Seminars about amniotic “stem cell” therapy are popping up everywhere, and it is important to know what advertisers are really talking about. At OrthoRegen, we do not use amniotic “stem cell” therapy in our stem cell treatments, but we do want you to be educated about amniotic therapy, especially since there is a lot of misinformation surrounding amniotic “stem cell” therapy and umbilical cord blood “stem cell” therapy. We want to inform you on what these treatments are and also what they are not.
There is a reason we keep putting “stem cells” in quotations when we talking about amniotic “stem cells.” That’s because there are NO actual stem cells in amniotic “stem cell” therapy. That’s right! Both amniotic “stem cell” therapy and umbilical cord blood “stem cell” therapy have NO stem cells in the product. Think about the scenario a minute. There isn’t someone waiting for the mother to give birth, and someone who is collecting the afterbirth, and someone else delivering it to your doctor’s office, to then be injected into your degenerated or injured hip or knee by the clinician you have chosen, right?! No, that isn’t the way it happens. Sure, the mother does donate the placental tissue. But the afterbirth materials are purchased by companies, and the companies process the materials in an effort to make sure they are disease-free. They are also freeze-dried. All of these preservation processes kill all of the live cells. That leaves NO live stem cells in the product. Amniotic stem cells are being advertised all over the place and people are fascinated with this very popular trend of using amniotic fluid for joint repair. But it needs to be clarified that amniotic “stem cell” therapy has NO actual stem cells, but rather growth factors and natural hyaluronic acid remnants found in the extracellular matrix of the amniotic tissue. If companies advertise in this way about the actual product you will receive, it is simply not true. Keep in mind that in their pre-donated state, the amniotic fluid does have an abundance of stem cells, but they do not survive the processing.
They Say My Stem Cells Are Too Old, Weak, or Too Few
Some seminars try to convince folks that their own stem cells are no good, and that the donated cells are better for treating joint pain. That’s not true! This is another important point to understand… your own bone marrow, even if you are older, contains sufficient stem cells. Yours stem cells are just fine. And they are live stem cells. How can the processed “dead” cells be better? The push to say that your own cells are too weak, or too few and that their amniotic product is better does not make any sense, when their product doesn’t contain any! Remember, cryopreserved, dehydrated amniotic products do not contain stem cells. Yes, amniotic fluid does contain growth factors. And these growth factors very well may work at helping joint pain. But guess what? You have growth factors in your blood! Your own blood in the form of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) contains live growth factors too. And when we use PRP, if recommended in your particular case, we won’t be preserving it and freeze drying it. It will be used right away. Again, the purchased, micronized amniotic product does contain growth factor material, but it is processed. Why not just use your own (autologous) live stem cells and PRP growth factors for your joint pain and injuries?
Using your own stem cells and blood is also safer as far as the transfer of disease or contaminants. True, the amniotic product is processed and freeze-dried, but problems of contamination have occurred. The CDC has reported instances of contamination of both amniotic product and cord blood with fecal matter and bacteria.[i]
To recap: original amniotic fluid from the fetus does contain an abundance of stem cells in its pre-donated state. However, the procedure used in amniotic material processing alters the original relevant characteristics of the product thereby decreasing its ability and usefulness at regeneration and repair of injured or degenerated tissue. Once again, the amniotic “stem cell” therapy does not contain actual stem cells, but rather growth factors that may possibly activate your own stem cells.
They Say I Just Need One Injection
One injection simply is not enough to heal your whole joint. Even if just one injection is advertised, it is not sufficient for complete healing. The most likely scenario is that your joint injury or pain progressed over time, and involves more than one joint structure. In order to provide adequate repair of the joint and the pain relief you seek, a more comprehensive treatment would be necessary. In most joint injuries, when one ligament is injured, additional ligaments and other soft tissue are generally injured as well. Unhealed joint injuries often lead to arthritis, and in this case the entire joint is involved. One injection simply cannot treat all of those joint structures. A comprehensive treatment is necessary to strengthen, repair and stabilize all of the involved structures. This also helps to prevent the continued breakdown of cartilage common in arthritis. A single injection is simply not comprehensive enough to reverse the damage affecting the entire joint. At OrthoRegen, we address the entire joint with a multi-injection technique called Comprehensive Regenerative Orthopedics, in order to effectively treat the joint and return you to the pain-free life you desire.
Why Don’t We Use Amniotic “Stem Cell” Therapy?
At OrthoRegen, we use the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy, which combines four different regenerative treatments that are extremely effective and which utilize your own stem cells and growth factors. We use adipose (fat) stem cells, which contain both live growth factors and live stem cells. Plus, we use bone marrow stem cells, which contain live growth factors and live stem cells. We also use Platelet Rich Plasma, which contains live growth factors. And then we use Dextrose Prolotherapy to strengthen any injured ligaments or tendons so the whole joint is treated and repaired. In comparison to amniotic “stem cell” therapy that only has processed growth factor material and no stem cells, it makes sense that we would choose the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy that has been shown to be very effective.
Another great thing about Regenerative Orthopedics and the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy is that it is non-surgical and requires basically no downtime. No extended time off of work is needed, and you can remain active.
Various trials and studies have shown the effectiveness of Dextrose Prolotherapy alone in treating arthritis, as well as ligament and tendon injuries.[ii],[iii],[iv] When indicated, in advanced cases of degeneration, we recommend the entire regimen involved in the Gold Standard of Stem Cell Therapy. In many cases of degeneration and injury, Prolotherapy alone is sufficient to bring the pain relief and repair needed, and the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy is not required. In cases that are more advanced, many other clinics use only one or two of these procedures, but we have discovered that this combination acts as an amazing regenerative solution to reverse the damage of arthritis on the joint. We comprehensively treat the entire joint with multiple injections of the Platelet Rich Plasma portion of the blood, adipose stem cells, and bone marrow stem cells. These regenerative treatments, along with Dextrose Prolotherapy in and around the involved joint offer benefits in terms of pain relief, regenerative properties, and cartilage repair for people with arthritis and all types of joint pain and injuries. In our experience, we have discovered that this combination approach of live stem cells, growth factors, and regenerative therapies offers the best therapeutic regenerative approach for more advanced degenerative cases and particular injuries, addressing the whole joint and effectively healing the joint injuries, resolving pain, and restoring function to return you quickly to the active life you desire.
[i] Notes from the Field: Infections after Receipt of Bacterially Contaminated Umbilical Cord Blood–Derived Stem Cell Products for Other than Hematopoietic or Immunologic Reconstitution — United States, 2018. Weekly / December 21, 2018 /67(50);1397–1399.
[ii] Reeves KD, Hassanein K. Randomized prospective double-blind placebo-controlled study of dextrose prolotherapy
or knee osteoarthritis with or without ACL laxity. Alt Ther Health Med. 2000; 6(2):68–80.
[iii] Dagenais S, Yelland MJ, Del Mar C, Schoene ML. Prolotherapy injections for chronic low-back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Apr 18, 2007; (2): CD004059.
[iv] Rabago D, Zgierska A, Fortney L, et al. Hypertonic dextrose injections (prolotherapy) for knee osteoarthritis: results of a single-arm uncontrolled study with 1-year follow-up. J Altern Complement Med. 2012;18(4): 408–14.