Stem Cells are cells located in our body which are capable of change but have not yet made up their mind about what type of cell to become. Some Stem Cells can only change within a certain "lineage", others can become any type of cell and tissue in the body, such as bone, cartilage, muscle, etc. Stem Cells are essentially our natural reservoir of cells that we use to repair and regenerate injured or degenerated tissue in our body.
Stem Cells can be harvested from our own Stem Cell storage areas and safely transferred to where we need them. The most abundant areas of Stem Cells in our body are in our bone marrow and fat. They also exist, to a lesser extent, in our blood and tissue.
Yes, unless our doctors determine you have a specific medical condition, it is safe to transfer Stem Cells. New Stem Cells will form in the area from which they were harvested.
Once Stem Cells are transferred, certain cells and chemicals in our body will guide them to where they are needed. Areas of our body which are inflamed and degenerated will receive the majority of the stem cells. Once the Stem Cells are at the correct location, our body’s chemicals will signal them which type of cell to become.
Stem Cells are the body’s own repair mechanism. They continuously help us heal from injuries. The injured tissue sends out signals to attract the Stem Cells and heal the tissue. However, some conditions such as severe degeneration or arthritis overwhelm this process. In this case more stem cells are needed.
As we age, our body still maintains large numbers of Stem Cells. However, it becomes more difficult to transfer the Stem Cells from our storage areas to where we need them. This is due to diminished circulation, reduced oxygen, and other diseases we contract with increasing age. Some conditions, such as severe forms of arthritis or injuries also overwhelm our body’s capacity to deliver the required numbers of Stem Cells to the specific area where they are needed.
Yes. One type of Stem Cell, called “hematopoietic stem cells”, are primarily present in the bone marrow and also in blood. Another type, called “mesenchymal stem cells”, are mostly located in our body fat. We typically combine both types of Stem Cells to give you the maximum chance for repair and regeneration.
These are very small Stem Cells that, incidentally, have the capacity to pass through the blood-brain barrier. We sometimes jokingly call them "Heineken Cells" for their capacity to reach the parts that other cells cannot reach!
These treatments have proved helpful in mitigating neurological conditions [including Alzheimer’s Disease], autoimmune diseases [such as arthritis], and most musculoskeletal conditions. One very encouraging outcome is in the treatment of Osteoporosis where significantly improved bone density has been achieved. Another very exciting aspect is in the field of life extension. If you are interested in prolonging your active life, see Telomere Extension in the page on V-Cell treatments and also the Anti-Aging page .
Stem Cells taken from one part of your body and placed into a different part have not been shown to cause cancer.
No, we never use any Stem Cells other than those from your own body.
We use small needles to remove stem cells from your hip bone and fat tissue. This is considered a small outpatient procedure. No open surgery is required. We may also draw blood; again, not a surgical procedure.
The doctor will use local anesthetics while your stem cells are transferred. Most patients experience minimal pain during the procedure.
In a Bone Marrow Stem Cell Procedure (BMAC), a needle is used to remove stem cells from the bone marrow of your hip bone. These cells are then placed into a machine called a “centrifuge” which “spins” the cells. This process separates your Stem Cells from the other cells in the bone marrow, which are not needed. These stem cells can then be injected where your body needs them, such as a degenerated knee or hip joint.
Contrary to the popular notion that removing bone marrow is extremely painful there is minimal pain. The area is numbed with local anesthetics prior to the procedure and a new state of the art needle is used to remove the stem cells. During the procedure you will hear a tapping noise.
A “Fat Graft” is fat tissue which is removed with needles from your abdomen, hip, or buttock area with a small needle. This is also referred to as a “mini-liposuction” procedure, similar to cosmetic surgery procedures. This Fat Graft contains many useful Stem Cells. These Cells are then injected where your body needs them.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is the part of your blood which contains specific cells, called Platelets. These platelets have several important jobs: (1) They help your body form blood clots when you bleed. (2) They travel to inflamed areas of our body and tell the stem cells where to do their work. (3) They contain important growth factors (fertilizers), which help the Stem Cells to succeed.
Stem Cells are removed from your bone marrow (BMAC) or fat (Fat Graft). PRP is a sample of your blood which contains specific cells, called “platelets”. A PRP treatment is sometimes adequate by itself as a treatment of inflamed tendons, ligaments or joints. However, if there is significant degeneration, a Stem Cell treatment is usually needed.
No, Prolotherapy is something very different. Prolotherapy injects a sugar-like substance into an inflamed joint. This causes even further inflammation in the hopes that the body will start a repair process. However, prolotherapy is only a short-term treatment and does not use actual Stem Cells.
Stem Cell procedures have been done safely for the last 20 years. Initially, these procedures were done for cancer patients where stem cells from healthy donors were transferred to cancer patients. Over the last 10 years, doctors and scientists have discovered that Stem Cells can also be taken from one part of a patient’s body and then placed into another area where they are needed.
Our physicians have experience with thousands of PRP and Stem Cell procedures, spanning more than 10 years.
Typically, only one Stem Cell Treatment is needed. However, we may recommend several more Platelet Rich Plasma injections to help the stem cells become more active.
Certainly. None of our procedures would impact on your option to have surgery in the future. Indeed, Stem Cell treatments can be used together with surgery both to shorten the healing time and to improve outcomes.
Our Stem Cell procedures takes approximately 3 hours to complete. So, we do recommend that you take the day off from work. Most patients take a few days off after the procedure.
You can return to most of your normal activities immediately. Depending on where the Stem Cells were injected, you may feel some transient soreness or stiffness.
Yes. If you have an active form of cancer, we do not recommend our procedures. We may also identify other medical conditions which could disqualify you. For this reason, we will review your medical history and let you know if we find a disqualifying condition.
Our doctors will review your Radiology studies and Medical History to determine if you are a candidate for our procedures. This is followed by a formal patient consultation.
Apart from using your own Stem Cells, we also add natural growth factors to help the Stem Cells succeed.
We use X-Ray and Ultrasound machines to deliver the Stem Cells accurately to the injured or degenerated part of your body.
After we remove a small amount of bone marrow, fat or blood, we place them into a machine called a “Centrifuge” to spin them. This process separates your stem cells from other cells, which are not needed, or could interfere with the success of the procedure.
Typically, local anesthetics alone are adequate to provide pain relief. Sometimes oral sedatives are also given if you are uncomfortable with needles. Please bring this to our attention if this is a concern.
Our most commonly performed procedure, which combines the stem cells from your bone marrow (BMAC) and fat with the platelet cells from your blood (PRP), takes about 3 hours to complete.
After your doctor injects the Stem Cells where they are needed, they go to work right away. They will continue their repair process for up to 1 year or longer. This does not mean that you have to wait for pain relief. Patients should start to feel pain relief after six weeks. Remember this is a long-term treatment going at the body's own pace for natural healing. It is not a quick fix of short duration as may be delivered by a drug.
There is no real downtime. You may feel some soreness and stiffness but should be able to resume normal activities soon after the procedure.
Since the stem cells are taken from your own body the risk of rejection is extraordinarily low.
The great majority of patients are very happy with their results and would do it again.
Many patients take blood thinners. We will look at this as part of our screening process and let you know if you are still a candidate for our procedures.
Yes, this often adds to the success of the procedure and we can suggest various vitamins and supplements.