Thanks to modern medical advances and research, regenerative medicine is currently revolutionizing the way we treat injuries in the body. Stem cell therapy, in particular, shows great promise and produces remarkable results by helping the body heal itself. That said, there’s still a lot of misunderstanding and confusion among the public regarding stem cells and their role in the regeneration process. Let’s discuss stem cell therapy and how it can heal your body.
Stem cells are non-specific cells that our bodies create that can differentiate as needed. In other words, these cells can develop into specific types of other cells that your body needs — for example, liver cells, heart cells, brain cells, muscle cells and so on. In the earliest stages of life, embryonic stem cells help form our body parts as we grow in the womb; as adults, stem cells serve a regenerative purpose, replacing dead or damaged cells in the body as needed. Modern medicine has harnessed the power of these non-specific cells to target regeneration at various points of injury, replacing damaged tissues with fresh, new cells.
Due to controversy surrounding the idea of harvesting of embryonic stem cells, some people might have a misunderstanding of how stem cells work in regenerative therapy, or where they come from. In reality, stem cell therapy draws stem cells from your own body tissues — specifically from adipose, a fatty tissue found in your abdomen — and inserts these cells at the site of injury or diseased tissue to help facilitate regeneration and regrowth. The beauty of this practice is that it does not involve the use of drugs or synthetic materials; rather, it enables your body to heal itself using its own stem cells.
Stem cells on their own have the remarkable ability to differentiate and appropriate themselves according to need, so they will form into the types of cells needed to replace whatever damaged cells exist — be it muscle, skin, ligaments, etc. Furthermore, the body recognizes these cells as part of your own DNA, so by injecting your own stem cells at the damage site, the body is much less likely to reject them. Finally, by concentrating the stem cells at the point of injury, the healing process can be greatly accelerated.
During a stem cell therapy session, we begin by extracting a small amount of adipose tissue from your abdominal region using a sterile needle. Processing adipose tissue by traditional methods used to take several days, but thanks to a system called LipoGems®, we can now process this tissue in a few minutes without the use of chemicals. Once the tissue is processed and the stem cells are activated, we inject the stem cells into the affected area. The entire session usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.
Your doctor will advise you to stop taking any anti-inflammatory pain relievers or NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or Aleve for at least 7 days prior to your session, along with any blood-thinning medications. These drugs can hinder the stem cells and lessen their effectiveness. You’ll need to stay off these medications for at least four weeks after your session to maximize effectiveness.
After the procedure, you may experience some pain and swelling at the injury site for several days. This is a normal reaction as the stem cells do their work. If the pain becomes significant or you have any issues, don’t take NSAIDs to relieve the pain; instead, take Tylenol or talk to your doctor about other pain medicine prescriptions that won’t interfere with the healing process.
Many studies are still being done on stem cell applications, but researchers believe stem cell therapy may be effective in treating up to 65 different diseases, from heart disease to neurological disorders to diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more. In addition, stem cell therapy is proving highly effective in the treatment of sports injuries and spine-related injuries. (Polaris focuses primarily on these last two applications.)
Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center is committed to utilizing proven, state-of-the-art solutions to facilitate and accelerate healing in the spine and back. To learn more about how stem cell therapy heals your body and to learn whether you might be a candidate for this therapy, call us today at 404-256-2633.