Performed as an outpatient procedure, stem cell therapy for knees focuses directly on the affected area of the knee. Image tests may be done prior to treatment to confirm that soft tissue damage is likely the source of your pain. A numbing gel or local anesthetic is often used to make the process as comfortable as possible.
The concentrated stem cell mixture is then injected into the part of the knee that needs a healing boost. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities after receiving treatment. It’s believed stem cell therapy benefits patients with knee issues by:
- Helping with the development of cartilage cells
- Reducing inflammation
- Releasing beneficial proteins (cytokines) that may slow down tissue wear (degeneration)
It typically takes several weeks for the stem cells to fully work on tissues within the affected area of the knee. Some patients do notice the desired results after a single treatment. However, it’s not unusual for patients with chronic knee pain to see better results with 2-3 treatments. If more than one injection is needed, additional treatments will be spaced out to allow tissues in your knee to respond to the stem cells.
Stem cell therapy for knees is generally considered a safe procedure for suitable candidates. If you do respond well to treatment, you may be able to delay knee surgery or avoid it altogether. Additional post-procedure recommendations will depend on your goals and lifestyle. If you are athletic and active with sports, for example, you might be advised to combine physical therapy or rehab with treatment to increase your odds of getting back to your desired level of activity within a reasonable period of time.