Stem Cell Regeneration For Degenerative Discs & Joints

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This is a procedure to reduce pain and to increase function in a patient with a degenerated painful spinal disc.Stem Cell Injections

Our Stem Cell Treatment Options

The injection of stem cells is a biologic treatment, which means the patient gets better with time and the effect lasts longer than pharmaceutical treatments. Stem cells are suspended in platelet-rich plasma (PRP), so the patient gets the benefits of both at one price. The patient gets stem cells, platelets, fibrin, and growth factors. At PM&R Associates, we offer stem cell injection treatments for both disc pain and joint pain.

STEM CELL INJECTIONS FOR DISCS

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?

In order to obtain stem cells, fat must be taken from your abdomen by a needle and syringe aspiration. Fluid with numbing medication is injected before the fat is removed with a syringe. The fat is dissolved and the stem cells are obtained and mixed with platelet-rich plasma, which is obtained from you blood. After the stem cells have been processed and mixed, they are injected into the degenerated discs.

Will the Procedure be Painful?

Discomfort at the site where the fat is obtained 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.

STEM CELL INJECTIONS FOR JOINTS

What is a Stem Cell Injection for Joint Regeneration?

This is a procedure where stem cells are first obtained, usually from fat, and then are injected into a degenerated joint. The injection is done using either x-ray or ultrasound guidance.

What is the purpose of a stem cell injection for joint regeneration?

This is a procedure to reverse the degenerative changes, reduce pain, and increase function of a degenerated painful joint such as the hip or knee.

Am I a Candidate?

Anyone with a painful degenerated joint is a candidate. Although, many patients are candidates for joint replacement surgery, they don’t want or can’t have such a major surgery. Reasons to choose a stem cell injection instead of surgery include having other medical conditions where you cannot tolerate a big surgery, you want to avoid the pain of the surgery and the pain of the rehabilitation afterward, or you simply don’t want to have any more surgeries.

You do not have to wait until the degeneration has gotten so bad that replacement surgery is indicated. You can have stem cell injections anytime.

How is the Procedure Performed?

In order to obtain the stem cells, fat must be taken from your abdomen by a needle and syringe aspiration. Fluid with numbing medication is injected before the fat is removed with a syringe. The fat is dissolved and the stem cells are obtained and mixed with platelet-rich plasma, which is obtained from your blood. After the stem cells have been processed and mixed, they are injected into the affected joint in the same manner as any other joint injection.

Will the Procedure be Painful?

There is some discomfort with the syringe aspiration to remove the fat for the procedure. Fluid with numbing medication is injected first, and there is a little discomfort with this part of the procedure. Most people think the discomfort is mild, but if necessary, mild intravenous sedation can be used. There is minimal pain from the actual injections into the joint. The skin and the tissue below the skin are numbed and the smallest needle possible is used. This joint injection is probably not as painful as some other injections you may have had because patient comfort is very important to us, and we are not in a hurry.

What are the Risks and Side Effects?

The most common side effect is discomfort at the site where the fat is obtained. This is mild and goes away in a few days. Less common side effects include bleeding, which can happen whenever a needle punctures the skin, and infection. We have never had an infection or significant bleeding.

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; all our patients who have gone through this procedure have seen results by then. Patients continue to get better 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 injections 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.

 

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