Stem cell therapy in Orthopaedics is used to help in the repair of damaged tissue by harnessing the healing power of undifferentiated cells that form all other cells in our bodies. The process involves isolating these stem cells from a sample of your blood, bone marrow or adipose tissue (fat cells), and injecting it into the damaged body part to promote healing. Platelet-rich-plasma (PRP), a concentrated suspension of platelets (blood cells that cause clotting of blood) and growth factors, is also used to assist the process of repair.
Aging, exercise, sports and injuries cause excessive wear and tear of the body. As we age, the process of repair is slowed down due to reduced production of mesenchymal stem cells (repair cells). This causes the joints’ elastic tissue to become stiff and lose its elasticity, thereby increasing its susceptibility to damage. This problem can be treated with stem cell therapy, where your own body’s cells can be used to repair and promote healing of degenerated or injured joints.
Stem cell therapy in Orthopaedics is currently being used in conditions such as:
Stem cells from your blood, bone marrow or fat cells are harvested to treat your joint pain. The treatment plan will depend on your individual condition, but generally, one stem cell injection is administered initially and an injection of PRP is given after four to six weeks. The steps involved in stem cell therapy include:
Numbness will persist in the injured area for about an hour; once it lessens you should prevent the area from further injury. Anti-inflammatory medications should be avoided for at least 4 weeks. You can use ice for 10-20 minutes every 2-3 hours if required. Your doctor may prescribe medications to relieve pain. Inform your doctor if you experience bleeding, increased pain, infection or fever.
Risks and Complications
As with any procedure, stem cell injection involves potential risks and complications. The common complications at the injection site include infection and bruising. Soreness may occur at the site from where the stem cells were removed.
Advantages of stem cell therapy are:
Stem cell therapy is a revolution in relieving joint pain without the need for invasive surgical interventions. It is especially helpful in sports medicine enabling you to return to your sport much earlier than with surgery.