What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or cure a health condition. Most widely used therapy is bone marrow transplant. Besides this, stem cells from umbilical cord blood can be stored and used later for treatments.
How can the therapy help cure orthopaedic conditions?
Stem cell therapy, like a regenerative medicine, can naturally heal the body without the help of any invasive surgery. Various orthopaedic diseases can be treated using reparative cell therapy which includes acute and chronic injuries of tendons, muscles, cartilages and bones. There are certain specific conditions which can be treated using stem cell therapy.
- Mild or moderate osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis of joints, especially of the knee and hips
- Injuries related to tendons, including shoulder injuries
- Back pain related to facet joint or degenerative disc
How stem cell therapy helps in improving orthopaedic conditions
- Stem cells can help in natural healing. It has the ability to transform into any other cell in the body, thus helping the person recover from the condition. Injecting these stem cells directly to the affected area can promote faster healing process as stem cells take more time to reach the affected area on their own, where the recovery would take much longer
- Using embryonic stem cells for treatment may create complications. Instead if the patient’s own stem cells are used from the bone marrow, it can avoid the potential rejection which may happen in many other situations. It is a very safe procedure and has no side effects at all. It can prevent infections or any risk of complications. Combining stem cell therapy with surgeries can be highly beneficial. It can also bring down the need of additional treatment, which can be, otherwise, quite costly
Consider the following factors for successful stem cell treatment in orthopaedics:
- Speciality and training: Make sure that the stem cell therapy is performed under an expert who has received proper training regarding the same
- Determining the cell source: Stem cell extracted from the bone marrow of the person is the best as there are fewer chances for rejection. Amniotic stem cells or stem cells from the umbilical cord can also be used for treatment, depending on the condition of the patient
- Harvesting technique is important: The doctor can easily harvest stem cells from bone marrow from a single spot. However, it is not the correct way and it may reduce the number of stem cells received. Harvesting bone marrow from multiple sites can result in accumulating bone marrow required for further treatment
- Using stem cells at the right spot: Advanced imaging is essential as it can help determine where exactly to use the stem cells acquired for treatment
- Safety and follow-up: The stem cell treatment should be done in a safe manner. Also, proper follow-up following the procedure can help the doctor determine how well the treatment works on the patient.