The Established Benefits of Stem Cell Transplants The human body is made of billions of specialized cells that form specific parts of the body like muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and bones. Each day, as older cells die, new cells are born from stem cells, which possess the unique capability to create multiple types of other cells. However, when tissues are injured the structures become weaker, resulting in pain and decreased function. One of the ways to help your body to regenerate these cells and stop the pain is through a stem cell transplant. The stem cell transplants treat joint pain, joint and tendon degeneration, and soft tissue injury. Stem cells are a unique type of cell in the body that can expand in number (self-renewal) without becoming a tissue cell. In addition to that, they can also differentiate into various cells found in mature tissue, like cartilage or tendons. Stem cells are vital to maintaining tissues in the body. Otherwise, our bodies would wear down with every step, until we fell apart. Although many people may think of a transplant as a way of replacing a diseased organ with another one, cells can also be transplanted. Stem cells have an important, often lifesaving use for treating disease. A stem cell transplant doesn't involve surgery in the same sense as an organ transplant would. The injections are significantly less invasive and the procedure is simple by comparison. Its benefit, however, can be enormous. Through regenerative medicine, a person can take advantage of their body’s ability to heal itself by using their own adult stem cells, which are found throughout the body. The stem cell transplant is a procedure that is commonly used on the hips, knee, shoulder, elbow, the back and spine. The procedure consists of extracting healthy stem cells from your bone marrow and injecting them into your body to replace damaged cells. To extract the cells from the bone marrow, patients lay face down as the doctor thoroughly cleans the area before numbing the skin and bone. Later on, a special needle is inserted into the bone to withdraw marrow blood, which contains the stem cells. This procedure is not like a bone marrow biopsy. This harvesting procedure is well tolerated by patients and many feel it is not painful. Once the stem cells are injected back into the body, the healthy replacement stem cells will integrate and give rise to more cells that can all take on the necessary functions for a specific tissue. One of the advantages of adult stem cell transplants over other types of transplants is that the patient functions as his or her own donor. There is no need to find another matching donor, which eliminates the risk of incompatibility and helps avoid long waiting lists. Autologous transplants, when cells taken from a patient and returned to that patient, are relatively safe procedures. There are low rates of complications and infections compared with allogeneic transplants, where cells are taken from a donor and often are manipulated before they are given to a patient. In many instances, much of the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis and the mortality rate is only 2% to 3%.
If you pay attention to the news, stem cell therapy may seem like magic. However, there are very established, approved medical procedures that are commercially available today. One of the most common injuries treated with stem cell therapy is regenerating cartilage in the knees and the shoulders. Knee pain is a common problem that can originate in any of the bony structures. Damage to the knee joint or the ligaments and cartilage is not unusual as we age. These non-surgical stem cell injection procedures happen within a single day and may offer a viable alternative to those who are facing surgical treatments, like joint replacement. Patients are typically able to walk away from the procedure, recovering in an outpatient setting. This simplicity of the stem cell injections allows patients to avoid the lengthy rehabilitation periods that are typically required to help restore strength, mobility and range-of-motion following invasive joint surgeries. Lastly, patients are far less vulnerable to the risks of surgeries, such as infection and blood clots. While any medical treatment involving injections has possible complications, the risks are significantly less when compared to more invasive options provided to patients with serious joint damage. Frozen shoulder is another disease that is very common. It is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Nobody knows for sure what causes it, yet it can turn a fully functional shoulder into one that can’t move at all in a matter of months. Today, the alternative for surgery is the stem cell transplant. Patients easily recover and are able to return to their regular activities in a much shorter time than they would with regular surgery. If you have a condition that you want treated with stem cell therapy, it is incredibly important to ensure you see qualified medical professionals. Patients in the San Antonio, Texas area should consider the Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas. Their qualified professionals can perform your injections precisely and cleanly.