Stem cell therapy has shown to cure blood cancers like leukemia in children, shooting it to the top of everyone's mind in premiere medical treatments. Another area that has had promising results is with osteoarthritis pain in the knees, shoulders, and more. But some doctors are wary of stem cells' widespread use. In this article, you'll discover what you need to know about stem cell treatment for pain caused by osteoarthritis.
How Does Stem Cell Treatment Work?
Stem cells are essentially "blank," or immature cells that format to the cells around them. This is the body's regeneration process to create more of the same. Adult bone marrow is a rich source for clinical trials because it continuously produces stem cells. Though they are blank cells, all stem cells will not work everywhere in the body. This means bone-marrow cells are effective at regenerating blood cells and some tissue cells but not brain cells.
During a session, your doctor would draw some of your blood then concentrate the stem cells. This is usually performed with a machine. Afterward, they reinject it to the treatment site. Depending on the area, you may also receive a hormone injection to encourage the body to bring blood and nutrients to the new tissue.
Does It Work? What Are The Side Effects?
Studies show that patients have had successful regrowth of cartilage in knees after treatments. Also, the use of cell therapy may decrease the need for surgical intervention. The drawback to this is there's no standardized practice for stem cell treatment. The injection amount may vary by patient and doctor making it hard to determine where the success lies.
Side effects may include swelling at the donor site and the injection site. More serious complications have occurred such as infection, death of the cells of the donor site, and, on one occasion, a pulmonary embolism. As treatment, knowledge, and technology have evolved, significant side effects beyond swelling and slight pain are very rare.
How Long Does Stem Cell Therapy Last?
Stem cells injected in the targeted area continue to produce new cells for an amount of time after treatment. Patients begin to feel relief after a few weeks of the injection. Many injuries or arthritis issues require multiple injections over time. Your doctor will have a better understanding of how long stem cell treatment will work for you.
While it's not a miracle cure, stem cells have shown tremendous benefit for regenerating injured tissue and degenerated cartilage. Choose a doctor that has an entire recovery plan that includes physical therapy alongside stem cell therapy. The physician you choose should have a proven track record of safety and successful results. Reach out to a professional for more information about stem cell treatments.