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Stem Cell Injections: Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of conditions are treated with stem cells?

Stem cell therapy is at the forefront of modern medicine and has the potential to treat some diseases and conditions. Research into stem cell therapy is advancing at a rapid pace, and it is essential for us to at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine to utilize stem cell therapy only in conditions that are researched. We focus on using stem cell therapy to treat injuries to the body, specifically significant joints (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle), muscles and tendons, and the spine.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the “building blocks” of the human body. They have the potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells for as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a cartilage cell, or a brain cell.

What are the different types of stem cells?

  • Adult stem cells
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells

What are the different types of adult stem cells?

  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells (Blood Stem Cells)
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells
  • Neural Stem Cells
  • Epithelial Stem Cells
  • Skin Stem Cells

What types of stem cells do we use at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine?

We utilize adult stem cells. Specifically, the mesenchymal stem cells, take from the patient’s fat or bone marrow. Fat cells are usually preferred as they are easily obtainable and have the potential to develop into cartilage cells, bone cells, muscle cells, and tendon cells.

What is involved in the procedure?

The procedure is performed at an outpatient surgical center, typically with light sedation. The entire procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes. If fat cells are used to obtain the stem cells, a small amount of fat is removed out of the “love handle” area. If bone marrow cells are used, a small amount of bone marrow will be withdrawn from the pelvis. The cells are then processed in a specialized centrifuge to extract the stem cells. The stem cells are then injected into the area
that is being treated.

What is the recovery time after the procedure?

There is minimal to no downtime after the procedure. Typically the patient is advised to rest on the day of the procedure. Patients can return to work and light exercise the following day. Patients can typically resume their full exercise/training regimen a week after the procedure. Patients are advised to avoid anti-inflammatory medications, like naproxen and ibuprofen, for 12 weeks after the procedure.

What are the risks of the procedure?

The risks of the procedure are minimal. Some patients can experience bruising, redness, or mild soreness at the site of the fat or bone marrow removal. This typically lasts 24-48 hours. For patients with a sensitivity to anesthesia, there may be headaches or nausea that resolve with 24 hours. There are no known long-term side effects from the stem cells.

When will I see results?

The time frame for seeing results varies by patient, but most patients report improvement between 4 and 12 weeks. Some patients may have improvement up to 6 months following the procedure.

Do I have any options if I don’t know want to use my cells?

Yes. If you prefer to not undergo harvesting of your stem cells from either fat or bone marrow, you do have the option of using donated stem cells from umbilical cords. The cells are from live births that are freely given, so there are no ethical concerns. The umbilical stem cells are screened for disease and can be utilized in the same ways stem cells from your fat, or bone marrow are used

Are stem cells covered by insurance?

In most circumstances, if a patient is determined to be a candidate for stem cell therapy, it will be covered by insurance. Using donated umbilical stem cells is not covered by insurance.

Am I a candidate for stem cell therapy?

To determine if you are a candidate for stem cell therapy, you will need to schedule a consult with one of our physicians. Our doctors will perform a complete history and physical exam and review your medical records, if available. They will then discuss your treatment options, including stem cell therapy, and answer any questions you may have.

Contact us at 201-962- 9199 or info@pssmramsey.com to schedule your appointment.

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