FAQ’s on Stem Cell Injection
What is a Stem Cell Injection?
Stem cell injections are one of the newest treatments being made available to patients, and are focused on using special undeveloped cells of the body to heal damaged tissue that would normally not be able to receive treatment. Stem cell injections are currently being used to replace precious cartilage and muscle tissue, two things that the body traditionally struggles with healing adequately. With cartilage cells, the body isn’t able to heal them once damaged or lost.
Stem cell injections use stem cells, which are unique cells that are capable of becoming any cell of the body that they are placed near, including cartilage and muscle tissue. Stem cell injections allow for a quicker recovery process for patients, and are able to heal areas of the body that would otherwise be unable to be treated.
What will a Stem Cell Injection treat?
The full capabilities of a stem cell injection are still yet to be discovered, as there are currently no limits as to what an injection may be able to treat. Many of the theorized treatments are still in the clinical trial stages of testing, as nearly any injury may be able to receive treatment with stem cells provided they have been harvested correctly. Since stem cells are able to be repurposed to nearly every other cell type, the full scope of what they are able to treat is still being tested.
How is a Stem Cell Injection performed?
There are two methods currently in use for collecting stem cells to utilize as an injectable. Each method centers around the use of a different type of stem cell, with the first kind used being a self-cell. Self-cells are taken from the patient that will be injected into, and are only capable of being used for that individual patient. The most common method of acquiring self-cells is to harvest them from bone marrow, but many patients are beginning to opt for them to be harvested from the adipose tissue. While adipose collection tends to produce fewer usable cells, some patients may prefer it.
There are currently two treatments using adipose-derived stem cells that have been clinically tested and found both safe and effective. The first of these (Safety reporting on implantation of autologous adipose tissue-derived stem cells with platelet-rich plasma into human articular joints, 2013) uses an injectable derived from adipose tissue and platelet rich plasma to assist in the regeneration of lost tissue due to various orthopedic causes. A second clinical study (Clinical results and second-look arthroscopic findings after treatment with adipose-derived stem cells for knee osteoarthritis, 2013) examined the effectiveness of adipose-based stem cell injections onto the degenerative effects of osteoarthritis in the knees of patients, with 88% of the studied patients either exhibiting an increase in the amount of cartilage present or maintaining previous levels after a 2-year period.
How well do Stem Cell Injections work?
The exact benefit of what a stem cell injection can offer a patient in terms of cell regeneration and pain relief is still being discovered through testing. While there are numerous injections already in use, there are often secondary components combined with the stem cells which may be producing the effect. This leaves the exact amount of how much the stem cells are contributing as a questionable item, even with multiple successful clinical trials.
What are the risks of Stem Cell Injections?
There are very few risks currently thought to be present with stem cell injections. Before they are used for patients, stem cells are thoroughly tested and examined to ensure their safety. For patients receiving an injection using self-cells, there is a near zero chance of rejection or of the body having an adverse reaction to the cells. The largest risks involved so far occur with the use of a needle, which can cause bleeding or pain at the site of injection.