The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself — sometimes better than any treatment could. Regenerative medicine is an exciting area of practice in which the body’s own self-healing characteristics can be accelerated and targeted to specific areas of pain and injury. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood parts of this practice is the use of stem cells and the role they play. Let’s discuss briefly how stem cells are used in regenerative medicine.
Stem cells are basically “non-differentiating” cells which our bodies all produce naturally — cells which can then “differentiate” to become specific types of cells that our body needs for growth or regeneration. Stem cells play a key role in the development of an embryo inside the womb, but even into adulthood our bodies produce stem cells that can replace various dead or dying cells in our bodies.
Stem cell therapy is a technique by which stem cells taken from the patient are processed and re-injected at a point of injury in order to accelerate the healing process. These concentrated levels of stem cells can differentiate quickly to help repair and replace damaged tissue, thereby reducing pain and inflammation and promoting quicker recovery times.
Some people express concern over the term “stem cells” because of controversial research that is often conducted on “embryonic” or “fetal” stem cells. These are not the same cells as are used in regenerative injection therapy; rather, we harvest the stem cells from the person’s own body, typically from the fatty adipose tissue in the abdomen. The injection treatments simply reintroduce the patient’s own stem cells back into their body at the place of injury or damage.
Stem cell therapy is not a “magic pill” treatment that works wonders on every patient. Results may vary based on the patient’s own metabolism, health condition, and immune system, among other factors. However, for certain conditions including sports injuries and spinal conditions, it has shown great promise for many patients. To consult with a physician and find out whether you are a good candidate for regenerative stem cell therapy, call Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery at 404-256-2633.