What is stem cell therapy?
This is an advanced technology for the treatment of arthritis and joint degeneration. Treatment with stem cells is a possible option for patients who have failed conservative treatment and would otherwise have to undergo surgery.
What are stem cells?
Stem Cells have been shown in a laboratory setting to have the remarkable ability to differentiate into different cell types. In the test-tube setting they can develop into the various tissues in the body like muscle, tendon or cartilage. Injection treatment with Stem Cells can reduce pain and improve function in patients affected by osteoarthritis. The precise mechanism of action of stem cells when injected into a joint is still poorly understood, but scientists hope that treatment with stem cells can help promoting the healing of damaged cartilage, this is an area of ongoing research.
WHERE IN THE BODY DO STEM CELLS COME FROM?
Stem cells are found in different areas of the body. At the Orthobiologics Clinic we use cells collected from bone marrow. Bone marrow stem cell treatment is also known as BMC or BMAC (bone marrow concentrate). Our clinicians can advise you on the advantages and limitations of the options dependent on your individual circumstances.
HOW DOES THE PROCEDURE WORK?
The procedure is carried out in theatre under general anaesthetic. The stem cells are typicallycollected from hip bone (iliac crest) using a special needle and syringe. The fluid obtained is then prepared in a special closed-circuit system to separate the various constituents from each other. The relevant layer of concentrated cells is then isolated and injected into the affected joint under x-ray guidance. The procedure will take approximately 60 minutes and you will be able to go home later in the day.
WHICH CONDITIONS CAN BE TREATED?
Stem cells from bone marrow can be used to treat joint pain as a result of osteoarthritis and cartilage defects. The effect of the stem cells can provide long-lasting pain relief for patients who have not responded to conservative treatment and who want to avoid surgical intervention. Bone marrow concentrate (BMC) is also a very potent treatment of fractures that have failed to heal.
I’M WORRIED THAT THERE IS A RISK OF CONTRACTING AN INFECTION
Our stem cell treatments only use tissues obtained from your own bone marrow and/or blood. This eliminates the risk of blood-borne infections like hepatitis or HIV. However, like in any other surgical procedure there is a very small risk of infection from bugs normally living on your skin. We take careful precautions during the procedure to minimise the risk of a surgical site infection by carrying out the procedure in a surgical theatre with ultra-clean air.