Stem cell therapy is one of the most exciting innovations in medicine to come along in a while, and at Phoenix Regenerative Medicine in Tempe, AZ, we want to answer all your questions about stem cell injections so you know just what to expect and when you’ll enjoy your results.
Stem Cell Basics
Stem cells are found naturally in everyone, and they have some amazing and unique properties. All the other cells of our bodies are of just one type, but stem cells have the potential to become whatever type of cell is needed. Most famously, this happens in the human fetus during development, as stem cells become all the cells the baby needs, forming muscle and ligament tissues, brain cells, liver and heart cells, bone cells, and many other types.
We used to think that these cells could only be found in the human fetus, and later, even when stem cells were found in human adults, it was still thought that adult stem cells had lost the amazing versatility of fetal stem cells. Yet it turns out that the stem cells in adult fat and bone marrow, in particular, are still capable of amazing regeneration and healing by becoming whatever type of tissue is needed.
Stem Cell Injections
Stem cell injections simply take the stem cells from your own body and apply them precisely where you need them to speed up recovery after an injury, reduce pain and inflammation, support tissue repair, and minimize scarring.
FAQs: When Will You Experience Results and Other Important Questions
When Will You Experience Results From This Treatment?
Results depend on a few factors. The first is how serious the injury is. Obviously, the more extensive an injury, the longer it will take to heal no matter what therapies are available. Another key factor is age. Our body’s natural healing process slows down as we age, and the older we are, the longer we take to heal.
All that said, it will take some months to see full healing, and a few people will need a second treatment to get the effect they’re looking for. In some cases, you will still need physical therapy to help rebuild strength and flexibility in an injured area. Most people will see their best changes about six months to a year after treatment.
It’s important to give your body time to regenerate itself. We’re committed to helping you get the results you need, so we’ll be with you every step of the way. And you can be certain that stem cells help things go faster than they otherwise would!
If Stem Cells Are So Powerful, Why Aren’t They Helping Already?
When we’re still developing, our stem cells easily move around, helping out everywhere. As we age, this process gradually slows, which in the past led to the assumption that we must just run out of these cells or that adult stem cells are unable to differentiate into other types like fetal stem cells.
Yet we actually still have plenty of stem cells, and they work fine. In fact, researchers have been stunned at how many stem cells are just waiting to be mined: and that’s the problem. Like any natural resource we might mine out of the ground, nothing useful can be done with this substance until it’s extracted and put to work where it’s needed.
How Do Stem Cells Do Their Work?
Stem cells secrete proteins that signal to the other cells to get busy repairing or re-structuring the area of the body where they are injected. Stem cells are smart enough to know how to become the damaged tissues they are near, so injected them into a damaged knee, for instance, will cause them to repair and re-structure cartilage.
We’re not completely sure how the stem cells are getting the signals they need, but many researchers believe that inflamed tissues are sending out a kind of SOS signal that the stem cells pick up on and then amplify, both healing themselves and acting as agents to mobilize the body’s other healing properties.
What Kind of Problems Can You Address With Stem Cell Injections?
At Phoenix Regenerative Medicine, we treat a variety of issues with stem cell therapy, including:
- ACL injuries
- Ankle sprains
- Chronic Plantar Fasciitis
- Back and neck injuries
- Ligament sprains
- Muscle tears
- Osteoarthritis of the knee, shoulder, elbow, hip, and spine
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Rotator cuff tears
- Soft tissue injuries
- Tennis elbow
If your condition isn’t listed here, that doesn’t mean we can’t help! Contact us today and set up a consultation so we can help you figure out the best treatments to eliminate your pain and get you back to optimal wellness.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Approved by the FDA?
This therapy does not have FDA approval, but in this case, that isn’t a problem. In the first place, the stem cells we use come from your own body. This means they aren’t a chemically produced medication or an invasive treatment that needs to be tested for safety: you can’t be allergic to your own cells.
For another thing, this treatment falls under the category of “Physician’s Practice of Medicine.” Any treatment that falls into this category doesn’t have FDA guidelines because patients and their doctors are free to consider together how they will treat a condition based on the patient’s preferences and the doctor’s professional expertise.
Is Extracting Stem Cells a Painful Procedure?
You may have been subjected to stories about how painful past bone marrow extraction procedures could be. You’ll be glad to know that the process of extracting stem cells for stem cell therapy in regenerative medicine is nothing like this!
Modern processes are virtually painless, and we often don’t need to take stem cells from the bone marrow at all. The body’s adipose tissue, or fat, typically contains more than enough stem cells for your therapy: hundreds or even thousands of times as much as that found in the bone marrow.
What Benefits Are There to Stem Cell Therapy?
This type of treatment can help speed up the time it takes for injuries to heal while simultaneously reducing pain and your need for pain medications. This therapy also increases functionality and flexibility, allowing for a better range of motion and even improved sleep quality.
Other benefits we regularly see from stem cell injections are a decrease in nerve damage, reduced risk of future injury dues to muscle compensations that aren’t part of healthy motion, and even increased collagen production, which can help to reduce existing scars and prevent new ones from forming.
Is This a Safe Treatment?
Stem cell therapy is being used more and more each year in all areas of medicine precisely because researchers and physicians have seen firsthand that it’s effective and safe. This therapy is used every day in orthopedic practices for the treatment of injuries that involve cartilage, tendon, and ligaments, which are all notoriously difficult and slow to heal.
It is also being used in bone repair and soft tissue injuries, to stop hair loss, and in cardiovascular disease to stimulate repair and growth of new blood vessels and decrease scar tissue. It’s being used in wound healing and to ensure that incisions after surgery heal properly, and it’s even being tested to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as certain autoimmune disorders. In short, doctors and researchers around the globe work with stem cell therapy every day, and that familiarity isn’t raising concerns so much as it’s raising excitement!
Am I a Good Candidate for This Therapy?
There are multiple factors to take into consideration with this treatment, so the best way to find out if you’re a candidate is to come in for a consultation. We’ll consider your medical condition, previous treatment methods you’ve tried, your age and activity level, and your overall health. Currently, there is no age cut-off for this treatment, though it may be less effective in those over 70 or 75.
What Alternatives Are There?
There are many other treatments for chronic pain and injury that don’t involve surgery. These can include activity modification and physical therapy, bracing, regenerative medicine injections, viscosupplementation, and more. We’ll help you devise an individualized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and gets you back on the path to strength and wellness as quickly as possible.
What Do I Need to Do to Prepare?
You should stop taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatories for about two weeks beforehand. You can have a steroid injection into an affected joint before stem cell therapy, but it needs to be about a month before the stem cell treatment. There’s no need to modify your activities before you come for treatment.
How Long Does It All Take?
Everything happens within our office in an out-patient setting. It takes about 30 minutes to extract the stem cells and prepare them and another 15 minutes or so to apply the treatment. There’s no discomfort, but we still advise you to have a friend or loved one drive you home and plan to take it easy for 24 hours and give your body time to rest. After 24 hours you can return to all your normal activities other than strenuous exercise, which you should avoid for two weeks.
When it comes to exercise and sports, we’ll help you determine the best time to return to your regular activities as we see how you’re progressing. You should be active, but in most cases, it’s best to do activities that protect the joints that need to be healed so your body isn’t under any additional strain.
How Long Will the Results Last?
This depends on what is being treated. In the case of an injury, we would expect to see complete recovery and permanent healing, unless you repeat the injury, of course. In the case of chronic issues like arthritis or repetitive motion injuries, it’s likely that eventually, the body will deteriorate again. However, studies show that the benefits of stem cell treatment tend to persist for as long as ten years.
The Importance of Expertise
Stem cell treatment is a relatively new area of treatment, and it’s important to trust your treatment to someone with the experience and training to ensure you get the right results.
At Phoenix Regenerative Medicine, we’re led by Dr. Angelo J. Mattalino, a renowned orthopedic surgeon. With 30 years of clinical and surgical experience and a constant commitment to keeping up with innovations in his field, Dr. Mattalino has the skill and experience to treat any kind of musculoskeletal problem.
Come Talk to Us
If you’re experiencing chronic pain and diminished quality of life due to an injury or disease, you don’t have to live with it any longer. Visit Phoenix Regenerative Medicine in Tempe, AZ today and set up a consultation. We can help you get back on your feet and back to living a productive and comfortable life.