Maybe you have an injury on your knee so bad that you need an immediate relief that does not require surgery. Not to worry! Stem cell therapy is here to the rescue.
Stem cell therapy has been known all around the world as a miracle worker, correcting almost everything from knee injuries, wrinkles to even spinal repair. Although much research has not been done extensively on stem cells, results from this procedure have been quite promising over the last few years.
This therapy is often used on people with arthritis, a condition that occurs when the cartilage that lines the joints begin to fail, causing limited function and severe pain, and osteoarthritis. If proper care and treatments are not taken, they may become disabled for life. What stem cell therapy does is to repair the damaged cartilage and reduce pain, to enable people to enhance the quality of their lives without having to go through surgery.
The different forms and procedures of stem cell therapy evolve with time, so it is expected that the results will improve as well.
Interesting. So what is it all about?
Stem cells are cells that help to produce new cells in already-existing healthy tissues and has the ability to repair tissues in parts of the body that are injured or damaged. Stem cells are unique because they can self-renew and divide for a very long period of time.
Stem cell repair is the basic healing mechanism in the body. To be able to undergo this treatment, the doctor has to critically assess a victim, view the appropriate imagery and evaluate the conditions surrounding the knee problem to know if he/she is suitable for stem cell therapy. Once the doctor has done that and has certified that a person needs the therapy, the stem cells are then harvested from your body as an outpatient procedure. These cells make use of fats as a primary source, that is why they are mostly located in the adipose (fat) tissues and are harvested using high-tech liposuction equipment, and can also be harvested from the bone marrow using a high-tech low trauma needle placed under the posterior iliac rest.
A mild anaesthetic or sedative is given to the victim to provide a bit of comfort. After that, the stem cells are injected into the knee in sterile conditions where they find the damaged cartilage and begin the process of repair and regeneration, under the supervision of a live x-ray. This non-surgical procedure is natural and can take place in any tissue of the body. There is usually a limited supply of blood to tissues such as the anterior cruciate ligament (otherwise known as ACL) and the knee joint cartilage. This condition, therefore, facilitates the delivery of the stem cells to the damaged tissues to start the healing process. The volume of stem cells injected into the body is very important. The larger the volume, the faster the healing process is initiated.
Stem cell therapy is not just a great alternative to knee replacement surgery, but can also help people avoid arthroscopic surgery for injuries that are caused by tears in the meniscus and the anterior cruciate ligament. With this procedure, the ligament can heal and become as strong and as healthy as the original ligament. Also, by reviving the natural movement of the joint and maintaining the position of the original ligament, this therapy reduces the risk of future arthritic problems.
Okay. So what are the advantages of Stem Cell Therapy over surgical procedures and other knee pain treatments?
Opting for stem cell therapy to other knee treatments has a lot of advantages. They are:
- It is a natural procedure: You do not have to be concerned with foreign substances as the stem cells used are generated by your own body.
- Fast recovery is guaranteed: This is why many athletes, sports and health professionals opt for stem cell therapies. Patients can easily recover from the effects of the procedure in a few weeks and those in sports can return to their normal activities in about four to six weeks.
- Fast return to normal activities: Unlike surgical procedures where you would have to lay in bed for a few weeks, stem cell therapy allows you to quickly return to work and other daily activities without using crutches or braces. Most patients even walk out of the building on their own after the procedure. So for those looking for a quick alternative, this is your best bet.
- Few medications: Since it is a natural procedure, stem cell therapy requires little postoperative pain medication. But in many cases, it is not administered.
- It is minimally invasive: These procedures usually cause minimal damage to the tissue and organs.
- The procedure is quick: it lasts for no longer than three hours in standard conditions.
- It is extremely cost-effective: This is one of the reasons why many people opt for stem cell therapies. Unlike regular surgery procedures where the patient has to pay a large sum of money for treatment (minus the post-treatment costs and hospital expenses), stem cell therapies are usually cost-effective. People can afford stem cell therapies without even being on insurance. Some hospitals may even reduce the costs if a patient carries out stem cell therapies for multiple areas on the same day. Also, rehabilitation costs are eradicated as patients do not have to remain in the hospital facility for long.
Are there any side effects?
As it stands, there are no known side effects. Patients may only experience minor pain at the injection site, stiffness at the joint, and swelling.
Research has shown that it is relatively safer to perform stem cell therapy on the knees than on other parts of the body. Risks may occur if different types of stem cells are used, stems cells are mixed with other chemicals, or if the cells are taken from the patient but then cultivated in the lab over a long period of time.
However, improved methods of stem cell therapies evolve daily, so these risks hardly occur.