One of the most promising developments in medicine is the use of one’s own stem cells to repair damaged tissue in the body.
Everyone has stem cells present in their bodies. These cells are basically undifferentiated or “blank slate” cells that can transform and function as many different types of body tissue, depending on where they are placed in the body. Much like master building blocks, stem cells can transform into and recreate whatever type of cell is needed.
Stem Cell Collection
While there are stem cells located throughout the body, the gold standard is to collect adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from bone marrow.
The method of collection, including the type of anesthetic used during the harvesting and treatment itself can affect the success of stem cell therapy. That’s because certain numbing agents can be toxic to stem cells.
It’s also important that re-injection or placement of stem cells into a patient’s body be precise – that is, use image-assisted guidance to ensure the cells are delivered exactly where they are needed, whether that is at a joint or inside soft tissue such as a tendon or ligament.
What Stem Cells Can Treat
When properly harvested and placed, stem cells can boost the body’s natural ability to repair itself at a cellular level.
The field of orthopedic medicine has already benefited greatly from stem cell treatments. Stem cell treatment is used to help knit broken bones together, grow cartilage, repair tendons, ligaments and muscle tissue.
Stem cell treatments are typically used in conjunction with other orthopedic treatments (such as surgery) to jump-start the healing of damaged tissue. Depending on the type, location, and severity of tissue damage, stem cell treatment can be used on its own in an attempt to avoid having to resort to surgery.
An added benefit of using one’s own stem cells is it eliminates the risk of any type of immune-system rejection or the need for immunosuppression medications.
Future of Stem Cell Therapies
Not only do stem cells show great promise in orthopedics, but their use is being explored in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and type 1 diabetes.
If you have suffered an injury and wish to avoid surgery, call the experts at Movement Orthopedics to find out if stem cell treatment is an option for you. They can be reached at (586) 436-3785 or request your appointment online.