Last time we talked a little about two types of regenerative injection therapies – prolotherapy and Plasma-rich Platelet Injections. This time I want to delve a bit into an exciting and fairly new therapy for musculoskeletal injuries called adult stem cell injections.

Research about this very cutting-edge method to heal the body without the use of surgery was presented at a conference I recently attended at theUniversityofWisconsin, one of the global leaders in regenerative injection therapy training and research.

Like Plasma-rich Platelet injections, stem cell injections use the body’s own material to promote healing. Adult stem cells are located in our fat or adipose tissue.  They have the potential to regenerate into healthy bone, muscle, ligaments, and cartilage.  Just like removing platelets from blood, we remove stem cells from fat tissue.

This may sound a little like liposuction but it isn’t. When I tell my patients I will soon be able to bring this procedure to my practice, some have half-jokingly asked if they I can remove a few pounds of fat. We’ll take about 60cc’s of fat tissue from an area like the belly, maybe a quarter pound, and isolate out about 15cc’s of stem cells for the injection through a centrifuge or other filter system.

Stem cells are like a blank canvas. So if they are injected into a knee that’s missing cartilage, they can actually build new cartilage – easing pain and increasing function. The same holds true for other injuries, like muscle tears or tendon and ligament injuries. The introduction of stem cells to the damaged area can re-grow healthy tissue.

This adult stem cell therapy injection method should not be confused with the use of fetal stem cells, which are somewhat controversial.

This type of therapy moves toward the pinnacle of a stair step approach to musculoskeletal healing. If prolotherapy or Plasma-rich Platelet Injections aren’t getting the job done or if a physician believes a more aggressive healing process is necessary, stem cell therapy injections may be combined with the regenerative injections to optimize the body’s healing process and offer a solution before surgery.

There are other differences between adult stem cell injections and other types of regenerative injection therapies. Prolotherapy requires maybe 6-8 injections or more to be effective in helping the body to heal itself. Stem cell injections may have the same impact in one or two treatments.

I’ve been excited about my training in this area. I started learning about stem cell therapy more than a year ago and have been through several very detailed training sessions lasting anywhere from two to four days.  Physicians from all over the world are using stem cell therapy to treat musculoskeletal injuries.

Surgeons have been using adult stem cell therapy in grafts like lumbar fusions in the back, but no one inSouth Texashas utilized this method to treat musculoskeletal injuries such as muscle, ligament or tendon damage. I expect to be the first to offer it here using techniques approved by the FDA and I hope I won’t be the last.  I believe the potential for this non-surgical procedure to be a game changer for athletes and everyday patients is limitless.

Stay healthy!