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Knee problems are an all-too-common orthopedic condition for everyone from young athletes to senior citizens. They’re also one of the most common reasons patients seek surgery, with hundreds of thousands of knee replacements and other procedures performed in the U.S. each year.
Stem cell therapy offers a minimally invasive alternative for treating knee arthritis, damaged knee cartilage, and other ailments of this important joint. Instead of attempting to relieve pain from the outside-in, as in surgery, stem cells work from the inside-out, repairing and replacing injured tissue and promoting regeneration through the body’s own healing abilities.
Stem cell therapy is the process of moving mesenchymal stem cells from one area of your body to a damaged area. These adult stem cells can differentiate into new cartilage and soft tissue, spurring the growth of new, healthy cells needed for knee repair.
Because of these inherent qualities, stem cells and their accompanying growth factors are able to reduce inflammation, heal injuries, and even slow degeneration. Although it is possible to have stem cells donated to you, we utilize autologous stem cells, which means they come from you and are used by you. So there are no fetal cells involved and virtually zero risk of rejection by your immune system.
A stem cell therapy treatment may sound complicated, but it’s actually a fairly simple procedure that can be done in our office in about an hour. It involves three steps: extracting the stem cells, processing them, and injecting them. It goes like this:
With a special needle, Dr. Jensen extracts bone marrow aspirate from your pelvis bone as you lie face down. This may be uncomfortable but most patients tolerate this part very well.
Then, we spin this liquid bone marrow in a centrifuge for 15 minutes, concentrating the stem cells and platelets and removing the other material.
Finally, Dr. Jensen re-injects the bone marrow concentrate (BMC) into the knee at the area where healing is needed, with a local anesthetic applied beforehand to numb the area.
We also offer platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections that work in a similar manner to BMC injections.
In a PRP treatment, the doctor draws blood from your arm and spins it in a centrifuge. This isolates platelets and the growth factors they contain to help foster healing.
With guidance, the remaining platelet-filled blood is then injected into the damaged area of the knee where platelets are in short supply.
Learn more about our regenerative medicine procedures.
Although they’re not a panacea, stem cells can bring about dramatic improvement in a wide variety of knee ailments, including:
*Some cartilage and ligament tears may be too considerable to heal completely with stem cell therapy or PRP injections alone. In such cases, we may suggest stem cell therapy or PRP in conjunction with surgery for maximum healing.
Stem cell therapy offers a host of advantages over other applications. It is…
Minimally invasive: After a simple stem cell injection you can be back to your normal routine within 24 hours.
Non-opioid: The “medicine” in a stem cell injection is produced by your own body, with no need for steroids or addictive medications afterward. In other words, it is…
Natural: The chances of an autologous injection being rejected by your immune system are virtually zero.
Restorative: Stem cells can actually slow degeneration of your knee, meaning the earlier you intervene with stem cells, the greater the potential for complete healing.
Effective: Usually, a stem cell injection helps you bounce back faster and with fuller healing than surgery.
Budget-friendly: Although your insurance may not cover stem cell injections, they should still be less expensive than the deductible for knee surgery. PRP is an especially inexpensive regenerative option.
A knee replacement is a serious surgery that carries the risk of blood clots, pain and swelling, complications from general anesthesia, and nerve or artery damage. Knee replacements often have to be repeated, and risk factors increase the second time around.
Stem cell injections involve a low level of risk from infection or bleeding, and little to no risk of allergic reaction or rejection. They are minimally invasive, can be done with only local anesthetic and no prescription medication, and make use of naturally occurring substances in your body.
Autologous BMC treatments are widely used and have an established record of safety in orthopedic applications. Our treatments adhere to all relevant FDA guidelines and are used as an FDA-accepted part of the practice of medicine.
As with any particular type of treatment, stem cell therapy is not universally applicable to all sufferers of knee pain. For example, a Grade III, or complete tear of the ACL necessitates arthroscopic surgery, but a Grade I or Grade II tear could very well be treated with non-operative regenerative medicine, or a combination of surgery and regenerative injections.
Generally speaking, cases of mild to moderate forms of joint, ligament, and tendon pain in which you still have some healthy cartilage remaining make good candidates for stem cell therapy. Consulting with a doctor is the best way to determine if regenerative medicine or another form of treatment such as physical therapy or partial knee resurfacing is most appropriate in your case.
Call 713-984-1400 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jensen, or to learn more about what stem cell therapy can do for you.
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Friday: 7am – 5:00pm
Saturday: Closed (temporarily)
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