8 Things to Know About Stem Cell Therapy
If you have been thinking about stem cell therapy for joint pain, you probably have some questions.
For our patients of all ages at Bennulife presenting with many types of orthopedic pain and inflammation, stem cell injections have delivered impressive results. Our extensive clinical research and experience leads us to confidently recommend stem cell therapy as an effective option for chronic joint pain and injuries. But we understand that this is not yet a mainstream treatment option - and many clinics are making some unrealistic claims - so it is hard to know what is true.
Stem cell injections are a minimally invasive way to help you get back to enjoying life to the fullest, once again. To help you better understand what stem cells are and how they work, here are eight things you should know about stem cell therapy:
1. What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the building blocks of our bodies. Their purpose in our bodies is to regenerate damaged tissue, such as cartilage. They have two very distinct things that they do: they can replicate themselves and they can differentiate into other types of cells. Since the 1970s, extensive research has been conducted into how they work and their capacity for healing.
Stem cells are found in adipose (fat) tissue, in blood, and in bone marrow. Extensive research has proven the ability of adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to regrow tissue in damaged joints. When activated, MSCs work to generate new blood vessels, grow new tissue, prevent infection, mitigate cell death, and reduce inflammation.
2. What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy is a natural healing therapy. It involves the extraction of your body’s own MSC stem cells, reintroducing them to the area of injury to initiate healing. It repopulates the injured area with new stem cells, supporting the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
3. What is the procedure like?
The procedure itself is conducted in two phases and takes approximately 45 minutes from start to finish. First, we extract bone marrow from your hip with a fine needle. Next, the sample is concentrated using highly specialized, and patented, equipment in our lab. Once the sample is ready, your doctor will inject it back into the injured area. Most patients report very little discomfort or pain from the procedure and you are free to resume normal activities immediately, as tolerated.
4. How do stem cells heal?
Our joints heal differently than, say, a cut on the arm. There is limited blood flow inside our joints, meaning that if there is trauma to the area, it can take a long time to heal—if it ever does at all. The only cure currently available for damaged or worn joints is stem cell therapy. Stem cells have the ability to rebuild damaged tissue and repair injured joints. They contain a high concentration of anti-inflammatory and growth factors. This means that the process happens naturally and will continue over time. For some, one treatment is all that is needed.
5. What is the recovery after stem cell therapy?
Since the procedure is carried out in the office under local anesthesia, there are none of the same complications or risks that are associated with surgery. Most people resume normal activities right away. The long-range healing process itself, however, is more gradual. You may not see a marked improvement for six-to-eight weeks following the procedure. By six months, the process should be complete and you may well be permanently free of your painful condition.
6. How much does stem cell therapy cost?
The cost of the procedure varies greatly, depending on the area being treated. At BennuLife, our average stem cell therapy treatment costs between $3500 and $6000. Most private insurance, including Medicaid and workers compensation, will not pay for these procedures. However, Bennulife offers some incredibly fair payment alternatives that may help. Please call to see if you qualify.
7. Is stem cell therapy legal and regulated?
Bone marrow-derived stem cell therapy is the only type of stem cell therapy that is considered compliant by the FDA. Stem cells derived from fat are not approved for this type of treatment. Once the cells are extracted from your bone marrow, they are concentrated using an FDA-approved and patented device. Manipulation at the point-of-care is minimal. While we believe that regenerative medicine is the way of the future, we are committed to using only FDA compliant procedures to ensure your safety.
8. How safe is stem cell therapy?
One of the best things about MSC therapy is that it is completely safe and has few risks. Since you are using your own cells, there is minimal risk of rejection or infection.
If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for stem cell therapy, reach out today to set up a consultation.