Adult stem cells are found in specialized areas of many tissues, including bone marrow, heart, and brain. During the natural course of one’s life, they are recruited to replace cells lost over time and facilitate repair due to injury. Advances in regenerative medicine have allowed clinicians to tap into the healing potential provided by these cells.
What is a stem cell?
Stem cells are cells that can divide and recreate themselves indefinitely. They are essentially cells that are ready for whatever’s needed. The human embryo contains original stem cells that then multiply and undergo changes, resulting in the creation of the different types of tissues that form all of the organs of the human body. These cells can also be found in a newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta, as well as in adult tissue. Because of their nature, stem cells have the capability of promoting the repair and regeneration of damaged tissue. When an injury occurs (for example, tears in the cartilage of a knee), the mechanisms of the body that drive chemical activity go into action to repair and heal the damage. Stem cells can produce a number of these natural chemicals, such as growth factors and enzymes, to accelerate and enhance your body’s response. Some of the many cells that stem cells can help produce are those of bone, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. Hence, by injecting stem cells into the injured area, we can improve the healing process and have you well on the way to recovery.
Conditions Treated with Stem Cells
Stem cell therapy can be used to treat any number of orthopedic-related injuries that affect joints, tendons, cartilage, and muscles. When it’s used for muscle injuries, including contusions and strains, the stem cells help to regenerate muscle tissue. Knee injuries resulting in damaged or deteriorating cartilage can be treated with stem cells, which restores and strengthens the cartilage. Likewise, tendonitis, which is inflammation of a tendon from repetitive motion, which can affect the rotator-cuff can be treated so that the tendon is restored in health and strength. It can be used to promote healing in more chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, especially of the hip, knee and shoulder.
Will my body reject the stem cells?
No. Adult stem cells are from the patient’s body and are non-immunogenic, meaning they will not cause a negative reaction.
What’s the difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells?
Unlike embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells are obtained from the patient’s own body and therefore do not present any ethical issues. Since adult stem cells are noncontroversial, their use in clinical settings has been widely accepted to treat a variety of conditions.
Are there ethical issues associated with the harvesting of adult stem cells?
No. Adult stem cells do not raise ethical issues as they are harvested from the patient’s own body.
The benefits are many, and the risks associated with stem cell therapy are few. For more information on our stem cell offerings, contact Lake Pointe Orthopaedics, or scroll down to request an appointment!