How effective is “stem cell therapy” for joints?

At Advanced Regenerative Orthopedics, we only treat joints that are “true” joints. We consider joints that have a synovial capsule and two bones coated with hyaline cartilage (the protective covering over the bones that creates a slick, teflon-like surface) to be “true” joints. Treatment is most effective when it is being used to treat conditions that are affecting joints with this anatomical structure.

It is important to understand the source of your pain if you are considering any sort of medical therapy as a treatment. When you have pain in the joint due to arthritic wear and tear, it is an indication that you have worn down the hard hyaline cartilage. Now the unprotected nerve endings, which are in the bone underneath, become much more sensitive to pressure and inflammation inside of the joint. This is what is actually causing your pain – the nerves in your bones that are exposed. The “stem cell therapy” (more specifically, a proper orthobiologic or tissue matrix product) can help lubricate and nurture the recovery of that protective coating.

“Stem cell therapy” is a treatment that is being used for many inappropriate reasons, typically by untrained sales people without proper training, passing themselves off as medical doctors.

But in a true joint, where you can actually concentrate the right dose of an orthobiologic/tissue matrix, there are plenty of good studies (mainly in Japan, Korea, and Europe, with a few currently being done in the U.S.) that show that you can actually improve natural lubrication and and nurture the chondrocytes, which are the hard hyaline cartilage cells that have worn out in this joint.

Only our board certified team of physicians, surgeons and university scientists have been working together to combine different technologies to treat arthritic joint pain that is not responding to medicine alone. Clearly, there is a huge gap in the standard of care between the medical treatment of this arthritic joint pain and the only surgical treatment available in the U.S. which is total joint replacement surgery, a large hospital based surgery.

We have combined three different medical treatments that together provide an alternative to and fill the void between medication and joint replacement surgery. First we turn off the nerve pain that is the underlying propagator of the joint inflammation. This is done through an FDA approved procedure known as radiofrequency ablation. The pain itself creates a toxic microenvironment. By mitigating the pain we can normalize the microenvironment inside of the joint space and curtail the destruction. We combine this with an orthobiologic to increase lubrication, cushioning, and concentration of tissue healing factors. Finally, we understand that the joint is more than just the hinge or ball and socket, so we also prescribe a personalized, structured physical reconditioning program to strengthen the muscles and ligaments that move the joint.