Board Certified, New York City Based, Osteopath Specializing in Spine, Pain and Sports Medicine
Stem Cell Injection
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are different from other cells in the body. All stem cells are capable of dividing and renewing themselves, are unspecialized, and can give rise to specialized cells.
In certain tissues they can serve as a repair system, dividing to replenish other cells. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function.
There are several types of stem cells. The main type used for stem cell therapy are called Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). MSCs are found in vascular tissue and are attached to blood vessels (pericytes). During an injury or trauma, MSCs can mechanically or chemically detach and travel to the injury site. The MSCs can then reduce inflammation, prevent cell death, prevent infection, and generate new tissue.
Where Do Stem Cells Come From?
At Network Spine, we use stem cells derived from the patient’s own body. This will decrease any risk of allergic reaction or disease transmission as the cells are coming from your own body as compared to embryonic stem cells or cells taken from another source.
Embryonic stem cells and stem cells that are manipulated outside the body are a source of controversy and in some instances illegal in the United States
What Types of Conditions Will Stem Cell Injections Help?
The benefits of stem cell injections are only now being realized. Doctors can now use stem cell injections along with PRP injections, and a host of other treatment options to help relieve pain and inflammation, restore range of motion and actually regenerate damaged tissue in the neck, back, shoulders, knees, hips, as well as many other sites. With all these treatment options at their disposal, doctors can help their patients get back on the road to recovery in a fraction of the time it would have taken a few years ago.
Stem Cell Injections For Back Pain
Stem cell injections can be used in many areas of the body including the back or spine. If more conservative measures have failed Dr. Magyar and the team at Network Spine may suggest the use of stem cell injections for back pain. The back and spine is one of the most complex areas for stem cell injections. If other treatment methods such as manual osteopathic manipulation or trigger point injections are not providing relief it often means there is more complex or extensive damage.
How Do Stem Cell Injections Work?
Stem cell injections work by grafting the stems cells in or near the injured area of the body. Once they are placed into an area where damage has occurred, they can reduce inflammation, prevent cell death, prevent infection, and generate new tissue.
Do Stem Cell Injections Work?
Yes. Stem cell injections work for specific conditions. In the orthopedic realm, there is evidence for lumbar degenerative discs, rotator cuff repair, knee osteoarthritis, hip, and knee osteonecrosis. This is a growing field and the science behind it is still growing as more outcome studies and research becomes available.
Stem Cell Injection Process
Dr. Magyar advises prior to the injection to not take any anti-inflammatories for 1 week and abstain from any steroid treatments for 2-3 weeks. The initial step is to harvest your own stem cells (bone marrow) for use. At Network Spine, stem cells are harvested utilizing a bone marrow aspiration. Most often the stem cells are taken from the posterior Iliac crest site. This procedure can be done in the office with minimal discomfort. Using ultrasound, the harvest site is identified. Local anesthetics are used prior to aspiration for procedural comfort. A manual turning technique is used to capture about 60mL. The bone marrow is capable of regenerating and the procedure may be repeated over time. After aspiration of bone marrow, the stem cells are then concentrated using a centrifuge to create bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC). This concentration of stem cells can then be used to treat an area requiring stem cell therapy. The process of harvesting and concentrating the cells can take approximately 15 minutes.
Post Stem Cell Injection
After your stem cell injection, there will be a period of immobilization or limited activity to optimize response and ensure the stem cell injection area can recover. We encourage physical therapy after stem cell injections to promote a healing response that hastens the recovery period, allowing the person to get back on their feet much quicker. Follow up is based on the specifics of the cause of the pain, location, and the injury area.
Stem Cell Injection Risks
Infection is always an inherent risk when you break the skin. Infection risks can be reduced with a sterile environments and technique. Post procedural pain and inflammation is common and part of the process. It is important not to use any anti-inflammatory medications such as steroids or NSAID medication to optimize response. Acetaminophen and other medications may be used for post procedure pain. Known complications can include bruising, bleeding, and increased pain.
Stem Injections and Insurance
Currently, stem cells are not covered by commercial insurance providers. This makes it a cash service that is paid out of pocket by the patient. If you feel that stem cell injections could help treat your pain the team at Network Spine will lay out all options and work with you to understanding the potential costs. In some scenarios, PRP injections can be an alternative treatment option if the pain and damage are less severe. It is also a more cost-effective option even though is it also not covered by insurance.
We will walk through all the treatment options we think are the best fit for your scenario and clearly lay out any potential costs.