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?
- 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?
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 it 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. Whether or not the cartilage regenerates has little correlation with relief of pain. In cases of more advanced arthritis, we are less likely to see any cartilage regeneration, however 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 MRI 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 with them ahead of time.
- There may be financing options available for the procedure.
What are the risks?
What is the success rate of these types of therapies?
- Our experience is that most patients will have significant relief of pain around 1-2 months after the procedure. Many patients report improvements within days.
- Patients typically improve for up to 6 months following the procedure. There are patients who will not see any improvement from a stem cell procedure even though we have a screening process that helps identify patients that are good candidates.
- Overall, 75-80% of our patients have had significant pain relief and improved function of the joint following the procedure(s). There have not been many studies of the long term outcomes of stem cell procedures reported in the literature although the safety of these procedures has been tracked for many years with few (barely any) complications reported.