Regenerative Medicine 101 and the underbelly of stem cell marketing.
Over the last few years many patients have started asking about new treatments to avoid surgery. While some conditions like end stage arthritis are unlikely to respond to new treatments like stem cells, other conditions might benefit from stem cell therapy.
Stem cells generally mean cells that have the ability to differentiate into something else under certain stimuli and conditions. If stem cells are injected near certain tissues, there are some theories that suggest the local environment of said tissue, like muscle, can influence the stem cells to turn into muscle cells as well as muscle repair cells in order to heal muscle injuries.
Stem cells also are theorized to decrease inflammation due to their inherent anti-inflammatory properties. As most processes occur in orthopedics, when something hurts, it is usually the chemicals released by the strained or injured cell that cause pain by stimulating nerve fibers to send pain signals to the brain.
As our practice watches and continues to monitor stem cell research, we are actively performing stem cell injections in the office. Unfortunately, they are still being studied for clinical benefit and therefore are rarely covered by insurance. We believe that some conditions respond very well to stem cell injections but we are very selective.
We have also watched stem cell marketing grow around the Atlanta area. To that, our group would like to say and have you pass on the following to anyone who hears about stem cell injections.
1. Severe arthritis and deformity will not be "fixed" by stem cells.
2. Massive rotator cuff tears can't be "regenerated" from stem cells
3. Only licensed, board certified physicians should be performing stem cell injections
4. Be wary of where the "stem cells" are coming from. Many patients are misinformed and told they are receiving "stem cells "when they in fact are receiving PRP (platelet-rich plasma) or amniotic tissue. This is why we only recommend you see a licensed physician for true stem cell injections.
5. All meetings organized towards "stem cell" injections are marketing tactics. Don't be sucked into a meeting with millions of promises of how amazing they are. Be cautious on who is talking about them and ask the profession of the person. Many people call themselves "doctor" because they have a doctorate in this industry. If it is not a licensed physician (MD/DO), walk away.
Learn more about stem cells from the professionals and schedule your injection today at