Stem cell therapy is part of a growing field of orthopedics called regenerative medicine. These treatment options for patients describe harvesting and using your own body’s bone marrow cells to heal and treat many orthopedic conditions, rather than undergoing surgery.

This treatment has been used in the United States and Europe for more than 10 years. These biologic therapies are still relatively new, but early research shows promise in the treatment of a range of orthopedic problems and have delayed and saved many of our patients from undergoing more invasive procedures, like knee, hip, and shoulder replacement operations.

Where do the stem cells come from?

We refer to these cells as MSCs. These cells normally live in places in your body, and have the capability to differentiate into new tendon or cartilage. They are most commonly derived from two places: bone marrow and adipose (fat) tissue.

Bone marrow is the spongy, soft substance that fills the interior cavities of bones. It’s where blood originates. The spongy or porous marrow of the bones contains blood and stem cells. These cells are capable of developing into a variety of cell types.

Bone marrow aspirate concentrate

Bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC), also known as bone marrow concentrate (BMC), is a fluid containing cells from the bone marrow. BMAC is prepared by removing fat tissue, red blood cells, and platelets from bone marrow. These components are then concentrated into a rich cell population of stem cells that can be used to treat orthopedic injuries, commonly by injection.

Bone marrow aspirate concentrate is injected directly into the orthopedic injury site where it acts as an “intense repair mechanism.” This treatment can work because orthopedic stem cells can differentiate into multiple cell types including bone, cartilage, and tendon cells.

What is the difference between stem cell therapy and PRP?

Although orthopedic stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma (PRP) both involve the use of a patient’s own blood, they are very different.

Stem cells derived from bone marrow can differentiate into other types of cells in order to help stimulate healing at an orthopedic injury site. PRP uses a person’s own growth factors to help stimulate healing. However, PRP does not contain any stem cells.

What can orthopedic stem cell therapy be used for?

Orthopedic stem cell therapy has been used to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Tendon tears
  • Joint or Back pain
  • Cartilage damage

There is still some research needed to determine the full potential of orthopedic stem cell therapy, but early results show the treatment is safe and very promising.

Am I a candidate for orthopedic stem cell therapy?

I would be delighted to meet with you and talk about if this therapy is suitable for you if you have been diagnosed with one of the above or other orthopedic problems.

You’ll get an honest evaluation of whether I think you’d benefit from one of these procedures, either on its own or as a supplementary treatment to surgery.