Stem Cell Therapy for Orthopedic Injuries in Fairfield County, CT
Deterioration of your joints and connective tissues due to aging, wear, and injury used to be viewed a condition that could only be fixed by surgery (or in some cases not at all). In recent years, advances in stem cell research have given doctors new hope that patients suffering from long-term pain may finally have an option for alleviating some of their discomfort.
Autologous stem cell therapy has shown convincing results in treating conditions such as:
- Partial tears
- Tendon inflammation
- Moderate levels of osteoporosis
Autologous Stem Cells
Autologous stem cells refer to stem cells that are taken from the patient's own body. The cells used during orthopedic stem cell therapy are known as adult mesenchymal, multi-potent stem cells. Unlike the more controversial embryonic stem cells which are harvested from in-vitro fertilizations, adult mesenchymal stem cells are taken from either the patient's own bone marrow or their adipose tissues. Adipose tissues are another name for fat cells.
During normal biological functions, when a part of your body is injured, the mesenchymal stem cells in your bone marrow release into the blood stream and produce proteins that reduce inflammation and stimulate the growth of healthy new cells in the damaged area. The stem cells then adopt the characteristics of the surrounding cells to further assist with healing. Because they are multi-potent, they can only take on the characteristics of certain types of materials. These include bone, cartilage, muscle, and other connective tissues. They can't, for example, replicate tissues of the brain or other organs.
As we age, the supplies of these cells diminish. The goal of orthopedic stem cell therapy is to take stem cells from abundant areas in the body, and move them to locations where the supplies may be scarce.
Orthopedic Stem Cell Therapy Process
Orthopedic stem cell therapy begins by determining if this type of treatment is, in fact, your best option for healing. A doctor may discuss your health history as it relates to the pain in your joints and perform a physical examination of the injured areas. At this time, an x-ray or MRI may be taken as well.
In cases where it is determined that stem cell therapy is the best option for healing your chronic pain, your doctor may begin with a general anesthesia to numb your entire body. A small amount of bone marrow is then removed, usually from the hip, via a suction method known as aspiration. As mentioned above, stem cells can also be taken from fat cells, but the ones in your bone marrow are more potent.
The collected sample is then placed in a spinning device called a centrifuge where the stem cells and platelets are separated from the rest of the collected tissue. Platelets are the cells that instruct stem cells to perform their healing and rebuilding functions. The stem cells and platelets are then injected into the injured area.
After the Treatment
It generally takes two to three months for your injured tissues to fully repair. During this time, your doctor may recommend that you come in for additional injections of platelets that were collected with your initial sample.
Your doctor will likely give you advice on supplements that can assist with healing such as carnosine, blueberry extract, vitamin D3, and green tea extract as well as habits to avoid such as excessive alcohol consumption.
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