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At OrthoRegen, the Stem Cell technique we use for injuries to the joints and spine is The Gold Standard for stem cell regeneration. We don’t use just one type of regenerative therapy, but use four different kinds of Regenerative Orthopedics to help you avoid invasive surgery. Many other clinics only use one or two of these procedures, but not all four. We use bone marrow stem cells as well as adipose (fat) stem cells. We also use PRP Prolotherapy to accelerate their healing. In addition, we use Dextrose Prolotherapy on the outside of the joint to help stabilize the ligaments and tendons that hold the joint in place. This last step is critical for the success of the procedure. Without it, failure rates are high.

Using two sources of stem cells (bone and fat) as well as PRP Prolotherapy and Dextrose Prolotherapy is referred to as The Gold Standard for stem cell regeneration. We choose to use this procedure in cases where people have been told they either need their joint replaced, have bone-on-bone, advanced arthritis, cartilage loss or a combination of these.

In this article, we would like to discuss Stem Cell Therapy for the regeneration of a degenerated joint. The goal of Stem Cell Therapy, as with all forms of Regenerative Orthopedics, is to stimulate injured tissues to repair.

What Is the Basis Behind Stem Cell Therapy?

In conditions such as arthritis, the problem is typically progressive and degenerative, with a limited ability of the joint to heal itself. The joint is in a state where it is breaking down. What we want to do with Stem Cell Therapy is to get the joint in a state of building up. When we use Stem Cell Therapy, we are stimulating the body to repair the area to get it stronger. Stem Cell Therapy probably works by a lot of different mechanism but here are some proposed mechanisms:

  • Reduces the instability in the joint that leads to the arthritis in the first place
  • Stimulates the growth of the cells (extracellular matrix) that make the tissues that are causing the ongoing pain and/or instability
  • Stimulates the cells already present to make extracellular matrix
  • The cells that help to build cartilage are called chondrocytes. Stem Cell Therapy involves the injections of the precursor cells (stem cells) that will differentiate into adult chondrocytes

While the exact mechanisms by which Stem Cell Therapy works can be debated, the bottom line for the patient is, “Do I get rid of my pain and get back to the activities I desire?” In the majority of cases the answer is, “Yes!

Conditions That Can Be Treated with Stem Cell Therapy

Any condition that is helped by one type of Regenerative Orthopedics (Stem Cell Therapy, PRP, Prolotherapy) can at least theoretically be helped by another type of Regenerative Orthopedics. While Stem Cell Therapy is typically not used for ligament and tendon injuries, it surely can be used for those conditions. Most clinics, including OrthoRegen, use Stem Cell Therapy for cases of significant joint injury or severe degenerative arthritis in joints or even the spine. Those who are involved in treating people with articular cartilage degeneration or joint injury know that when these patients are treated with Stem Cell Therapy, the vast majority of them improve.

Adult Stem Cell Injections, NOT Embryonic Stem Cell Injections

The Stem Cell Therapy done at OrthoRegen has nothing to do with embryonic stem cell therapy. Most research and studies have shown that cord blood does NOT have many, if any, stem cells. We only use the patient’s own adult stem cells. We take the bone marrow from the patient’s own tibia or iliac crest bones and use fat from the abdominal or buttock areas so that the stem cells are the freshest. Additionally, there is no cross contamination this way! We then inject these cells into the defective joint.

Why Do We Use PRP with Stem Cells from Bone Marrow and Fat?

At OrthoRegen, we only use the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy, which includes bone marrow stem cells, fat stem cells, PRP, and Dextrose Prolotherapy. Stem cells are great, but they need to be directed as to what to do. Some of the directors are the growth factors that are in the platelets. Platelets aid the stem cells in their various jobs including differentiation and then aid in the differentiated cells making the extracellular matrix to repair the injured tissue. One could think of the stem cells as construction workers and the platelets (and their growth factors) as their supervisors, telling them what to do. Platelet Rich Plasma contains a myriad of substances that stimulate healing, like platelet-derived growth factor, which attracts immune system cells to the injured area to enhance ligament and tendon healing. And fibroblast growth factor which promotes the growth of the cells involved in collagen and cartilage formation.

We have found that Comprehensive Regenerative Orthopedics using the combination of all of these regenerative treatments works amazingly at accomplishing the results of repair and return to function in the patients we have treated, allowing them to return to the activities they enjoy in life.

  1. Akens MK, Hurtig MB. Influence of species and anatomical location on chondrocyte expression. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2005; 6:23.
  2. Guilak F, Estes BT, Dickman BO. 2010 Nicolas Andry Award: Multipotent adult stem cells from adipose tissue for musculoskeletal tissue engineering. Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research. 2010;468:2530-2540.

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