How Does a Stem Cell Knee Injection Alleviate Knee Pain?
A stem cell knee injection is gaining popularity as a non-surgical treatment designed to improve or alleviate chronic knee pain caused by a tendon, ligament or cartilage injury, as well as knee osteoarthritis. This form of regenerative medicine uses adult stem cells from a patient’s own body or a donor to decrease inflammation, and potentially accelerate regeneration and healing. Stem cells can be obtained from an aspiration of bone marrow taken from the hip, or donor cells can be used which are harvested from placental tissue and amniotic fluid. No fetal stem cells are used.
A stem cell knee injection is a fairly simple treatment for patients when weighing the option against knee surgery. In the case of allograft (donor) cells, the procedure can be performed in the office with a simple injection. In cases in which a patient’s own cells are used, the procedure is performed in an ambulatory surgical facility. The procedure begins with Dr. Verma extracting a sample of bone marrow from the patient’s hip. The sample is then spun down in a special machine so the autologous (adult) stem cells, platelets and white blood cells become separated from the red blood cells. The combination of the three agents are then combined and injected directly into the injured knee joint to accelerate tissue or bone healing.
Clinical studies to document the efficacy of stem cell injections are currently ongoing. As this is an evolving area of orthopedic science, our knowledge regarding the use of stem cells and patient outcomes continues to improve over time. However, it is important that patients recognize that the treatment is considered experimental and that results cannot be guaranteed.
If you have a question about biologic treatment, Dr. Verma answers frequently asked questions.