Stem Cell Joint Injections
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?
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?
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.