Reducing pain for patients suffering from osteoarthritis and other debilitating conditions has never been an easy prospect. Steroid injections and oral medications only last so long and joint replacement surgery usually involves an extended recovery period and risk of complications. Now, stem cell treatments are helping many pain sufferers find real, long-lasting relief without surgery. This innovative treatment is available at Norwood Day Surgery, where our patients are seeing excellent results with significant pain reduction and increased mobility.
What are stem cells and how are they used to treat pain?
Stem cells are unspecialized cells in the body that can develop into many different types of cells. These cells are unique in their ability to act as an internal repair system for the body, by dividing and replenishing other cells that are lacking. In the case of osteoarthritis treatment, stem cells work by repairing degenerative tissue in the joint. The cells produce new cartilage shown on MRI pictures.
How does the procedure work and how long is the recovery period?
Stem cell treatments are performed on an outpatient basis at Norwood Day Surgery. First, a mini-liposuction procedure is used to extract the stem cells contained in adipose fat tissue, using a very narrow tube inserted into the cells and gentle suction to remove them. The adipose tissue is then placed in a special device that separates the stem cells and other growth factors from the rest of the tissue.
The extracted cells will need to be tested for quality before they are injected. This ensures that your stem cell procedure will provide the best possible results. Once the cells pass testing, they can be injected directly into the joint by injection, using ultrasound technology to guide the needle to the appropriate location. In some cases, stem cells might be introduced into the bloodstream via an IV.
What are the results like and how long will they last?
According to our own research within our practice, which involved 66 of our osteoarthritis patients, results of stem cell therapy are very successful. More than 80 percent of our patients experienced significant improvement in their level of pain, as well as mobility of the joint.