What to Look for When Considering Stem Cell Therapy

With medicine today, it is important for you to be your own health care advocate.  Here is a list of things to consider when deciding about stem cell therapy treatment:


1.   What type of doctor is performing the procedure?

Pain management doctors, while excellent at treating chronic pain, have no surgical experience and many are unable to manage potential complications in the setting of an undesirable event. 

Primary care physicians (sports medicine physicians), have a fellowship in family medicine sports medicine, not orthopedic sports medicine.  There is no relationship between the two. 

Orthopedic surgeons are the best specialty to manage any musculoskeletal complaint from beginning to end.  No other specialty offers the authority or knowledge base from basic science to cutting edge technology that serves to keep patients active and functional as long as possible. 

2.  Do they have an understanding of the science behind stem cells? 

A basic knowledge of immunology and stem cell biology relative to musculoskeletal tissues is basic curriculum for orthopedic surgery residency.   Can they explain how stem cells work?

3.  Is the physical cause of the joint issue being addressed? 

Simply correcting the catabolic joint fluid catastrophe only treats part of the problem.  Many times, an unloader type brace is essential in changing the alignment of your body. If the cause of the disease is not addressed, progression, albeit at a lower rate, is certain.  

4.  Are the stem cells from your OWN BONE MARROW?

Which means you will have a procedure to remove the bone marrow, usually from the hip area.  The FDA has ruled that stem cells must be removed and returned to the patient during same setting. Therefore, the bone marrow harvest and the injection of the cells will be performed during the same office visit.

In addition, cells from adipose (fat) tissue are not approved by the FDA to be used for anything other than replacing, restoring or supplementing fat tissue.  Joints are not fat tissue.  Unfortunately, the clinics that are using fat cells to treat joints and areas other than fat,  have been given 3 years to comply.  

5.  Do they have a cell counter so they know what they are delivering to you?

A cell counter counts the number of viable stem cells that you are receiving.  Shouldn’t you know what you’re paying for? Don’t you want to know if the ‘expert’ did the procedure right or not?

6.  Perhaps most importantly, once the spin is complete, is the plasma fraction ultra-filtered to remove the inflammation causing proteins?

This step is critical and has direct effects on the short, intermediate and long term effects of treatment.  Once the bone marrow has been through the centrifuge, there will be three distinct layers:  the red blood cell layer which is discarded, the stem cell layer, and the plasma layer.  The plasma layer should be filtered and injected with the stem cells.  This step works, by filtering out the inflammation causing proteins which allows the joint to have a jump start on healing.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have about stem cell therapy treatment.  We are happy to help guide you whether you are considering stem cell therapy at Regenerative Medicine Clinic or elsewhere.

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