A stem cell is a building block of basically any type of tissue or organ in the body. Stem cells were initially thought to be a breakthrough for all fields of medicine, but its application thus far has been limited.
That said, one field of medicine that has seen advanced improvement when using stem cell treatment in patients is the field of orthopedics. Patients who have received stem cell treatment to help lessen their musculoskeletal pain and improve mobility have reported significant improvements.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work in Orthopedics?
In treating musculoskeletal issues such as knee pain, stem cells are first gathered from the patient’s own body – usually the bone marrow, whose stem cells are particularly high-quality. Stem cells are also found in high quantities in a person’s adipose tissue (fat cells). Extracting stem cells from the patient’s own body helps to ensure that the person will not have an adverse reaction to the stem cells that are injected back into the injured area for treatment.
The stem cells are harvested through a tiny punch into the hip bone in order to draw bone marrow. The physician may also perform a type of liposuction to remove adipose tissue and harvest stem cells that way. In a laboratory, the stem cells will then be separated from the fat or marrow and concentrated. The concentrated stem cells are then injected into the area of the body that is experiencing chronic pain or debilitation.
How Are Stem Cells Different from Other Cells?
Because stem cells are capable of renewing themselves through cell division, even after long periods of inactivity, they can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells. Whereas most cells can only divide and thereby become the same type of cell, stem cells can theoretically differentiate to form any type of tissue or organ in the person’s body.
Stem cell therapy is therefore an effort to regrow new cells, such as regrowing degraded cartilage in a person with arthritis. This is the hope when they are injected into an injured or degraded elbow or knee. This minimally invasive treatment is done in an effort to avoid surgery and help repair the body via regenerative medicine.
The use of stem cells holds tremendous promise for medical developments. Medical researchers hope that one day, stem cells will be able to be used to treat almost any injury by regenerating the injured or degraded area.
Stem Cells Are No Longer Controversial
Ever since medical researchers have discovered how to successfully collect a person’s own stem cells, this type of therapy has been used to treat many different types of musculoskeletal issues. Another type of collection is to gather stem cells from a new mother’s umbilical cord blood, which provides high-quality stem cells; the mother must first grant permission for this to be done with her umbilical cord after a live birth.
Because true embryonic stem cells must be collected within the first five days after conception (not birth, but conception), harnessing the power of adult stem cells is preferred and is much easier – and is not controversial. It is fascinating to watch as these various fields of medicine make new breakthroughs in treatment with stem cells.
Stem Cell Treatment in Austin
If you have suffered an injury or arthritis pain and want to learn more about stem cell therapy, contact our friendly team at All-Star Orthopedics of Austin today. We will discuss with you your various options in regenerative medicine, and the many orthopedic services we provide.
Call us at (512) 346-4933 or request an appointment online. Don’t delay anymore – you might be the ideal candidate for regenerative medicine!