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Stem Cell Therapy

What is a stem cell?

Stem cells are pericytes, which are cells that wrap around other cells within the body.  Fat cells and bone marrow have the highest concentration of stem cells within the body.  While embryonic stems cells, which exist during the early stages of pregnancy, are able to morph into any type. They have properties such as growth factors, anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic and tissue stimulation. At Prestige Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine stem cells are used as a non-operative injection with the goal to help repair the process of degeneration, injured tendons, ligaments and arthritic joints.

Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is an option for those looking for an alternative to surgery or potentially total joint replacement. It happens within one day and does not have the recovery period as a surgery does. Patients are generally able to return back to their normal daily routine immediately. As it is not a surgery the risks involved with one are avoided such as infection, blood clot and recovery.

Stem cell therapy diagram

Amniotic Stem Cells

Amniotic stem cells are derived from amniotic fluid. They can be frozen or dehydrated and be reconstituted before injection. One cc of amniotic stem cells contains two million active amniotic stem cells and 2-50 times the concentration of growth factors found in platelet preparations. Patients have had significant relief from symptoms after using these injections. One of the main benefits of using these injections is that you do not have to remove blood from the body.

Our office works with the amniotic membrane/tissue know as Aminovo. Read a more in depth coverage of amniotic membrane stem cells, how they work, what they treat and their safety. 

What is A2M?

A2M stands for alpha-2-macroglobulin. This chemical was discovered decades ago, so it is nothing new in the world of sciences. It is flowing through your blood as you read this. The newer thought with A2M is its potential to help slow the progression of arthritis.

Arthritis is centered around the break down or wearing away of cartilage. One of the main chemicals that destroys healthy cartilage is called MMP (matrix matelloproteinase). This chemical is very abundant in the joint, and some of it can cause your cartilage to degenerate.  Chronic inflammation also plays a part in this chemical process of cartilage degeneration because it can enhance the process and speed.

Where does A2M fit into all of this? A2M is the chemical whose job it is to counteract the MMP chemicals. Basically, it helps block MMPs, which in turn prevents cartilage breakdown. There is a test called FAC (fibronectin-aggrecan G3 complex) test that can see if your levels are low and help determine whether you can benefit from this injection. If you have healthy knees, it’s likely that you already have high levels of A2M keeping the MMPs in check.

To learn more about the A2M treatment process, how it works, and a free biomarker test read our in depth page on A2M injection therapy. 

PRP Injections

PRP are growth factors that are removed from, typically, 60 cc’s of blood from peripheral body parts (hands). PRP injections have been shown to be more effective than HLA (Hyaluronic Acid) injections recently for arthritis pain. Compared to amniotic cells, however, it is more invasive and has less growth factors. It also tends to be painful for up to three weeks post injection before starting to see positive effects. BMA (Bone Marrow Aspiration) is similar to PRP in that blood is removed from your pelvis bone to derive the stem cells. It has better stem cells than the PRP but it has other risks related because of removal area. Potential risks or side effects of Bone Marrow Aspiration are pain, infection and fracture.

Fat Stem Cells

Stem cells derived from fat can also be effective. Similar to Bone Marrow Aspiration, collecting fat stem cells is also an invasive procedure and carry some of the same risks. Some studies have also shown that it is extremely variable on how many stem cells are derived in each injection.

Can stem cells help treat your pain?

If you are  suffering from knee or shoulder pain, generally stemming from mild arthritis, stem cell injections may be a suitable option for you. It is an immediate and less invasive option for those looking to avoid surgery. Please contact Prestige Sports Medicine today to speak with one of doctors and determine what is the best option to help you get back in the game.

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