An Overview on Stem Cell Injections
Stem cell therapy is a biologic treatment that offers patients a potentially effective treatment option for orthopedic and sports injuries of the shoulder, knee or elbow. Early clinical data suggests that stem cell injections are shown to be effective at treating chronic tendon issues and regenerating articular cartilage in arthritic joints. What is stem cell therapy? It is a regenerative medicine treatment that uses a patient’s own body’s repair mechanisms and growth factors to facilitate healing. Actively involved with stem cell therapy research, Dr. Nikhil Verma, shoulder surgeon and knee specialist serving the communities of Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois, offers this treatment to certain patients and documents their outcomes to enhance the future of stem cell injections.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are defined as basic human cells that have the potential to create new cells in existing healthy tissue and may help to repair damaged areas within the joints, ligaments, bone and soft tissue. Progenitor cells are created when stem cells divide. These particular cells are a great interest to the field of orthopedic medicine because they have the potential to help form tendons, ligaments, articular cartilage and bone.
If you would like to see the leading research on the outcomes of biologic/regenerative treatments, please visit our research library.
How are Stem Cell Injections Performed?
Many patients question, what is stem cell therapy and how is it performed? Stem cell therapy is performed by Dr. Verma and his team as a non-surgical procedure that takes under one hour to complete. During the procedure, Dr. Verma will harvest stem cells from the bone marrow in a patient’s hip. The stem cells are then inserted into the damaged shoulder, knee or elbow joint. Stem cell injections come from a patient’s own body so the rejection risk is extremely low.
In some cases, allograft (donor) stem cells can be used in an office based procedure for specific conditions such as arthritis and tendon inflammation. In most cases these cells are harvested from donor placenta tissue which is otherwise discarded after birth. The cells are isolated and processed in a sterile fashion for use in a clinical setting.
Have a question about biologic treatment? Dr. Verma answers frequently asked questions.
Am I a Candidate for Stem Cell Injections?
It is important to note that stem cell therapy is not for all patients. In general, Dr. Verma recommends this procedure to patients who have moderate osteoarthritis in the shoulder, knee or elbow where a complete collapse of the joint is not present. Stem cell injections are also recommended for a number of tendon injuries that have not responded to other treatments.
It is believed that stem cell therapy will become more common as additional research studies are completed by physicians. Dr. Verma and his colleagues at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush are involved with researching biologic treatments, such as stem cell injections, to learn more about therapy outcomes. The orthopedic physicians also document their patients’ outcomes to contribute to their research findings. As the science around stem cell procedures evolve, more medical indications will be developed and utilized by Dr. Verma and his team.
For more resources on stem cell therapy or to determine if you are a candidate for stem cell injections, please contact the office of Dr. Nikhil Verma, shoulder surgeon and knee specialist serving the Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area.
Biologic Therapies FAQ
- How do Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) stem cells and FlōGraft® (amniotic fluid-derived allograft) accelerate the healing process?
- Are Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) stem cells and FlōGraft® all considered regenerative therapies?
- What is FlōGraft®?
- Are all Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) stem cell therapies the same?
- Is there an age limit for Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) regenerative therapy?
- Why is Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) sometimes called a stem cell “like” therapy?
- Why doesn’t my insurance cover this treatment?