Many orthopedic conditions benefit from stem cell treatment. A growing body of research supports these claims (see links below). Stem cell therapy has been shown to improve pain and function in:
- Osteoarthritis of the knee
- Osteoarthritis of the hip
- Partial tendon tears in the shoulder
- Partial ACL tears
- Many other indications…
How to seek regenerative stem cell therapy
Unfortunately many unscrupulous clinics have popped up that take advantage of patients by giving false promises and using products that do not contain live stem cells. Here’s what to look for to ensure that you are receiving REAL stem cell therapy and not being sold ineffective, unproven treatments.
Seek treatment using only live stem cells
First off, you want treatment done with live stem cells. In the United States, bone marrow is the ONLY clinical source of live stem cells, that is, unless you are involved in a clinical trial investigating other sources. Fresh amniotic fluid does contain a few stem cells, although considerably fewer than bone marrow aspirate, and once amniotic fluid is frozen (cryopreserved) those stem cells die.
If a clinician offers a cryopreserved amniotic fluid product and tells you that they are live stem cells, this is not true. You are being offered false hope. Often, people in pain are willing to try anything to get relief and these unethical clinics prey upon a person’s weakened emotional state.
Live stem cells contain growth factors – a key piece to the healing process of stem cell therapy that can aid in reducing pain. Cryopreserved amniotic fluid does contain these growth factors and is why patients can see some improvement from this treatment. Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, also known as PRP, contains these growth factors. At Integrative Sports Medicine, we use concentrated PRP and inject it using ultrasound to guide the injection. PRP provides much more benefit than cryopreserved amniotic fluid.
How were you diagnosed?
You should only be treated based on a specific diagnosis that comes from a thorough exam and some form of imaging like x-ray, ultrasound or MRI. If a clinician has not performed both of these forms of diagnosis and you are told you are being treated for “knee pain” or “shoulder pain” then you are not receiving appropriate care. Make sure you receive an imaging exam as well as a physical exam.
Dr. Abrahamson, trained thoroughly in sports medicine completed a fellowship in order to become certified in sports medicine physician and is also certified in musculoskeletal ultrasound. He will give you a thorough physical exam and offer appropriate imaging as needed. From these findings, he will offer a precise diagnosis and treatment plan.
Are you a good candidate for stem cell therapy?
All proven medical therapies have criteria that determine whether or not a patient is a candidate for treatment. If a complete explanation is not offered regarding your specific condition, we recommend you seek treatment elsewhere. And please note, not everyone who walks through our door or calls on the phone is offered stem cell therapy treatment. If your condition does not make you a good candidate for stem cell therapy, Dr. Abrahamson will tell you.
Who should treat you?
Your treatment should be provided by a medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.). If you receive treatment from a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician’s assistant (PA), likely you are at a clinic trying to make even more money off their false claims by using mid-level providers. Bone marrow aspirate stem cell therapy requires special training only available legitimately to an MD or DO.
How is treatment completed?
Any stem cell therapy Injection should be guided using an imaging tool. Stem cells, once injected, are not programmed to find their way to the area of injury. Dr. Abrahamson uses ultrasound guidance to be sure the stem cells are placed where they will do the most good.
At Integrative Sports Medicine, we see the benefits of stem cell therapy, but we also know its limits. When we see a patient and complete a thorough exam, we will recommend the appropriate treatment for the injury. If stem cell therapy is appropriate, we will thoroughly explain why. If it’s not appropriate, we will also thoroughly explain why. We also urge you to be aware of false claims. Nothing in medicine works 100% of the time for every patient. If you are ever told that everyone has had great success with stem cell therapy, it is simply untrue and we encourage you to seek a diagnosis and treatment elsewhere.
Effectiveness of a single intra-articular bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) injection in patients with grade 3 and 4 knee osteoarthritis www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30364761
Effects of bone marrow aspirate concentrate and platelet-rich plasma on patients with partial tear of the rotator cuff tendon www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29298726
A dose response analysis of a specific bone marrow concentrate treatment protocol for knee osteoarthritis
Symptomatic anterior cruciate ligament tears treated with percutaneous injection of autologous bone marrow concentrate and platelet products: a non-controlled registry study www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30176875
A prospective multi-site registry study of a specific protocol of autologous bone marrow concentrate for the treatment of shoulder rotator cuff tears and osteoarthritis www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4463777/