FAQs on Stem Cell Injections in Atlanta

There are billions of specialized cells in the human body, and these cells group together to from the organs and various structures, such as the skin, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bones. Stem cells can create multiple cell types from other cells. When old cells die, new cells are formed from stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are capable of yielding a high concentration of necessary cells that regenerate body structures.

Why are stem cells injected?

The bone marrow produces stem cells that promote healing of the tendons, ligaments, muscle, cartilage, and bones. These cells are needed to regenerate injured or damaged body structures. The human body has an adequate supply of stem cells, which are useful for repair of injured or degenerated tissues.

Certain areas of the body do not have good blood flow and supply, which means no cells are introduced to these areas. With stem cell injection, the necessary regenerative cells are placed directly into the damaged structure, which allows for repair.

What conditions can be treated with stem cell injections?

Stem cell injections are used to treat cervical and lumbar spine conditions that occur from aging, injury, or tissue damage. The painful conditions treated by stem cell injections include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint syndrome
  • Spinal cord and back injuries
  • Chronic back pain
  • Herniated disc
  • Sciatica
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Nerve pain

What should I expect before the stem cell injection procedure?

When you arrive at the surgical center, you will be instructed on the stem cell injection procedure and sign a consent form. The nurse will start an IV catheter in your arm, and have you change into a gown. Depending on the doctor’s recommendation, you may be given a mild sedative before the procedure. Be sure to bring someone with you to drive you home, as driving is not permitted for 24 hours after the procedure.

How is the stem cell injection procedure performed?

The Atlanta pain management doctor must first obtain the stem cells from bone marrow, which is harvested from the patient’s iliac bone (hip area). With the patient lying on his/her stomach, the skin of the hip is cleansed with an antiseptic solution. The doctor numbs the skin and deeper tissues with an anesthetic agent, and a special needle is inserted into the hip bone to draw out the marrow blood, using x-ray guidance.

This procedure is not as painful as a bone marrow biopsy, however. The bone marrow blood is immediately processed to remove unwanted cell components and purify the stem cells. The doctor then injections these cells into the damaged body structure using x-ray guidance.

There are additional stem cell possibilities including adipose derived stem cells and amniotic derived stem cells as well.

What should I expect after the procedure?

The stem cell injection only a minimally invasive procedure, which is done on an outpatient basis. The doctor will advise you as to when you can return to usual activity. Most patients recover well following stem cell injection, and there is no lengthy rehabilitation necessary.

How well do stem cell injections work?

Most patients report significant pain relief around 1-2 months following the injection. The structures and tissues gradually improve for the first 3-6 months after the procedure.

Approximately 90% of patients report improvement with the stem cell injection procedure, but long-term studies are scarce. In one clinical trial, average improvement following stem cell injection was 52% at 18 months, and 70% at 24 months. Patients who had two injections had higher improvement rates.

Who should not have a stem cell injection?

The stem cell injection procedure is safe, so most people can undergo this therapy. However, there are a few exceptions, such as patients who have:

  • A current infection
  • A blood-borne cancer (not in remission for at least five years)
  • A condition requiring blood-thinning medication
  • Current malignancies