What is a Stem Cell Injection for the Regeneration of the Spinal Discs?
This is a procedure where stem cells are first obtained, usually from fat, and then are injected into one or more degenerated spinal discs. The injection is always done with x-ray guidance.

What is the Purpose of a Stem Cell Injections for Spinal Disc Regeneration?
This is a procedure to reduce pain and to increase function in a patient with a degenerated painful spinal disc.

Am I A Candidate?
Anyone with a painful spinal disc is a candidate for stem cell therapy. Usually, it is done in patients who have not gotten relief from less invasive procedures such as epidural steroid injections (ESI) or selective nerve injections or blocks, TENS units, physical therapy, facet joint injections and similar treatments. The only surgical procedure that treats the degenerated discs is a surgical fusion, which is obtained from your blood, requiring extended time off work and an extended rehabilitation program and is no more successful.

How is the Procedure Performed?
With the newest development in bone marrow technology, we have switched to bone marrow aspiration to provide stem cells for our  patients..  The new technique utilizes equipment that is more effective in obtaining stem cells.  It is also less traumatic to the patient and takes less time.  Not only does this technology provide stem cells, bone marrow aspirate is full of growth factors.  With one procedure the patient gets both stem cells and growth factors.  No additional product has to be purchased!  The bone marrow aspirate can be injected directly into the joints or spinal discs that need to be treated without additional manipulation.  Bone marrow aspiration has less discomfort than the liposuction previously used, but sedation is available for those who desire.

Will the Procedure be Painful?
Discomfort is mild and goes away in a few days. There is usually significant pain and pressure in the back or neck after the procedure, which goes away on its own after a few days, but in some individuals, the discomfort can last longer. Your oral pain medications can be adjusted if necessary to help with this increased pain.

What are the Risks and Side Effects?
Infection is one of the more serious side effects. If an infection of the disc occurs, you will usually be very sick and require antibiotics. Hospitalization and IV antibiotics may be necessary. You will be given IV antibiotics before the procedure, which is done under a full surgical scrub and drape to minimize the risk of infection.

The most serious side effects from intravenous sedation is sudden death, brain damage from low blood pressure, or allergy from the medication. These are extremely rare and have never happened in my practice. A nurse will be monitoring your blood pressure, blood oxygen level, and heart rate. If necessary, oxygen will be administered through a tube inserted in your nose. These risks can be avoided by not getting sedation.

You may have an allergic reaction to any of the medications used. If you have a known allergy to any medication, especially x-ray contrast dye or local anesthetics, notify our staff before the procedure takes place.

How Long Does it Take for the Procedure to Work?
Patients are seen back in the office two months after the procedure, and by then, patients usually have started to get better. Patients can continue to see results for many months afterward.

What Restrictions Will I Have on the Day of the Procedure?
You will be asked not to take a bath or use a hot tub until all the injection sites have healed. You may take a shower the day of the procedure. We ask you not to increase your activity too quickly as you get better to avoid any setbacks.