Stem Cell Treatments For Chronic Knee Arthritis
Our goal at Skinspirations is to help people look & feel better both from the outside as well as the inside, so we offer regenerative therapies including fat-derived stem cells & PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections.
Many of our patients are seeking aesthetic treatments to correct the results of aging so they're also at an age where they may have arthritis or other overuse joint problems. Dr. Elliott has over 30 years of experience performing joint injections, as well as experience in fat transplants, so we have offered stem cell treatments since 2014 to our current patients for certain conditions.
Stem Cells Contain Healing Growth Factors
It was observed for years that facial fat transfers resulted in not just increased volume, but improved skin texture and quality. Over the last few years, it's been learned that this improvement is due to the high number of stem cells contained in the fat. It turns out that fat and bone marrow have the highest numbers of stem cells in the body.
Stem cells, which are full of healing growth factors, have the ability to stimulate the regeneration of different types of tissues, including cartilage, muscle, bone, and fat. When stem cells are obtained from your fat or your bone marrow and then injected into another part of your body, it's believed that they're attracted to the signals coming from areas of injury or disease. The multiple substances included with and/or released by the stem cells have shown promising results in multiple medical conditions including severe arthritis & orthopedic injuries, cardiac disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and more.
In musculoskeletal conditions, for example, stem cell treatments have been successfully used to promote healing of fractures and, when injected into injured or degenerated knees, elbows, shoulders, and hip joints, to stimulate cartilage growth, decrease pain, and increase function.
Many people still don’t know that bone marrow transplants, which have been safely used since the fifties, are a type of stem cell therapy. When the atomic bomb was developed research was begun to find a way to replace bone marrow destroyed by radiation since, without bone marrow, blood cells aren’t produced. Bone marrow, which like fat is rich in stem cells, became the source of tissue that when transplanted, could restore the blood-making capabilities.
It’s now known that stem cells are found in multiple sources in the body, but two of the richest tissues in adults are bone marrow and fat. Fat makes up around 15-20% of the body weight of an average person and most people wouldn’t mind sacrificing a few ounces.
Obtaining fat through a mini-liposuction procedure is relatively simple and fat contains more mesenchymal stem cells (that can differentiate into multiple types of cells) than does bone marrow, especially after middle age.
The first person that I treated with stem cells and healing factors isolated from fat was a man who had severe bone-on-bone arthritis in his knee to the point of deformity and had been postponing a knee replacement for over a year. Immediately after I injected his knee with the fat-derived growth factors, he was up walking and he went for a bike ride the next morning. Now, six years after that single treatment, he rates his knee pain and functional improvement as still 75% better than before the treatment.
My stepdad had both of his knees replaced about fifteen years ago before stem cell treatments were an option. About five years ago he developed pain above one replacement and was told that the pain was due to a thinning of the bone, called osteolysis, just above the replacement. His orthopedic surgeon recommended replacing the replacement, which my stepdad didn't want to undergo, and his orthopedic doctor gave him the okay to try a stem cell treatment with me.
In Feb. of 2017, I took fat from his abdomen and removed the stem cells and healing factors and then injected them into the degenerating area of bone. Within a few weeks after the treatment, the pain above the knee replacement started to improve and was gone within a month. An MRI taken five months later by his orthopedic surgeon showed that the thinning bone above the replacement had thickened where it had been injected with the growth factors and so far he's had no further pain in that area.
The Fat-Derived Growth Factor Procedure
The procedure for fat-derived stem cell therapy involves obtaining a few ounces of fat by mini-liposuction done with a local anesthetic, isolating the stem cells and growth factors from the fat, and then injecting them into the part of the body being treated. There's no sedation or general anesthetic needed and even when knees are treated, patients can walk immediately afterward.
Fat-derived stem cell/healing factor treatments are still considered investigative procedures although hopefully soon there will be enough clinical trial results to prove their benefits and relative lack of risk to the FDA and insurance companies. Like all medical treatments, individual results vary, growth factor treatments have no guarantees and there are associated risks.
I don’t have the extent of knowledge or experience a regenerative orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine physician has when it comes to these treatments and I recommend that patients interested in them consult with one. I also don't have the imaging equipment needed to inject growth factors into joints besides the knees and shoulders.
Schedule a complimentary consultation to find out if you're a candidate for a growth factor treatment at Skinspirations by registering online here or by calling 727.571.1923.
* Skinspirations is not representing or offering "stem cell therapy" as a cure for any condition, disease, or injury. No statements or implied treatments on this website have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. This website contains NO medical advice. All statements and opinions provided by this website are provided for educational and informational purposes only and we do not diagnose or treat via this website or via telephone. Skinspirations is offering treatments that are in the investigational stage to provide individual patients with tissue Stromal Vascular Fraction that contains their own autologous stem cells and growth factors. Skinspirations is not involved in the use or manufacture of any investigational drugs.
Skinspirations represents that it is important for potential patients to do their own research based on the options that we present so that one can make an informed decision.