Stem cells are cells that can become different types of cells or tissues our bodies need. Stem cells are a breakthrough in medical science and were first isolated at Stanford University in 1998. The potential application of stem cells is virtually unlimited in treating diseases and is the only therapy that can grow tissue and cartilage. As we age, both through normal wear and tear as well as injury, we as humans lose cartilage in our major joints. In addition, we may injure or tear key ligaments in these joints. Surgical options exist but no surgical procedure can replenish our cartilage. This and other medical conditions have led to widespread replacement of joints with total artificial joints.
There are different types and sources of stem cells. The stem cells we provide are a product from healthy delivering mothers who are screened throughout their pregnancy and their stem cells are isolated from their amniotic fluid and cord blood. These cells are then carefully prepared by the company and shipped to us to be utilized for major joint injections as well as other areas of the body. Typically, we will need an x-ray, MRI or CAT scan of the affected area of your body. If you do not have any recent imaging we will order them during your initial consultation. We will proceed with stem cell therapy after careful review of your radiological results and assessment of your current functionality. Typically, no special aftercare is required. You will need to stop taking all NSAIDS such as aspirin or Ibuprofen before your injection and for 4-6 weeks post-injection. This is necessary due to the fact that NSAIDS can inhibit the effectiveness of stem cells. Generally, there is no observable difference in joint function for up to nine weeks. It takes several weeks for the stem cells to differentiate into the tissue which is injured or lost. You will be scheduled for a follow-up visit approximately 8-10 weeks after your stem cell therapy is complete.
Stem cells are human tissue and carry the risk of infection or tissue rejection. The risk of infection is extremely small due to the intense screening of all donors throughout the harvesting process. The risk of rejection is also extremely small. The stem cells themselves inhibit any rejection response.
Please Note: Currently stem cells are not covered by any commercial insurance plans.