Stem cells are unique medical treatment tools because the body produces them naturally. They can develop into a lot of various types of cells. As they divide, every new cell can remain a stem cell or become a specialized cell like a tendon, muscle, ligament, or bone. As a matter of fact, a number of them can even become nerve or brain cells.
Stem cells act like an internal repair system in a lot of body tissues. They can replace some cells in the body that have been damaged or lost because of an illness or injury. For instance, stem cells in the bone marrow of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can be removed before the treatment and replaced afterward. Such cells begin to produce healthy new cells, helping in accelerating recovery.
Stem cell therapy is a regenerative medicine that has been found to effectively treat joint issues and prevent total joint destruction. Medical experts have successfully used this therapy for treating some conditions where it can help in promoting healing. These conditions include joint disorders like arthritis, cartilage injuries, chronic tendonitis, tendon injuries, and ligament reconstruction.
What’s Involved in the Therapy
The therapy involves using the cells of the patient. There are a lot of methods to obtain stem cells but most experts prefer those derived from bone marrow in the pelvis. Harvesting the bone marrow involves using lots of local anesthesia and placing a needle into the pelvis. The pain that a patient can feel is often tolerable. Once harvested, the bone marrow is placed into a centrifuge where the cells are separated, isolated, and concentrated. The final cells will be injected into the painful tissue or joint. It is also possible to extra stem cells from the fat or another source of bone marrow. The cells of patients who have a history of cancer cannot be used for the therapy.
Is the Therapy Safe?
Stem cell therapy is a safe treatment option since it uses a patient’s own cells. Although injecting a tissue or joint comes with a risk, the latter is very rare. The best thing about this form of therapy is that it does not burn bridges for future surgery. In case of an unsuccessful stem cell therapy, the patient can still safely undergo a surgical repair later.
Know the Options Available for You
If you are thinking about stem cell therapy for joint problems, make sure you do your homework first. Such kind of treatment can be costly and may not be covered by health insurance. Take the time to know more about your stem cell therapy provider. Learn about their experience, credentials, and reputation. An orthopedic surgeon should be able to give you advice on when this therapy may be appropriate to you.
By getting a treatment from a licensed and qualified health care professional, you can be sure your clinician can offer care as you deal with your joint condition and cope with any possible effects of stem cell therapy on your body.