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Stem Cell Therapy for the Shoulder

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The shoulder is a complex joint with dynamically composed muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Shoulder pain from various conditions can be debilitating and affect ability to perform daily activities. The use of stem cells in the regeneration of musculoskeletal tissue is a new innovative treatment. Stem cells are being used for cartilage regeneration, management of shoulder tendinopathies, as well as for treatment of muscle lesions and bone defects.[/vc_column_text][vc_accordion active_tab=”1″ style=”boxed_accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”What shoulder conditions are treated with stem cell injection therapy?”][vc_column_text]The shoulders are the most mobile joints in the body. The shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula), and the collarbone (clavicle). These bones are anchored by muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which keep them stable and in normal position. A problem with any of these structures can result in shoulder pain. Shoulder conditions treated using stem cell therapy include:

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  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Dislocation
  • Separation
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Torn rotator cuff
  • Frozen shoulder syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Acromio-clavicular (AC) joint dysfunction
  • Biceps tendinosis
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome
  • Labral tears
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Chronic glenohumeral ligament sprain

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Does stem cell therapy work?”][vc_column_text]Rotator cuff tears are a common shoulder problem that often require surgical repair. Regardless of surgical technique, the tendon-to-bone healing rate has been unsatisfactory due to the problems in restoring delicate transitional tissue between tendon and bone. MSCs can differentiate into different mesodermal tissues, and they have strong immunoregulatory, anti-inflammatory, and angiogenic potential.

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In a study involving 14 patients with complete tears of the rotator cuff, researchers found that use of stem cells from bone marrow were beneficial. The stem cells were used during the trans osseous repair. At 12 months, 12 of the 14 tears had healed based on magnetic resonance imaging results.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”How are stem cells obtained?”][vc_column_text]The shoulder stem cell injection procedure begins with the doctor taking a bone marrow sample from the back of the hip (iliac crest). After the hip is numbed with a local anesthetic, the procedure needle is guided into the hip using x-ray guidance. The stem cells are aspirated from the marrow. After removing the procedure needle, the site is covered with a bandage.

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The bone marrow solution is taken to the laboratory for processing. The solution is spun in a centrifuge machine so the stem cells are isolated from the other blood products. In addition, platelets are concentrated to be injected into the shoulder region as well. The stem cell solution and concentrated platelets are injected into the damaged or injured shoulder component.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”What can I expect after the shoulder stem cell injection?”][vc_column_text]After your injection, you are given instructions regarding the post-procedure protocols for the treatment site. For some shoulder conditions, a shoulder brace is given. Two days after the injection, you can remove any bandages from the harvest and treatment sites. You are allowed to shower, but should avoid soaking in a hot tub or sauna for one week. In addition, do not take any anti-inflammatory medications for 3 weeks, including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), aspirin, and Celebrex.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”What are the benefits of stem cell injection therapy?”][vc_column_text]Shoulder stem cell injections have several benefits. These include:

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  • Quick recovery – Shoulder surgery requires several months of rehabilitation to regain motion and strength of the shoulder. With stem cell treatment, recovery is only a few days.


  • Improved mobility – Most patients regain full mobility without any pain after stem cell therapy. This means patients can enjoy an active lifestyle without restrictions.


  • They are safe – Stem cell therapy is proven safe and effective. Since the stem cells are derived from the patient’s own body, there is no risk for rejection and little risk of infection.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Resources”][vc_column_text]Mora MV, Iban MAR, Heredia JD, et al. (2015). Stem cell therapy in the management of shoulder rotator cuff disorders. World J Stem Cells, 7(4), 691-699. [/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_separator type=”transparent” up=”30″ down=”30″][/vc_column][/vc_row]