Your Questions Answered!
Are there adverse reactions?
- Short term adverse reactions – the main adverse reaction is pain and discomfort during and after injection. This is because we are stimulating an inflammatory and healing response. It is also possible to develop a low grade fever, body aches, or fatigue.
- Your own cells and tissues are used which reduces risk for contamination or rejection.
- Very low risk of infections, DVT, or neurovascular injury.
- Long term, the only problem that you could encounter is that it is not effective
Will this just “mask” or “cover up” my symptoms?
The purpose or theory of biologics treatments is to optimize healing and improve the body’s own framework. Therefore, we are trying to induce a healing process rather than just covering symptoms up with something like pain medications.
How many treatments/injections will I need?
- The average patient typically requires one treatment. Sometimes a patient will need 2 or 3 treatments. We pride ourselves on using the best known technology thus requiring fewer injections.
- This is normally assessed at least 6 weeks after the first injection. We usually do not consider a repeat injection if the injection helped completely or did not help at all. A repeat injection may be beneficial in those that get partial relief after the first treatment or if symptoms return after a period of time.
What are the benefits of Stem Cell injections?
Stem cell injections are a non-surgical treatment option that helps reduce pain and provide long-lasting relief from chronic tendinitis and ligament and joint problems. If needed, stem cell injections are performed with ultrasound guidance. This helps ensure proper placement of the stem cells.
How long is the healing process?
The body starts the healing process over the first 4-6 weeks but can take up to 8-12 months to completely heal depending on the problem. Usually, symptoms and mobility improve over the first 4-8 weeks.
When can I return to work or school?
This is patient dependent. It is ok to return the next day if symptoms are controlled. However, it is acceptable to take a day or two off. A note can be provided if needed.
Does stem cell therapy regrow cartilage?
Scientific studies are promising, but currently, there is nothing definitive that shows this in human studies. There is some limited data suggesting an ability to regenerate a portion of the cartilage that may be worn down in the patient’s joint. The possibility of cartilage regeneration has little correlation with pain relief. For patients with more advanced arthritis, cartilage regeneration is less likely, but symptom improvement is highly probable.
Literature currently shows pain reduction in patients with arthritis and cartilage defects. We have patients that have fully healed on follow up MRIs with partial tears. We have many post x-rays with increased spacing to degenerated joints.
Does insurance cover biologic treatments?
- Most insurances do not cover this procedure and the patient is responsible for out-of-pocket expenses. If you have questions about your specific insurance you are encouraged to call your insurance company.
- HSA and FSA accounts can be used to pay for the procedure. It is your responsibility to call and check your benefits and uses with them ahead of time.
- There may be financing options available for the procedure.
What are the risks?
Stem cell therapy uses your own stem cells. Since the cells come from your own body, there is no chance of your body rejecting it. It is just boosting your own ability to heal. There is a small risk of infection as is standard with any injection procedure. You can expect the stem cell harvesting site where our providers collected the stem cells to be sore for a few days after the procedure.
What is the success rate of these types of therapies?
- In our experience, most patients will experience significant pain relief approximately 1-2 months after the procedure. Many patients report improvements within days.
- Generally, patients continue to improve for up to 6 months after the injection. Even with a screening process to identify good patients, there may be patients who will not see improvement with stem cell therapy.
- Overall, 75-80% of our patients have significant pain relief and improved function after their stem cell procedure(s). Few studies have looked at the long-term outcomes of stem cell procedures even though the safety of these procedures has been tracked for many years with few complications reported.