stem cells naturally replenish and heal the area.

    In stem cell therapy, doctors extract stem cells from blood, bone marrow, and adipose tissue (body fat) and then inject them into a diseased or injured area of the body. Stem cells take four to six weeks to activate after injection but continue to heal and regenerate for up to a year and beyond.

    Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a substance in the bone marrow and in peripheral blood that contain platelets, which are not cells, but fragments that play a role in clotting and healing. Platelets are also responsible for healing injured areas of bone and soft tissue in the body.

    In addition, PRP contains important growth factors, natural hormones, white blood cells, and other vital healing protein substances, which help to activate stem cells and begin the regeneration process. PRP supercharges the stem cells.

    Doctors can retrieve PRP from bone marrow and peripheral blood. Usually, this is done through a process called aspiration.

    A doctor then prepares the retrieved PRP and stem cell substance for injection into the patient’s affected area. After injection, the PRP effects may be felt within days of the procedure, which helps patients feel relief before the stem cells begin their work.

    Learn about the Stem Cell Therapy Procedure.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What conditions does stem cell therapy treat?
    When using stem cell therapy, is there a possibility of rejection?
    What is the difference between stem cells and PRP?
    When should a patient have only PRP treatments?
    more faqs »

    How Is The Procedure Performed?

    The first step is aspiration: under local anesthesia, a doctor uses a special needle to aspirate or extract approximately 60 cubic centimeters (about 2 ounces) of bone marrow from the top of the hipbone (the iliac crest). This process takes about 20 minutes and is done under fluoroscopy (X-ray television). A modified liposuction is used to harvest fatty tissue usually from the belly area.

    A specially trained technician then processes the bone marrow aspirate or fatty tissue in order to isolate the stem cells. There is no manipulation of the stem cells. Nothing is added or altered in any way. The cells are not grown in a laboratory to be used later.

    The process takes approximately 45 minutes for bone marrow and 90 minutes for fatty tissue processing. (The doctor performing the procedure makes the decision to use bone marrow stem cells or stem cells from the fatty tissue based on the condition being treated.)

    After the stem cell processing, the doctor then injects the stem cells into the problem area(s). This may take 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the location and number of areas being treated.

    The entire procedure usually takes one to three hours and is performed in an outpatient facility.

    Risks & Recovery

    The risks associated with stem cell therapy are very small and similar to those of pain injections or other minor outpatient procedures. These risks occur rarely and are minor compared to the alternative solution, which is surgical intervention. They include:

    • Swelling
    • Infection
    • Bleeding at the injection site
    • Stiffness or pain at the injection site

     

    These symptoms may last anywhere from a few days to a week. Healing is a very individual process. It can be affected by current state of health, activity level, diet and more.

    Some patients notice a reduction in pain within weeks of treatment, while for others improvements may take months. There is not a 100-percent guarantee that the procedure will work. However, early studies have shown good results, and experience at Biscup Spine has shown a very high success rate.

    In addition, Biscup Spine believes in the healing power of natural supplements, avoiding the use of pain killers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin like medicines. We suggest our Accelerated Recovery Program, which combines the use of scientifically proven supplements, good nutrition, and proper exercise.

    Who Does Stem-cell Therapy Help?

    Not everyone is a good candidate for stem cell therapy. Any doctor offering this treatment should screen patients thoroughly based on a review of symptoms, results of magnetic-resonant imaging (MRI), a physical exam, and other testing.

    Generally, the best candidates have a history of some or all of the following:

    • A condition that does not have a good surgical solution such as painful degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, failed back surgery, and spinal nerve injury.
    • Were told there is nothing else that can be done for their musculoskeletal disorder
    • Were referred to a chronic pain management program
    • Were dependent on pain medication to get through the day
    • Have tried many alternative therapies with no improvement in pain such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, epidural injections, and medication.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How many stem cell treatments can a person have?
    How long does it take for stem cell/PRP treatments to work?
    What is the cost of Stem cell and/or PRP Therapy?
    Will Stem Cell Therapy be covered by my Insurance?
    Can I talk to someone who has had Stem Cell Injections?