Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive, same-day, non-surgical procedure that is done in an office-based setting. TOCA is among a select group of orthopedic practices that have physicians fellowship-trained in regenerative procedures

A stem cell is a cell that has the ability to differentiate into different cell types.  Bone marrow derived stem cells are mesenchymal stem cells that can differentiate into soft tissues including muscle, tendon and cartilage that are most relevant to orthopedic issues.  Stem cells sit at the center of a growing field of medicine called regenerative medicine.  Regenerative medicine aims to use the body’s own natural healing systems to repair damage, decrease pain and improve function.

Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive, same-day, non-surgical procedure that is done in an office-based setting.  TOCA is among a select group of orthopedic practices that have physicians fellowship-trained in regenerative procedures.  Stem cells are harvested or withdrawn with the use of ultrasound guidance through a large needle from the back of the hip.  Going to a surgical center or operating room is not necessary.  IV sedation is not necessary.  This treatment offers a promising alternative for those patients considering having an artificial joint implanted.  Patients who have continued pain despite having exhausted more traditional non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections may benefit as well.  Stem cell treatments are experimental and are not the current standard of care.  However, similar to how interventional cardiology has substantially decreased the number of open heart bypass procedures, interventional orthopedics is a growing field that hopes to use less invasive treatments such as stem cells to stave off or decrease the number of joint replacements and, at the very least, improve pain and function.

During the procedure, stem cells taken from the back of the hip and are concentrated using a centrifuge machine.  Together with a patient’s own platelet-rich plasma (PRP), these cells are injected under ultrasound guidance into areas of damage.  Though the procedure is experimental, there is evidence that these procedures are safe and effective for a majority of patients. (link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24113698).  We assess stem cell therapy’s effectiveness using pain relief and functional improvement as the criteria.

FAQ

What is the benefit of regenerative medicine and stem cell procedures?

These types of therapies are geared primarily toward painful joints.  The procedure aims to provide non-surgical, long-lasting relief from chronic joint pain.  Ultrasound guidance is used to ensure proper placement of the injection.

What treatment should a patient receive and are multiple treatments necessary?

These are determined on a case-by-case basis by our expert physicians in consultation with the patient.  Typically, stem cell therapy is a one-time procedure.  Very occasionally a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection may be utilized 1-2 months after the procedure.

Who is a candidate for this treatment?

Patients who have pain secondary to moderate osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, shoulder or ankle that is not “bone on bone” are the usual candidates for this procedure.  Some small tendon tears can be treated with these procedures as well.

Who is not a candidate for these treatments?

Patients with active cancer or cancer that has not been in remission for at least 5 years, patients with any active infections, patients on blood thinners (Coumadin, Xarelto, etc), patients with multiple medical conditions especially osteoporosis and uncontrolled diabetes are not ideal candidates for these procedures.

Will a stem cell injection “fix” my osteoarthritis?

There is limited data to suggest the current stem cell therapies available will significantly regenerative worn cartilage in a joint.  However, whether or not cartilage regenerates has little correlation with relief of pain.  Stem cell therapies aim to treat the pain and dysfunction from osteoarthritis.

How long does relief take?

In our experience, most patients begin to have significant relief around 1-2 months after the procedure.  Relief can come and continue upwards of 6 months after the procedure.  Despite trying to ensure we perform these procedures on patients who have the best chance of benefit, there are a small percentage of patients who receive no pain relief.

What can I expect after the procedure?

There may be increased pain/discomfort for several days following the procedure.  We typically provide pain medication as needed.  Patients should take it easy and limit any rigorous activity for at least 1-2 weeks, though patients can return to regular daily activities and most non-labor intense jobs after the procedure as their pain allows.  We use the adage ‘let pain be your guide’ in terms of progressing back to activity.

 

Where are the treatments performed?

These treatments are performed at our TOCA Phoenix location on Highland Avenue.

What Should I do if I think I'm a candidate?

Please call our main number at 602-277-6211 to schedule a consultation or email jblazuk@tocamd.com.  Please bring whatever radiology films or studies (X-rays, MRIs) you have available.

What Does Stem Cell Therapy Treat?

Stem cells help to create new cells in existing healthy tissues and may help to repair tissues in those structures that are injured or damaged. They are the basis for the specific cell types that makes up each organ in the body.

  • Shoulder & Elbow Injuries, Overuse Conditions & Arthritis
  • Foot & Ankle Conditions
  • Hand, Wrist & Basal Joint for Arthritis & Other Conditions
  • Shoulder: Shoulder Arthritis, Rotator Cuff Tears & Other Shoulder Conditions
  • Hip: Hip Injuries, Arthritis, Bursitis and Other Degenerative Conditions
  • Knees: Knee Arthritis, Meniscus Tears, Tendon & Ligament Tears, Overuse Injuries and Other Conditions

What Should I do If I Think I'm a Candidate?

Please call our main number at 602-277-6211 to schedule a consultation or email jblazuk@tocamd.com.  Please bring whatever radiology films or studies (X-rays, MRIs) you have available.

To View TOCA’s PRP/Stem Cell Therapy Packet

 

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