Across the U.S., stem cell therapy is being referred to as the miracle cure for anything from skin blemishes like wrinkles to spinal repair. While there’s not an exhaustive amount of scientific research yet on stem cell therapy for these applications, many promising studies have been showing its effectiveness for the knees.
According to CIRM, California’s Stem Cell Agency, around 600,000 individuals in the U.S. each year undergo knee replacement surgery and this number is expected to potentially rise to three million by 2030. Treatment options, until recently, were either surgical or temporary. Today, in a number of cases, stem cell therapy for the knees is repairing cartilage and decreasing pain for patients. Because of this, many individuals have been able to avoid surgery and have experienced an improvement in their quality of life.
As studies are continually conducted, the combinations and forms of stem cell preparations are advancing ― and there’s the expectation that results will continue to improve as well. It’s an exciting time and promising treatment for many individuals experiencing knee pain.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells, which are actually mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), are precursor cells that don’t know what they’ll be yet in the body. They can differ in various forms, including:
- Connective tissue
They play an important role in the human body’s reparative processes.
What is Stem Cell Therapy for the Knees?
Knee stem cell therapy is an approach of treatment that helps decrease the amount of joint inflammation and irritation you could experience on a day-to-day basis, as well as the long-term. It helps to postpone or prevent more severe health procedures like knee replacement. Each person will vary in how long ongoing stem cell therapy will last, but generally, once treatment is completed, results are permanent.
Many individuals undergo knee treatment options to decrease the pain they’re experiencing from nerve or ligament damage. They ideally would prefer to avoid surgery if possible. Knee stem cell therapy is a bit more complicated than stem cell therapy for other body parts since the supply of blood is more constrained in the knee area. However, when done correctly, you can experience very positive results.
With knee injections, physicians frequently take stem cells from your:
- Fat tissue
- Bone marrow
- Umbilical cord
The injections have minimal side effects, and are typically limited to temporary and mild discomfort. Some patient have mild swelling at the injection site or stiffness in the knee joint.
Many doctors who perform stem cell therapy provide anecdotal evidence to validate the effectiveness of the treatment. Researchers are trying to find whether it’s the stem cells alone that decrease inflammation or if the stem cells release other substances that impact other cells. Researchers are also trying to find out if worn-out cartilage can be regenerated by the treatments.
Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy for Healing Damaged Knees
On a global scale, stem cell therapy is gaining traction. Centers are offering a number of treatments to tackle conditions like chemical imbalances and sclerosis knee issues, in order to restore normalcy to individual’s bodies and lives.
Some types of stem cell therapy are being developed without significant scientific backing to advance the methodology and to eventually benefit millions of individuals over time. Doctors and researchers are getting excited by the results they’re seeing in advanced and new stem cell therapy research and health sciences is literally evolving right before everyone’s’ eyes.
One 2014 study showed stem cell injections administered after a procedure for removing torn knee cartilage showed proof of lessened pain and cartilage regeneration. The findings of six studies showed researchers stem cells for knee arthritis produced good results for patients with no serious side effects.
Professionals in the field concluded that knee stem cell therapy works by:
- Reducing inflammation
- Forming essential ligament cells and providing tendons and nerves growth factors
- Discharging proteins referred to as cytokines that regulate cartilage degeneration and reduce pain
The goal of ongoing research is to determine the most reliable and optimal results for stem cell therapy for the knee based on using ideal dosage amounts, proven methods and accurate cell choices.
Stem Cell Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis
Arthritis develops when your cartilage that lines your joints begins deteriorating and this leads to limited function and causes pain. Osteoarthritis is very common. Both are a huge cause of disability in the U.S.
A main effect of knee osteoarthritis is cartilage degeneration. Knee cartilage is important for the normal function of the joint since it offers protective cushioning for the joint’s bony surfaces and keeps them from directly contacting one another.
In many moderate to severe osteoarthritis cases, the disability and pain associated with this bone on bone contact is an essential factor in determining whether to undergo a knee replacement procedure. Stem cell therapy for knee arthritis might offer individuals with a less invasive alternative one day to the common surgeries used today. Stem cells can not only possibly help ease pain that knee osteoarthritis causes, but they might also be able to slow down cartilage degeneration or reverse it altogether.
While stem cell therapy could pose potential risks when performed on other body areas like the spine or eyes, it’s fairly safe when used for the knees.
The bottom line, stem cell therapy or the knees is still in its infancy and the FDA is taking caution when proceeding. But research so far has been extremely promising. Many individuals have avoided or postponed knee replacement surgery successfully and for the knee. The side effects of Utah stem cell therapy for knees are minimal and the intrusiveness is negligible.