Stem cell therapy or regenerative medicine involves the use of undifferentiated cells or their products to replace diseased or damaged tissues. Stem cells can come from embryos, or they can be found in some adult tissues, like bone marrow. Stem cells of any type can become different types of cells, and they can be used to address joint issues.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?
Stem cell therapy involves a stem cell transplant. Our doctor uses stem cells that come from the patient (autologous transplant) or a donor (allogeneic transplant). The former type has the large advantage of a greatly reduced risk of tissue rejection.
The stem cells most often used come from bone marrow, and the term “bone marrow transplant” has sometimes been used as a synonym for “stem cell transplant.” The patient is given the stem cells via injection.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Help with Joint Problems?
Stem cell therapy relieves the pain associated with joint issues, like those that are characteristic of osteoarthritis. Some research indicates that it may also stimulate regrowth of the cartilage on the affected joint, but scientists have not yet verified this.
Stem cell therapy can be used to treat larger joints, like those in the shoulders, hips and knees, but it can also be used on smaller joints, like those in the feet and hands. Our doctor can also use this therapy to treat problems involving the neck or back.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
When treating joint issues, an autologous transplant of stem cells taken from the patient’s bone marrow is typically used. After collecting the bone marrow or fat cells, they will be processed to produce a therapy with purified and highly concentrated stem cells. The doctor will also collect and process some platelets from the patient’s blood, for platelets release “growth factors” that will stimulate the stem cells.
The doctor will use an imaging device like an X-ray or ultrasound to show him the site. He will then inject the stem cells into the area as needed.
It takes time for the stem cells to grow and multiply, so the patient will not experience immediate pain relief. Most patients feel significant relief one or two months after the injection. However, this varies from patient to patient.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Stem cell therapy can help almost anybody who is in good overall health. However, the best way to determine if this therapy is right for addressing your joint issues is to make an appointment at the office of Stanley C. Jones, MD in Houston. Contact us today to request a consultation to get all the facts about how stem cell therapy can help you.