Stem cells, specifically mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have been called “patient-specific drug stores for injured tissues” because of their broad range of healing abilities. MSCs are directly responsible for healing damaged tissues after injury. Upon encountering damaged tissue, they release proteins that decrease inflammation, kill invading microbes, and trigger the growth of new connective tissues and blood vessels. In the case of severe damage and cell death, MSCs have the ability to turn into healthy versions of damaged or destroyed cells that they encounter.
When we take MSCs from your own bone marrow, from your own fat, or from both, concentrate and/or isolate them, and then inject them directly into your problem area, we ‘trick’ your body into thinking that there has been a new injury without actually causing any tissue insult, and you get a second chance at healing. In the case of advanced osteoarthritis where the population of stem cells has been depleted, we are repopulating the area with stem cells, and thereby restoring the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Conditions we treat:
- Osteoarthritis of any joint (including “bone-on-bone”)
- Back Pain (degenerated disc, stenosis, facet arthrosis, SI syndrome, sciatica, etc)
- Neck Pain
- Headaches (except true hormonal migraines)
- Sports Injuries (tennis elbow, rotator cuff tear, ACL tear, torn meniscus, chronic ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, chronic subluxation/dislocation of shoulder, torn labrum of shoulder or hip, etc)
- Overuse Syndromes (plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, texters/quilters thumb, TMJ syndrome, etc)
- Bone spurs
- Avascular Necrosis
- Non-union Fracture
Conditions we do NOT treat:
- Any systemic disease (neurologic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, etc.)
- Spinal Cord Injury
Before your treatment, we will decide whether to harvest and prepare stem cells from your bone marrow, from your fat, or from both.
Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC)
Bone marrow is rich in growth factors and stem cells. It is important to understand that bone marrow harvesting for BMAC is vastly simpler than bone marrow harvesting for transfusion for cancer therapies. In bone marrow harvesting for transfusion, a surgeon removes a very large amount of bone marrow from many puncture sites. For our purposes, BMAC requires a relatively small amount of bone marrow from a single puncture site.
The procedure has an excellent safety profile. We have performed over 4,000 of them without a single adverse outcome. It’s far less painful than one would think, takes under ten minutes, and causes only mild soreness afterward that lasts only a few days.
Adipose-Derived Stem Cells (ADSC)
Adipose tissue (fat) is rich with adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC). Fat harvesting for ADSC therapy is done with a very simple process called lipoaspiration. It is important to understand that lipoaspiration is vastly different from liposuction. Liposuction is performed by a plastic surgeon, and up to 6,000mL (6 liters) of fat is removed for a cosmetic result. In contrast, lipoaspiration uses only a small amount of local anesthetic and a small instrument slightly larger than a hypodermic needle to remove 1/100 of that amount (60mL). The entire process takes around sixty minutes.
Bone marrow or fat? Which is best for you?
Most patients who undergo treatment at Docere Clinics opt to receive both BMAC and ADSC combined in a single treatment. Based on close follow-up with our patients, this appears to provide the most consistent and powerful results. Please click here to read a scientific article written by Dr. Adelson published in The Pain Practitioner describing his experience comparing bone marrow stem cells, adipose stem cells, and the combination of the two. Clearly, if you have too little subcutaneous fat to consider lipoaspiration, then ADSC is not an option and we will opt instead for BMAC alone. If you have a history of bone or blood cancer, we opt for ADSC suspended in platelet rich plasma.
Download a scientific overview of Adult Stem Cell Therapy, written by Arnold Caplan, Ph.D., the scientist who first described mesenchymal stem cell function in 1988.
Podcast with Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Radio: this will answer any remaining questions you may have.