Stem cells are essentially your body’s cellular foundation.
These undefined cells eventually become cells with specific functions – e.g., bone cells, muscle cells, skin cells, etc. The purpose of stem cell therapy (SCT) is to harness the power of these non-specific cells to enhance your body’s natural healing capabilities. A stem cell specialist in Los Angeles can determine if you may benefit from this innovative and increasingly accessible treatment.
Why Visit an L.A. Stem Cell Specialist?
Stem cell treatment is designed to help your body heal by promoting tissue repair along with cell regeneration and growth. Some patients come to a stem cell specialist in Los Angeles for stem cell therapy because of joint discomfort aggravated by arthritis or spine-related discomfort associated with age-related disc wear (degenerative disc disease) or spinal joint or soft tissue damage. SCT may also benefit patients with the following sources of discomfort:
- Partial rotator cuff tears
- Knee cartilage damage
- Radiating nerve-based pain (chronic radiculopathy)
- Tendon, ligament, and muscle tears not healing well
- Inflammation-based joint conditions like tennis elbow or tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis and similar soft tissue issues affecting feet and ankles
What Happens First?
The first step a stem cell specialist in Los Angeles usually takes is to determine if you are a good candidate for SCT. This process typically involves a physical exam coupled with a discussion of your symptoms and a review of your medical history. Preferred patients for stem cell therapy are generally ones in overall good health without serious or unmanaged health conditions. If you are taking blood-thinning medications for another reason, you may be asked to temporarily stop taking them prior to treatment to minimize bleeding risks.
How Are Stem Cells Collected and Prepared?
The stem cells used for SCT are adult stem cells found within your own body. They are usually collected (harvested) from fat cells in the back area or around the hip (iliac) bone. Stem cells collected from the hip bone are obtained from bone marrow with a thin needle. The bone marrow or fat cells are then specially prepared in a laboratory to produce a mixture with a high amount of beneficial stem cells.
What Happens During and After Treatment?
It’s common for image tests to be done prior to SCT to confirm the source and nature of your injury or tissue damage. The injection site is usually numbed with a topical or local anesthetic. A special live X-ray ray (fluoroscopy) or ultrasound scan helps with needle placement. The mixture of your own stem cells is then injected into the affected area. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities shortly after treatment.
As for how many treatments you may need, a stem cell specialist in Los Angeles will make recommendations based on your response to the initial treatment. Some patients do see the desired results with one injection. However, other individuals benefit more from 2-3 treatments spaced out to allow time for the stem cells to work on tissues in the affected area. Since your own cells are used, risks associated with SCT are considered minimal.