Wednesday, 22 April 2020 | Nina Klein

Does Stem Cell Therapy for Knees Work?

As kids, nasty grazes aside, we may not have thought a lot about our knees. As adults, our situation is a little different. We may feel our joints hurt a little more often

However, it’s not only those entering their twilight years who are susceptible to knee pain and degeneration. Anyone trying to maintain an active lifestyle or doing regular physical exercise will be no stranger to knee injuries.

Are knee surgeries the only way to treat these injuries and get rid of the pain? Luckily, no. Stem cell treatment is giving hope to patients worldwide. In this post, learn more about knee injuries and how stem cell-based treatments can offer a longer lasting solution to your knee problems.

Types of Knee Injuries and Conditions Eligible for Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cells have the ability to repair on a cellular level. Because of this, almost every injury of the knee can potentially be cured by stem cell therapy, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Consistent pain due to the degeneration of knee cartilage
  • Acute knee injuries due to torn ligament or meniscus

Before undergoing any kind of treatment, a full diagnostic must first be performed by specialists to determine if a candidate is eligible for stem cell therapy.

Ongoing Research About Stem Cells for Knees

Doctors all around the world are trying to improve the current treatments available for people suffering from knee problems. Stem cell-based therapy has emerged as a promising treatment for these patients.

If you want to learn more about the different stem cell procedures, you can read about them here:

  • Bone Marrow Concentrate Therapy: The most commonly applied source of stem cells.
  • Stem Cell Secretome Therapy: Designed to harness and mass produce the healing essences of stem cells.
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells: A common source of stem cells, they can communicate to other cells with a broad spectrum of secreted paracrine and regenerative factors.
  • Platelet Rich Plasma: Derived from the blood, this cellular product has concentrated supply of regenerative growth factors and cytokines.

 

Patient Reviews on Stem Cell Treatment

It’s normal that anyone who is considering stem cell therapy will be keen to find others who have gone through similar treatment already. When it comes down to decision time, first-hand information is the preferred source of information for hopeful patients.

While online forums and social media may contain patient reviews, it’s important to keep in mind that these are not verified. Try to find testimonials for stem cell treatment from websites you can trust and from scientific institutions that can also prove these claims.

What are the Negative Effects of Stem Cell Therapy for Knees?

Treating the knees using stem cells is a noninvasive procedure. Or in other words, it doesn’t require surgery. It is also rarely painful, as reported by patients who have undergone this treatment.

There are no known major side effects for this type of treatment, but there could be minor swelling and joint stiffness. As with any medical application that involves injections, an infection at the application site is possible.

What are the Risks of Stem Cell use?

Stem cell treatments for the knees pose no serious risk, especially when adult stem cells are used instead of other types of stem cells. When these adult stem cells are harvested from the patient, it further mitigates the risks.

Like with any other procedure, stem cell therapy is not risk-free. When different types of stem cells are used or if it’s mixed with other chemicals, the risk of having a bad reaction increases.

Are Stem Cell Injections Dangerous?

The answer depends on the clinic you’re planning to attend. Unfortunately, there are clinics that advertise stem cell treatments but do not live up to expectations. For example, they may not use pure or living stem cells in their procedures.

Be very careful about these places. If you find yourself tempted by very low prices, bear in mind that you could be exposing yourself to unethical and dangerous medical practices. Always do a solid background check on the doctors and clinics you’re considering for your treatment.

Are Stem Cell Knee Injections FDA Approved?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America has approved clinical trials for several stem cell-based treatments. However, the only therapies approved to be carried out in the USA by the FDA are bone marrow transplantations.

This should not dishearten people in the US or nearby countries to seek stem cell treatment elsewhere. There are other clinics in Europe that specialize in stem cell therapy and adhere to strict regulations in their countries.

Does Stem Cell Therapy Really Work?

There are people who still doubt the effectiveness of stem cell-based treatments because it is relatively new compared to the more conventional methods of dealing with knee pain.

What they don’t know is stem cell therapy, especially for the knees, has been around since the ‘80s. Many studies have been conducted to improve its process and people all around the world can also attest to its effectiveness.

Can Stem Cell Therapy Repair Damaged Knees?

Since stem cells work on the cellular level, the effects are not just faster but also long-lasting. This is why it’s the preferred treatment for high level athletes or those who want to avoid knee surgery.

Can Stem Cell Therapy Help With Knee Pain?

The knee pain that many patients feel is usually caused by damaged cartilage, which cannot repair itself without help. This is supposed to be the local stem cells’ job, but because the knee has limited blood supply, the area’s inherent stem cells cannot work properly.

By addressing the root of the problem, which is the replenishment of cells by injecting more stem cells into the area, stem cell therapy can help reduce the pain.

Can Stem Cells Help Arthritis?

There is still no conclusive evidence that stem cell therapy can permanently cure arthritis. Currently, experts are still researching ways to improve stem cell-based treatments to treat arthritis in the knee and other joints.

For example, research has shown that stem cells are also able to suppress the immune system and thus reduce the body’s inflammatory response. This makes it a promising treatment for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Can stem Cells Regrow Knee Cartilage?

Knee damage is often caused by articular cartilage injury. This is the tough yet thin cartilage that lines the end of bones which absorb shock. Trauma such as heavy impact or a collision can cause damage to this tissue and unfortunately, it cannot repair itself naturally.

This is where stem cells can help. By injecting adult stem cells into the affected area, researchers believe stem cells will multiply and form new bone or cartilage to replace the injured tissue.

Does Stem Cell Therapy Work on the Bone Knee or Patella?

Knee pain caused by the bone is usually a sign of osteoarthritis. Having this bone disease can cause major discomfort and in extreme cases, disability.

Do stem cells work on bones, especially for people with osteoarthritis? The answer is yes. Similar to cartilage, adult stem cells can be used to create new cells and replace those that were affected by osteoarthritis.

How Long Does Stem Cell Therapy for Knees Last?

Results from stem cell-treated knees can vary for lots of reasons including the condition of the patient, the gravity of the disease and how many sessions the patient has had. In general, stem cell treatment for knees can have lasting up to several years.

How Long Does it Take to get Stem Cell Injections?

The actual procedure for stem cell injections should only last a few hours. People undergoing the treatment in clinics are considered as outpatients, which means they don’t have to stay overnight in the hospital for further observation.

How Many Stem Cell Injections are Needed for Knees?

The number of stem cell injections needed to improve one’s knee depends on the particular case of the patient. Some patients without any other underlying medical condition can feel the effect after just one session.

On the other hand, those who may have chronic illnesses and whose knee condition has been affected by this may need more sessions compared to someone who was just slightly injured.

Is Stem Cell Therapy Permanent?

There are no studies that can prove that the effects of stem cell therapy on the knees is permanent but they are longer lasting compared to the relief brought by traditional methods.

Stem Cell Therapy vs. Knee Replacement Surgery

For many people who are suffering from knee degeneration or injury, stem cell therapy is an attractive alternative to knee replacement surgery. Here’s why:

  1. The recovery time for stem cell therapy is shorter than knee replacement surgery. Most surgeries take patients three to six weeks to recover. With stem cell treatment, patients can move on right away.
  2. The effects of stem cell therapy can last longer. As previously mentioned, since the treatment works on a cellular level, it can also replenish damaged cells.
  3. According to patients, stem cell injections can be less painful than knee replacement surgery.

How Much is Stem Cell Treatment for Knees?

The cost of stem cell treatment for the knees varies on the number of sessions required, which is highly dependent on the condition of the patient and his or her medical history. Another factor is the location of the stem cell clinic because certain regulations specific to the locale can add to overhead costs.

In the US, stem cell treatment for the knees ranges from USD 3,000 to USD 10,000. However, there are various news reports raising ethical concerns over several stem cell clinics in the US and whose treatments are not approved by the FDA.

Stem cell treatments in places like Germany may be costlier but they do adhere to the strictest standards so you can be sure that the procedures are safe.

Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy for Knees?

Unfortunately, Medicare in the US does not cover stem cell therapy for knees because it has to be approved by the FDA first. As such, Medicare considers stem cell-based therapies as experimental procedures.

Is Stem Cell Therapy for Knees Covered by Insurance?

Most stem cell-based procedures are not covered by insurance.

Don’t be disheartened if you find out that your insurance cannot pay for your treatment. There are payment schemes available and clinics like ANOVA Institute for Regenerative Medicine which take the patients’ situations into account.

If you want to know more about stem cell therapy for knees or ANOVA IRM’s payment plans, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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