The potential benefits are endless and patients across the country (and in my office) are seeing and feeling it for themselves. Stem cell therapy can be a way to avoid the pain, costs (insurance deductibles and co-pays, time away from work), and recovery time often associated with surgery. In other cases, stem cell therapy can be a useful adjunct to surgery to supercharge the tissue repair process at the time of procedures such as arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, ligament and nerve repair surgery just to name a few examples.
Stem cell therapy is often utilized as a simple in-office procedure. The stem cells are directly injected into the injured tissue site under ultrasound guidance. Patients walk out of the office with a band-aid and begin the recovery process right away. Return to light activities is immediate and return to exercise and sports such as golf and tennis can begin within a few days, as opposed to the weeks or months of downtime after surgery.
While there is no treatment with a 100% success rate, stem cell therapy offers patients the potential to avoid surgery, with a high rate of patient satisfaction and diminished joint pain. Stem cell therapy does not preclude the option to have definitive surgery at any time in the future if one's disease state and associated pain progress over time.
Stem cells can be ethically and safely obtained in several ways now. A patient's own stem cells can be harvested and concentrated from a needle blood draw from the hip's bone marrow or extracted from fat tissue, both in the office setting under local anesthesia to numb the area. Alternatively, stem cells can be harvested and processed from human placental tissue obtained at the time of scheduled cesarean sections with the full consent of the donor. In addition to stem cells, abundant growth factors are contained in these products to help attract your body's own reparative cells to the injured tissue site where the stem cell therapy is delivered.
There have been several promising studies demonstrating the potential benefits of stem cell therapy for many orthopedic conditions. This is an area of abundant ongoing research as it holds great promise for contributing to our progress in the area of joint restoration.
For more information on shoulder arthritis, stem cell injections and shoulder surgery head over to Dr. Michael Cohn's Blog and Website.