FAQs on Stem Cell Therapy in Nashville TN

The human body is composed of billions of specialized cells, which group together to form organs and structures. Cells form skin, ligaments, cartilage, bones, and tendons. Stem cells are capable of creating multiple cells types from other cells.

When cells die and degenerate, new cells form from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Stem cells also yield a high concentration of cells that are necessary for body structure regeneration. When stem cells are injected, they promote healing of various body structures.

Why are stem cells injected?

To promote healing of ligaments, tendons, muscle, cartilage, and bone, stem cells are injected into the body. These cells are capable of regenerating injured or damaged body structures, and the human body has an adequate supply of them. With a stem cell injection, the healing cells can be directly placed into the injured structure.

What conditions can be treated with stem cell injections?

Doctors are injecting stem cells into many body regions to treat a variety of spine conditions that result from aging, tissue damage, or injury. Stem cells are used to treat:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Facet joint syndrome
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disc
  • Chronic back pain
  • Spinal cord and back injuries
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Sciatica
  • Nerve pain

How do I prepare for the stem cell injection procedure?

When you arrive at the medical facility, you will be instructed on the stem cell injection procedure, and a nurse will advise you of the risks and benefits of the procedure. The nurse will have you change into a gown and place an IV catheter in your arm. If necessary, you will receive a mild sedative before the procedure, so have someone with you who can drive you home.

How is the stem cell injection procedure performed?

In the procedure room, you will be positioned on your side and the hip is cleansed with an antiseptic solution. The doctor then numbs the skin with a small needle and anesthetic. Using x-ray guidance, the doctor uses a special needle to obtain stem cells from the bone marrow of the iliac bone (hip). The vial of bone marrow is placed in a centrifuge to remove unwanted cell components, and the stem cells are purified. The doctor will then inject the stem cells into the injured or damaged body structure.

What can I expect after the stem cell injection procedure?

The stem cell injection is minimally invasive and done as an outpatient procedure. After the procedure, the doctor will advise you when to return to normal activities. Activity restrictions depend on the condition and the severity of the injury. Most patients recover well following this procedure, so little rehabilitation is needed.

What is the success rate of stem cell injections?

The success rate for stem cell injection is around 90%, according to research reports. Most patients report improvement of pain scores around 1-2 months after the injection, and body structures gradually improve over the 3-6 months. In one clinical study, the average improvement after MSC injection was 52% at 18 months and 70% at 24 months. The highest improvement rates were observed in patients who had two injections.

Is stem cell injection right for everyone?

While stem cell injection is safe and effective, not everyone can have this procedure. Patients who are not candidates include those with:

  • A current infection
  • A condition requiring blood-thinning drugs
  • Current malignancies
  • A blood-borne cancer

Resources

Kim JD, Lee GW, Jung GH, et al. (2014). Clinical outcome of autologous bone marrow aspirates concentrate (BMAC) injection in degenerative arthritis of the knee. Eur J of Ortho Surg & Traumatology, 24(8), 1505-1511.

Mayo Clinic (2014). Stem cell implant. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/stem-cell-transplant/basics/definition/prc-20013565