Stem Cell Procedure

The human body is comprised of billions of specialized cells that group together to form organs and stem cellsstructures, such as the brain, skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and cartilage.

Every day, these cells degenerate and regenerate. When older cells die, new cells arise from stem cells. The stem cells have the unique ability to create multiple types of other cells. However, with tissue injury, the degenerative process overrides the regenerative process, which results in weak, painful, and less functional body structures.

Why is a stem cell injection done?

There are several types of stem cells, with the bone marrow producing those that promote musculoskeletal healing of the tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. These mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are capable of yielding a high concentration of the cells needed to regenerate body structures, such as an injured bone, damaged cartilage, or a torn ligament.

What conditions can be treated with stem cell therapy?

Stem cell injection therapy is used to treat cervical and lumbar spine conditions that occur from both injury and aging. Many painful conditions that can be treated with stem cell therapy, such as:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Back injuriesLigament Injury football
  • Facet joint syndrome
  • Chronic back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Herniated disc
  • Musculoskeletal injuries – tendon and ligament
  • Nerve pain

Where do the stem cells come from?

The patient’s own body has an adequate supply of stem cells, which can repair injured or degenerated tissues. However, certain regions of the body do not have adequate blood supply, which means few stem cells are introduced to the injured or damaged area.

How is the stem cell injection procedure done?

The doctor obtains the stem cells from the bone marrow, usually harvesting them from the hip area (iliac bone). The procedure is done in an office setting and using x-ray guidance.

The patient will lie face down, and the skin on the hip area is cleansed and numbed. A special needle is inserted into the bone to withdraw the marrow blood, which contains the adult stem cells.

Stem Cell PictureOnce the bone marrow blood is collected, it is centrifuged (spun) to remove unwanted cells and to concentrate and purify the stem cells. The doctor then injects the stem cells into the damaged region of the body, using advanced imaging guidance.

Another method of stem cell procedure is to use amniotic derived stem cells. These stem cells come from women undergoing a scheduled C-section, where the amniotic fluid normally is thrown away. No fetal tissue is involved at all in the process.

The amniotic fluid is processed at an FDA regulated lab, cryogenically frozen, and then kept until it is needed for the procedure. It has been a revolutionary addition to stem cell therapy with safe use in over 20,000 procedures nationwide.

What should I expect after the procedure?

The non-surgical stem cell injection is done on an outpatient basis. Your doctor will advise you on when to return to usual activity. Most patients quickly return to normal function following the procedure and are able to avoid lengthy rehabilitation periods that are associated with surgery. Once the stem cells are injected, they enhance the body’s natural repair process.

What is the success rate of the stem cell injection?

In our experience, most patients have significant relief of pain around one to two months following the injection. The tissues and structures continue to improve for the first 3 to 6 months after the stem cell injection.

Around 90% of all patients report improvement following a stem cell injection. However, this is still considered an experimental treatment, so no long-term outcome studies are yet available.

Who should not have a stem cell injection?

Most all people can have a stem cell injection, but there are exceptions. These include patients who have:

  • A blood-borne cancer and are not in remission for at least five years
  • A current infection
  • A condition requiring blood-thinning medication
  • Current malignancies