BodyStem

Advanced Stem Cell Therapy for Damaged and Painful Joints

Stem cell therapy is a state-of-the-art treatment now available in the U.S. that utilizes your own body’s healing potential in order to repair damaged or painful joints.  Stem cells are located throughout your body, and they possess the ability to multiply and grow into many different types of tissues.  For example, stem cells found in fat (adipose stem cell) can grow into cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and bone.  BodyStem can help with symptoms of:

•Arthritis •Tendonitis •Bursitis •Ligament Strain
•Knee Pain •Shoulder Pain •Back Pain •Neck Pain
•Tennis Elbow •Golfer’s Elbow •Plantar Fasciitis •Carpal Tunnel
•Meniscal Tear •Labral Tear •Foot Pain •Muscle Injury

…and many other bone, muscle, and medical problems.

We are also using stem cells to improve skin texture and quality at Aesthetica Med Spa (www.amedspa.com).  This is a patented treatment by Dr. David Sneed called StemGlo™.

  1. PRP (30 minutes):  The PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) procedure involves a 30-60 cc blood draw.  A typical blood draw tube is about 5cc.  The blood is then centrifuged (spun at a high rate of speed) in order to isolate the growth factors, stem cells, and platelets floating in your bloodstream.  The unnecessary serum and blood cells are discarded.  This solution is then injected into the problematic area.  We harvest our PRP using the highest quality centrifuge available.
  2. ASC (2 hours):  The ASC (Adipose Stem Cell) procedure involves liposuction of approximately 30-60cc of adipose tissue (fat).  Your adipose tissue (fat) is the most abundant source of stem cells throughout your entire body.  We use a high-quality centrifuge that isolates millions of stem cells from your adipose tissue.  This is generally not enough liposuction to be noticed cosmetically.  Of note, if you wish to combine cosmetic liposuction with your stem cell therapy, this can be arranged with an additional fee.  The fat is centrifuged in order to isolate millions of stem cells that are needed for regenerating bone, cartilage, skin, etc.
  3. BMAC (4 hours):  The BMAC (Bone Marrow Aspirate Collection) procedure is performed by drawing bone marrow from your iliac crest (hip area).  The area is first anesthetized with lidocaine.  Then, a needle is inserted through the outer layer of bone and a slight negative pressure is maintained in order to collect bone marrow into the syringe.  The bone marrow cells are then centrifuged to concentrate the stem cells that can regenerate and form new blood vessels.

The Procedures:  The entire procedure is performed in our office.  You will be able to drive yourself home although we recommend that someone bring you home since the numbing medication can make you shaky.  We take our time while performing the different aspects of the procedure.  We will do our best to minimize discomfort, and we are liberal with numbing medication.  You will experience some discomfort during the procedure, so please do not hesitate to ask for a medication to take as needed for anxiety.  Depending on which stages of treatment that you have performed, the procedure takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours.  There are three different stages of stem cell therapy as described below.

Which treatment is recommended for me?  This question can only be answered after a full medical evaluation performed by one of our physicians who specializes in stem cell therapy.  In general, PRP is the entry level procedure.  PRP may be added to the other stem cell collection procedures because PRP contains stimulating growth factors that activate the millions of stem cells collected.  For most injuries, we recommend PRP and ASC therapy.  If the injury has been present for more than 1 year, it is best to combine all three stages (PRP, ASC, and BMAC) since BMAC is important in generating new blood vessels.  Scar tissue develops in areas of chronic inflammation thereby impeding blood flow.  Without adequate blood flow the stem cells are unable to generate as much revitalized tissue.  If you are after the age of 55, we recommend performing all three stages (PRP, ASC, and BMAC) since blood vessels may not be as robust over the age of 55.  If you are a smoker, we recommend stopping any form of nicotine for 6 weeks before performing stem cell therapy as well as utilizing all three stages (PRP, ASC, and BMAC).  Cigarette smoking and nicotine make significant contributions to poor circulation.

Down Time:  Stem cell therapy requires minimal down time.  The procedure itself can take 30 minutes to 4 hours to complete, and the entire procedure is performed in our office (bring reading material).  After the procedure, you will have aching pain in the areas of the procedure.  You should avoid any activity on the day of the procedure as well as avoid all exercise for 2 weeks after BodyStem.  Remember, these stem cells are living, and you do not want to damage them.

Time Required for Symptom Improvement:  Since stem cells actively heal and regenerate, they will take time to perform their recovery.  You will walk out of the office with minimal pain in your joint because of the numbing medication.  It typically takes about 4 weeks for the stem cells to regenerate tissue and reduce pain; however, many people notice improvement before this.  Your timing and level of improvement depends on the severity of disease.

Timing:  When should I get stem cell therapy performed?  You should get the procedure performed sooner rather than later.  Unlike joint replacement, you do not want to wait until all of the cartilage and bone is destroyed to get stem cell therapy.  If you perform stem cell therapy while you still have healthy cartilage and bone remaining.  It is easier for the stem cells to regenerate healthy tissue than no tissue.  If the joint is completely destroyed, you will not get as much relief although it will still be effective.

Risk:  There is minimal risk associated with stem cell therapy.  We use all sterile equipment, and we clean your skin thoroughly before operating.  Most of your stem cells are kept in a closed system, and they are not exposed to the environment.  Your stem cells are sterile and should not cause infections.  However, as with any procedure, anytime you break the skin, there is a small risk of infection.  In the worst case scenario, you may get a bacterial infection from the joint injection, blood draw, liposuction, or bone marrow aspiration.  If you develop any signs or symptoms of an infection, call us immediately.  You will experience bruising and aching pain in the areas of liposuction and bone marrow aspiration.

Insurance:  Your evaluation and follow-up visits will be covered by your insurance company, but the procedure is considered “experimental” by insurance companies, so it will not be covered nor will it contribute towards your deductible.  This procedure is not experimental.  It has been scientifically tested and used in advanced clinics worldwide with minimal risk and downtime.  You can use any Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Healthcare Savings Accounts (HSA) to pay for the procedure.  Many people believe that if their health insurance does not cover a procedure, then it is not effective.  Most insurance companies lag behind state-of-the-art medicine by years.  We do not recommend waiting for insurance companies to put their stamp of approval on the procedure before getting it done.  This procedure is much cheaper than a joint replacement and subsequent rehabilitation.  Average costs for a total joint replacement are around $30,000.  Moreover, you will have minimal downtime compared with surgery which requires months of pain and physical rehabilitation, and you get to keep your own natural bones, ligaments, and tendons.

Cost:  Please call our office to schedule a consultation that will be covered by your health insurance.  You will be expected to pay any copays dictated by your insurance company.  Any labs, EKGs, or radiology tests (X-Rays, MRI) will be billed through your insurance company.  The cost of the procedure will be discussed at the time of your initial consultation.  The cost varies depending on which stage of stem cell therapy performed and how many joints involved.  Stem cell therapy prices range from $500 to $5,000.  For most patients, the cost includes two joints at the same time although two joints are not required.  The neck and back count as two joints. You may do more than two joints at the same time for cost saving benefits.  Also, cosmetic liposuction and fat transfer can be performed at the same time for an additional fee (www.amedspa.com).