FAQ’s on Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Therapies
What is Regenerative Medicine with a Stem Cell Doctor?
Regenerative Medicine with stem cell doctors is treatment that regenerates and repairs damaged body tissue such as tendon, ligament, cartilage and bone. Conventionally, when an injury happens in these tissues and pain results, nonsurgical pain management provides a “band aid” approach to mask pain. And when healing occurs in a tendon or ligament the old fashioned way, it does not end up in a 100% healing back to its “before” state.
The Regenerative Medicine concept is to shift the treatment paradigm into healing the tissue rather than masking pain. Traditional treatments like steroid injections work well for relief, however, they do not offer healing potential. So Regenerative Medicine utilizes stem cell based treatments that offer potential to heal these injuries by providing the body’s building blocks including growth factors and platelets that promote natural healing in the body.
What is a Stem Cell?
Stem cells are made by the body’s bone marrow and are a clean slate. They can differentiate into specialized cells with cues coming from the environment in which they are placed. These signals let the stem cells know which differentiation pathway to go down.
This may become a skin cell or cartilage, muscle, bone, tendon, red blood cell and many others. By putting the production of the cells needed to stimulate repair into high gear, an additional supply in the area can provide the difference between an sub-par result and one that regenerates back to normal condition.
What are the different kinds of Stem Cells?
There are two basic stem cell types. The first is called unlimited stem cells (also known as embryonic stem cells). These can turn into any kind of cell, while the second type is termed limited stem cells (also known as adult stem cells).
With the unlimited type of stem cells, the cells have the potential to become any human cell type. They can be replicated outside the body and have applications for many human diseases.
Limited stem cells, though, do not have the same limitless potential and cannot be replicated outside the body. They need to be either frozen or immediately transplanted into the body.
R3 stem cell clinics do not work with embryonic stem cells, only adult stem cells that exist in two varieties:
1) Hematopoietic Stem Cells – these exist in human bone marrow and are able to differentiate into most cell types.
2) Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC’s) – MSCs have been isolated from placenta, adipose tissue, lung, bone marrow and blood. They are able to differentiate into many different cell types while also assisting with the human immune response.
Is Regenerative Medicine being used in clinical practice?
Absolutely. Over the past few years, multiple regenerative medicine stem cell treatments have entered clinical practice for pain management, orthopedics, sports medicine, cosmetic procedures and vascular indication. These involve adult stem cells, therefore, not considered controversial.
The various treatment procedures being used at R3 Stem Cell centers are:
- Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
- Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cell Injections
- Fat Derived Stem Cell Injections
Medical Conditions that may benefit from regenerative medicine procedures include:
• Tendonitis – Shoulder, Elbow, Hip, Knee, Achilles
• Golfer’s or Tennis Elbow
• Ligament Sprains
• Bursitis (e.g. hip)
• Joint Arthritis
• Fractures (e.g. hip)
• Cartilage Defects
• SI Joint Inflammation or Arthritis
• Facet Syndrome
• Spinal Arthritis
• Hip, Knee, Shoulder Arthritis
• Occipital Neuralgia
• Hair Loss
• Peripheral Artery Disease
Are Regenerative Medicine procedures approved by the FDA?
No they are not. No statements or treatments on this website have been evaluated or approved by the FDA.
Has research proven the effectiveness of Stem Cells in Musculoskeletal Medicine?
There have not been large studies, but quite a few smaller studies showing benefits. There have been small studies in both animals and humans showing the effectiveness of several types of regenerative medicine procedures, which are described on the individual Stem Cell Treatments pages.
Insurance does currently cover some of the regenerative medicine procedures for the most part at R3 Centers. Insurances accepted include all PPO’s Medicare, Tricare.
There are certain stem cell treatments not covered by insurance, such as for hair loss and nonoperative facelifts. For those procedures, self pay discounts are offered.
What types of doctors offer Regenerative Medicine procedures for musculoskeletal conditions?
The doctors offering stem cell injection procedures come from several specialties, including sports medicine, orthopaedic surgery and pain management. At R3’s Southern California treatment centers, Medical Director Bryn Henderson, DO, is a Board Certified physician with extensive experience in adult stem cell treatments. Dr. Jose Dalprat is another Board Certified physician at the practice offering stem cell treatments as well.