KNEE STEM CELL THERAPY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In recent years, research into stem cell therapy has ramped up alongside the demand for non-invasive surgery alternatives. In spite of the fact that these therapies are still in their infancy in terms of clinical investigation; healthcare providers have already started jumping on the bandwagon, offering knee stem cell therapy amongst others in over 600 clinics in the US alone.
While many physicians and facilities are promoting it as a miracle cure, it is always best to proceed with caution with experimental new treatments. Let's take a closer look at what knee stem cell therapy is, it's presently known side effects, as well as how effective it truly is according to the current research.
What is Knee Stem Cell Therapy & Who Would Benefit?
Knee stem cell therapy involves the injection of stem cells (derived from the patients bone marrow or fat) into their knees to treat knee osteoarthritis. It is still currently being investigated as an alternative treatment to knee surgery in the hopes that less people with arthritis have to trade their knees for prosthetics.
The hypothesis for this is based off the fact that stem cells themselves are cells which are required for new tissue growth and regeneration. Most other cells began as stem cells once upon a time before developing into their respective cell type.
In this case, osteoarthritis in the knee wears away the cartilage, resulting in pain, friction and even torn tendons, ligaments or fractures. Stem cells should then technically be able to repair this damage, reduce inflammation and prevent the onset of osteoarthritis, supposedly growing back cartilage, bones and muscle tissue!
According to the theory, knee stem cell therapy sounds like the miracle cure to osteoarthritis in the knee that everyone has been looking for. However, this therapy is still very new and highly experimental with new research being carried out every day to test it's safety and efficacy. Scientists are still not entirely sure how this treatment works even though some trials have produced positive results.
Knee Stem Cell Therapy Side Effects
So far, in the limited research studies that have been carried out by willing facilities such as the Mayo Clinic, there have not been many recorded known side effects of knee stem cell therapy.
People have reported that after receiving stem cell injections, they feel stiff in their knees. Sometimes swelling, fevers and mild pain are also experienced.
Compared with knee surgery, these side effects are minimal - although, this is likely to be due to the lack of research available on the topic.
When looking at other stem cell therapies, the data shows that doing this kind of therapy on other parts of the body can actually pose very serious risks. For example, those who received eye stem cell therapy to remove cataracts actually became clinically blind. The FDA has also raised some concern about stem cell therapy as in some cases it can cause tumor growth.
Doctors and scientists appear to agree that it is relatively safe when performed on the knee; however, more research needs to be conducted before it can be approved as a safe treatment by the FDA and other medical authorities.
Does Knee Stem Cell Therapy Work?
The truthful answer to this question is that knee stem cell therapy is still being investigated, so nobody can say for sure that it works.
Before trials on humans were conducted, very promising research revealed that stem cells have the ability to drastically lower inflammation, one of the biggest contributors to the progression of osteoarthritis. These trials also showed that stem cells indeed promoted cartilage growth, reduced pain severity and improved many aspects of arthritis with no adverse effects aside from those mentioned above.
Actual clinical trials on willing participants are only conducted on small groups of patients, roughly 20-30 people at a time.
Nevertheless, these trials have shown phenomenal improvements in these patient's symptoms. One study revealed that, although improvements upfront were seen, the benefits were not present after a year. Interestingly, other similar investigations have shown that while the benefits tapered off after a year, there were more improvements noted at the 2 year mark.
Studies also indicate that multiple injections spaced out over months or weeks appear more effective in the long run than a once off treatment, however frequency and dosage have yet to be determined in humans in terms of what is the most effective.
An interesting survey researchers conducted involved 317 clinics that are presently offering the therapy in the US.
The researchers asked these clinics about the cost of the procedure as well as the success rate. Only 65 of the 317 clinics responded, with the average cost being around $5000. Most of them reported success rates of 70-100% yet none of them offered any proof to show that this was truly the case.
The bottom line is that this therapy is being viciously marketed with little evidence to back up that it works or is safe in the long run. If considering this treatment, look to doctors who work for research institutions so that if anything goes wrong, you are in the right hands!
Knee stem cell therapy is a very promising avenue of treatment for those with osteoarthritis in the knee; however further research is required before it can be approved as a safe and effective treatment for everyone suffering from this condition.
If you want to give it a try, make sure to opt for a healthcare provider that is working in conjunction with credible research institutions such as a university clinic or research center. If you are considering abroad for knee stem cell treatment in India and Malaysia, please use the Mya Care free search engine.
Disclaimer: Please note that Mya Care does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided is not intended to replace the care or advice of a qualified health care professional. The views expressed are personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Mya Care. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen. Do not reproduce, copy, reformat, publish, distribute, upload, post, transmit, transfer in any manner or sell any of the materials in this blog without prior written permission from myacare.com.
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