Up until the last few years, all pain treatments that provided relief did not act to repair or regenerate the condition being treated. They were (and are) excellent at providing relief, but only served as a proverbial “band-aid”. That is all changing with regenerative medicine, which is rapidly becoming the new paradigm for treating bone, joint and soft tissue painful conditions.
Dr. Zamfirov at All Star Pain Management is at the forefront of these new revolutionary options, and they are now available for patient benefit. This includes several procedure options including:
Osteoarthritis, tendonitis, and sports injuries are causes of chronic pain and joint disability. With modern, regenerative medicine, stem cells can help repair, improve, and treat many serious orthopedic conditions. In the U.S. alone, 27 million people have arthritis, which significantly impacts the US economy. Sports injuries are common among younger individuals, and tendonitis affects people of all ages.
The evidence shows that arthritis is associated with depleted local population of stromal mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and this leads to a reduced capacity for proliferative and differentiation of cartilage. The basic problem in arthritis is that cartilage is still being formed as it always has been, just at a slower rate compared to degeneration. The ratio becomes unequal, and regenerative therapies are showing to help with cartilage regeneration and pain relief along with increased functional activities.
How does stem cell therapy work?
Stem cell therapy promotes the reparative response of dysfunctional, diseased, or injured tissue. Stem cells are effectively a “blank slate” and have the capacity when placed in the human body to differentiate into specific types of cells, such as nerve, tendon, cartilage and ligament cells. Stem cells have the ability to promote healing at a cellular level, which cannot be recreated with steroid injections or surgery.
Not only is it stem cells that are promoting repair and regeneration, the benefit also comes from growth factors that are involved with the procedures. These are elements that help call in the body’s repair proteins and other cells. Both PRP and the stem cell materials used are rich with growth factors.
Stem cells help create new types of cells in body tissues, which helps repair injured and damaged body structures. In addition, stem cells divide and create progenitor cells. These cells become specialized, and convert into components of tissue such as cartilage or bone as well.
What conditions are treated using stem cell injections?
Stem cell and PRP procedures are used to treat arthritic joints, torn ligaments, bone breaks/fractures, tendonitis, torn knee meniscus, and to restore function following a sports injury. To relieve chronic pain, these cells are injected into the structures, and they promote healing and tissue repair. Conditions include:
Knee– Includes meniscal tears, arthritis, anterior cruciate ligament tear, and chondromalacia patellae. Runner’s knee condition (patellar tendonitis) also responds very well.
Shoulder – Includes rotator cuff tendonitis/bursitis/tears, frozen shoulder syndrome, and arthritis, biceps tendonitis, SLAP lesions.
Back and Neck – Includes bulging discs, degenerative disc disease and spinal arthritis (facet joint syndrome).
Hip – works great for arthritis, tendonitis, labral tears, trochanteric bursitis, and tendon injuries around the joint.
Foot and Ankle – benefits are being seen with plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, ankle arthritis and more (e.g. hallux rigidus, turf toe).
Elbow– regenerative treatments have been excellent for both golfer’s and tennis elbow, joint arthritis, biceps tendonitis and more.
Miscellaneous – conditions include hard to heal wounds, occipital neuralgia, RSD, diabetic neuropathy, failed back syndrome and small joint arthritis (e.g. wrist, fingers, toes).
How are stem cells obtained?
There are several ways stem cells are obtained including from one’s own bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat) or from amniotic fluid obtained from an FDA regulated lab. Bone marrow has a high concentration of stem cells in younger individuals, so it is often the site of choice for obtaining these cells. The procedure involves taking a small amount of bone marrow from the hip, which is the processed in the same setting. Adipose tissue can be obtained via liposuction and processed in the same setting as well.
When amniotic fluid stem cells are used, they are donated by a mother after delivery via cesarean section. The mother is consented and the baby is fine, so there are no ethical concerns.
What are the benefits of using stem cells for treatment?
The advantages include:
The procedure is rejection free, as the patient’s own cells are obtained from the fat tissue or bone marrow. The amniotic fluid is immunologically privileged, so there is no rejection reaction with it as well.
There are no risks for immune or allergic reactions, as the patient’s own cells suit both the genetic and chromosomal structure.
There is no risk of contamination regarding transmissible diseases with the bone marrow and adipose. The amniotic fluid is evaluated according to FDA regulations for all types of diseases.
Does not require general anesthesia (put to sleep).
The time between collecting the stem cells and the injection of concentrated cells is less than 1 hour. With amniotic the whole procedure takes less than 30 minutes.
The procedure is simple and quick, as small quantities are extracted and injected.
Does PRP and stem cell therapy work?
The short answer is yes. There are quite a few studies that have been published looking at both PRP and stem cell therapy for joint arthritis, spinal arthritis, degenerative disc disease, elbow tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff tendonitis and other conditions.
Time and time again, the findings are consistent. Pain relief is dramatic, risks are very low, and the results typically last over a year. The downside is that the studies are smaller and are not FDA clinical trials. This means the studies haven’t been randomized into stem cell versus a placebo.
However, it is very hard to deny the continuous smaller study results showing increased function, excellent relief and the ability to avoid potentially risky surgery!
Dr. Zamfirov at All Star Pain Management offers both PRP and Stem Cell Therapy at two locations in Annapolis and Glen Burnie Maryland. Call today to find out more and schedule your complimentary consultation!