While for some advanced or severe issues surgery is the best option, usually that is not the case. Regenerative treatments are considered low risk compared to surgery which has risks of anesthesia and blood loss. In addition surgeries where tissue is cut has the added potential detriment of removing tissue that typically is meant to stabilize and support a joint. If it’s possible to improve or correct an injury without surgery, it’s always worthwhile to consider those options preferentially.
Due to the low risk nature of using your own cells for healing, the inherent risks of regenerative treatments are lower than compared to steroid injections and surgery. As with any injectable treatment there is the risk of bleeding, pain, tissue injury, and of course no response to treatment. We minimize these risks by using standard protocols of sterility and safety. In addition by using imaging guidance during all procedures, we minimize the risk of tissue injury as well.
Yes. It will likely take more treatments if you have severe arthritis, but improvement in pain and function is still very possible.
In many people treatment can regrow cartilage or damaged tendon tissue. In more severely damaged situations that may not occur, or it may take repeat treatments to show improvement. Note that pain relief and functional improvement can occur even when tissue does not regrow.
In an arthritic joint there is an elevation of chemicals called cytokines. Reducing these chemicals can lead to pain relief. The regenerative treatments can beneficially reduce these levels. This may be one reason that people even with severe arthritis can benefit from treatment. In addition we use the regenerative treatments to strengthen the supporting ligaments around your injured joint which helps with pain relief as well.
Yes. Less severe orthopedic conditions and overall good general health predict a better response to treatment.
Thus far in the medical literature there are no reports of autologous mesenchymal stem cells (stem cells that come from you) causing cancer/tumors. Taking cells from a different person or embryo and implanting into someone else has that theoretical risk, but that’s not what we are doing. More than anything else, there are no reported pro-cancer effects of autologous stem cell treatment reported not just from Regenexx affiliated physicians, but in the entire medical literature from many different medical centers and physicians in the world.
As with any medical procedure, there is a chance your treatment will not achieve the results desired. We emphasize taking a comprehensive approach to your treatment which includes physical therapy, nutritional, and supplements along with your regenerative treatment.
Steroid injections offer short term pain relief. They do not fix your problem. The regenerative treatments are directed at the source of your injury. Besides offering pain relief, they are meant to improve the actual cause of your pain as well.
These treatments do not work fast. If you have an acute injury, improvement can be seen over weeks. For chronic injuries and pain, we gauge improvement over months. With prolotherapy we reasses 1 month after treatment. With PRP we reasses 2 months after treatment. With stem cell treatment you should expect improvement over 3-6 months. Number of treatments to heal or manage your condition depends on severity and duration of your condition. During your evaluation with the physician it will be discussed how many treatments to expect it will take to treat your condition.
Unlikely. In comparison to steroid injections which can degrade tissue, these treatments can strengthen tissue. While discomfort after a treatment can occur, this will pass after a few days. With any injectable treatment there are risks of bleeding, tissue injury, pain, and no response.
For the stem cell procedure your cells are obtained from the back of your hip via a bone marrow aspiration. Any needle insertion results in some pain. We try to minimize the pain of a bone marrow aspiration by adequately numbing the area. In addition we use imaging guidance to assure we are drawing from exactly the right place. It is not unusual to have some post aspiration soreness, but it is typically not as severe as many believe. Also note that the typical bone marrow aspiration procedure people are aware of is the one taken in cancer patients which involves a deeper core biopsy which illicits more pain.
For most cases we prefer to have an MRI of the injured joint or tendon. An MRI shows the doctor the entire structure of the joint including the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones. X-Rays only show spacing between the bone and limits what we need to see to help you avoid surgery and utilize your body’s own cells to treat your orthopedic condition.
The field of regenerative medicine is changing fast. It’s important to be plugged into networks and groups that are leading this field forward. The Regenexx center has a full basic science and engineering lab working on creating the tools for the future of regenerative medicine. As an affiliate of the Regenexx network, we are offering the newest and most advanced regenerative treatments available.
Yes. Using your own cells and tissue to treat a medical condition is allowed if appropriate FDA guidelines are followed. Over manipulation and holding cells for prolonged periods of time are not allowed. The procedures we use are consistent with minimal manipulation and same day treatment guidelines.
You should avoid any anti-inflammatory drugs such as advil, ibuprofen, and alleve 1 week before and 2-4 weeks after treatment. We will let you know what other medications to minimize or avoid. Let us know if you are taking any blood thinner medications as well.
Generally speaking a low carbohydrate diet, regular exercise, and cutting out tobacco and excess alcohol are helpful for the regenerative treatments as well. We will also provide you a list of the nutritional supplements that can help with stem cell counts.
Possibly. It depends on what surgery you’ve had done. We frequently see people who’ve previously had surgery and subsequently have their condition progress over time. Many of these people can still benefit from treatment. If you’ve had a total joint replacement and still have pain, you will need to followup with your surgeon regarding the replacement hardware. Also keep in mind that your pain generator may derive from a different location than your replaced joint.
We use the regenerative procedures to treat arthritis, tendinitis, ligament injuries, and certain peripheral nerve conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Possibly. After certain surgeries an add on regenerative treatment may be beneficial. For example after micro fracture surgery adding PRP or stem cells may have an additive effect. Another example is after meniscus excision surgery adding your own cells may help in repairing the meniscus that has been removed. These decisions need to be made on a case by case basis.
No they are not. Due to the relative new nature of these treatments, insurance does not cover these treatments.