Stem Cell collection and utilization
in Redding California
Of all the treatments I offer, I am most excited about Regenerative Injection Therapy with stem cells. Over the past several years, I have studied alongside the country’s leading experts in the use of stem cells, and PRP injections to treat orthopedic injuries and arthritic joints. This is a treatment option for orthopedic injuries and conditions that has traditionally required surgery or other extensive treatments.
The stem cell transplant procedure involves extracting a small amount of the patient’s own bone marrow and/or fat tissue. Both bone marrow and fat tissue contain large amounts of stem cells. In addition, bone marrow contains a valuable source of growth factors, platelets and other vital regenerative nutrients. Bone marrow is removed in a painless 15 minute procedure under mild sedation and with local anesthetic. Fat tissue is removed in a similar painless process, from the lower belly or flank area, and is essentially a "mini-liposuction". Once an appropriate amount of bone marrow/fat is extracted, the tissues are separated and concentrated. This extremely potent "stem-cell concentrate" is then injected into an injured area or an arthritic joint.
What are stem cells?
Although the general public considers stem cell therapy an innovative, cutting-edge treatment, the fact is that this kind of therapy already has a lengthy history. In the past, however, stem cells were difficult and very expensive to obtain. Luckily, the advent of improved equipment and techniques has meant that stem cells can now be acquired through a simple procedure.
Stem cells can be found in people of all ages
Stem cells can be characterized as the body's repairmen. The most common type is the hematopoietic stem cell. The old thinking was that the hematopoietic stem cells were not that important. We now know that these are the cells that are the true drivers of tissue regeneration. The good news about these cells is that their numbers do not diminish with age. The other type of stem cell associated with tissue healing is the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), which usually travels to injured areas of the body via the bloodstream. The mesenchymal stem cell prepares the area for the other stem cells to do their work.
Invariably, the damaged/painful area in question has an insufficient blood supply meaning there is a limited amount of oxygen and nutrients going to the area. These areas include all tendons, ligaments, cartilage and scar tissue (examples include the rotator cuff of the shoulder, all the joints in the body, the meniscal tissue of the knee, the plantar fascia of the feet). Typically, these areas are unable to heal properly, as the body does not send enough blood, oxygen, nutrients and repair cells to the afflicted areas. The inadequate supply of blood in these areas means that the body fails to sense the injury. Fortunately, we are now able to treat these areas with stem cell injections.
How stem cells are collected
Adipose, or fat, stem cells - These cells are collected via a "mini-liposuction" technique from the fat deposits of a patient's lower belly or flank
Bone marrow stem cells - These cells are gathered by aspirating (removing through suction) bone marrow from the back of a patient's pelvic bone. This blood-like substance is removed from the patient's pelvis with a small needle.
Since the patient is given a mild oral sedative and local anesthetic, minimal discomfort is experienced during the procedures.
In most cases, 2 oz. (60 cc) of bone marrow aspirate is required. The aspirate includes platelets, immature blood cells, and a host of different types of multi-potent stem cells, useful in adult stem cell therapy. After extraction, the bone marrow/fat is placed inside a special container, which in turn is placed into a machine known as a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the material at a high rate of speed. This process separates the stem cells, platelets and growth factors from the remainder of the blood products. It is this concentration of bone marrow/fat that is reintroduced to the injured area during stem cell therapy.
Once this is accomplished, the platelets then release signal proteins and growth factors that activate the stem cells. It's important to understand that stem cells by themselves are unable to repair the injured area. These cells have to be properly directed, and platelets perform this function. In effect, stem cells are construction workers and the platelets are their supervisors. Once they are activated, these "undifferentiated" stem cells are directed to "differentiate" into specific tissue. Generally, the repair process takes two to three months to complete, but in most cases improvement can be noticed before then.
There are various conditions that can affect the progress of stem cell therapy—some positively, others negatively. Patients undergoing stem cell therapy or platelet-rich plasma treatments are advised to minimize their intake of alcohol, as consumption tends to impede the body's ability to release stem cells. Conversely, some supplements increase the number of stem cells; these include vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil).
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