Compared with surgery, stem cell therapy is minimally invasive and cost effective. Conditions treated with stem cell therapy include arthritis, acute or chronic ligamentous, and tendon or muscle injuries. They are particularly effective in knee and hip arthritis, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, knee and Achilles tendonitis, and knee meniscus tears.
Stem cell injections offer a very unique and cutting-edge option for injury healing. Whether harvested from bone or fat tissue, stem cells have the special ability to transform into other cell types, such as muscle, cartilage, vessels, or bone. They also help trigger local cells adjacent to the injury to begin the reparative process. Stem cells are a very powerful and versatile healing option, and we are just beginning to tap into the potential of this exciting treatment.
Cells from bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue:
Bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) is one form of stem cell therapy in which Dr. O’Donnell obtains stem cells from your hip bone. The stem cells are then concentrated and injected into the injured or degenerative body part. The procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia and ultrasound guidance. The procedure is minimally painful and very well tolerated and takes about an hour.
Adipose derived stem cells (ADSC) are harvested from abdominal fat through a virtually painless procedure done in the office. The cells are collected with a device that performs a mini liposuction. The cells are then washed and purified and then injected back into the injured or degenerative body part using ultrasound guidance. The whole procedure takes a little over an hour. Evidence suggests that adipose cells contain the richest concentration of healthy stem cells in the body.
Safety and what to expect:
Stem cell therapy is very safe and with little downtime for recovery. Typically, these procedures require much less recovery and downtime compared to surgery. Patients are often back to exercising nearly immediately and back to full activity within 6 weeks. In addition, the risk of serious side effects is virtually zero given that the medicine is the patient’s own body. With any procedure, there remains a small risk of infection.
Evidence and effectiveness:
Mounting evidence for stem cell therapy demonstrates very promising results. Several studies show benefit even in patients with severe disease who have failed traditional treatments. In some cases, the results have been so dramatic that patients have put off or even canceled major surgeries like total joint replacement. That said, not all patients are candidates or will respond to treatment, and full treatment effects can take several weeks to months.