Stem cells for the treatment of knee pain

Stem CellsThe advent of regenerative orthopedics and stem cell therapy has offered a new alternative before choosing joint replacement surgery. Both fat derived and bone marrow derived stem cells have been used in this setting with promising initial results.

What is a stem cell ?

A stem cell is a cell that can become many things. Think of how we all develop from just a few cells into an entire person. As adults, our bodies store stem cells in our bone marrow, our fat, and in other sites. These stem cells are made by our own bodies. They have the potential to become a variety of cells.

How do we collect stem cells ?

Stem cells are currently obtained in one of two ways. First, stem cells from fat are obtained from a small liposuction procedure, usually from fat around the flank region where fat has robust blood supply. Second, stem cells are obtained from bone marrow. This is done by taking out a small sample from the pelvic bone. There is no final consensus on the best source. There is a separation step to concentrate the cells, and then they are ready for use.

How are they placed in the knee ?

Stem cells are injected into the joint like any other knee injection, typically using ultrasound guidance.

Do stem cells cure osteoarthritis ?

The use of stem cells is still considered experimental with some anecdotal evidence that they may help regenerate cartilage in a joint. There is no proof and we cannot make any claim that it will be successful. As there is no long term data, we cannot know for sure how patients will respond over time. On the other hand, we can say that many people have stated improvement after stem cell treatment.

We are excited as we attempt to expand the cutting edge regenerative treatment options available today for knee pain, osteoarthritis and knee injuries.

Frequently asked questions for osteoarthritis stem cell therapy

Questions, and their answers are updated and posted frequently.  If you see an unanswered question, please Ask Dr. Hacker for more information !

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[toggle title=”What is a stem cell ?” open=”no”]A stem cell is a basic cell from which other cells are made. Embryonic stem cells, which we do not use, can become anything – hair, skin, bone . . . anything to build an entire person. A person’s own stem cells that we use have the ability to become one of a few tissues: cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone. It is these cell from your own body that we obtain and use to treat joint problems[/toggle]
[toggle title=”How long does it take to feel better ?” open=”no”]With stem cell treatments, the goal is to regenerate tissues in the knee. This takes time to happen. There can be a wide range of time to see benefit from the injection. If you are going to see improvement, it will take weeks to months. [/toggle]
[toggle title=”How long does a stem cell treatment take ?” open=”no”]Stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis takes a few hours of time. The stem cell harvest takes about 15 minutes, the cells are prepared to inject and the injection, done under ultrasound guidance, takes just a few minutes to do.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Am I a good candidate for stem cell treatment ?” open=”no”]Each potential patient undergoes a complete medical history and thorough examination. Imaging studies are reviewed and a determination is made as to the potential success of a stem cell treatment. It is our goal to be sure treatments are appropriate and as safe and effective as possible. Again, as I have said before, there is no data and this treatment is considered experimental. [/toggle]
[toggle title=”Is there proof that stem cell treatment will work ?” open=”no”]No.  There is no proof.  The use of stem cells is still in its infancy. Treatments are considered experimental as there is not yet concrete proof that such treatments will work. While there is hope that these treatments will be proven effective, there is not yet any proof of success. [/toggle]

As Dr. Hacker treats knee conditions of all kinds, he is well-versed in the appropriate application of nonoperative, arthroscopic treatments and regenerative treatments including stem cell therapy treatments. For a consultation to see if this is right for you, please click below or contact his office at 619–462-3131.