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Stem Cell Therapy for the Spine

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Painful discs in the neck and back are common reasons for chronic or severe back pain and disability. Surgical intervention used to be the only treatment available for back and neck pain that did not respond to medications and steroid injections. Now, doctors can use regenerative therapies to heal the spine, such as stem cell injections. Regenerative therapies are the future in spinal treatment, and many neurosurgeons and pain management specialist offer these injections.

[/vc_column_text][vc_accordion active_tab=”1″ style=”boxed_accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”What are Stem Cells?”][vc_column_text]Stem cells are undifferentiated body cells that have the ability to become many different types of cells. Adult stem cells are derived from bone marrow, adipose tissue, and amniotic fluid, and they are different than embryonic stem cells (from human fetuses). Adult stem cells are derived from the patient’s own body, and they are used to treat many musculoskeletal conditions. Also called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), these cells can become cartilage, bone, tendon, or ligament tissue.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”How Stem Cell Therapy Works”][vc_column_text]First, the doctor obtains the patient’s stem cells by aspirating bone marrow blood from the patient’s hip bone or from adipose tissue (fat) via liposuction. The fat or bone marrow solution is centrifuged to separate specific primitive stem cells from the other bone marrow or fat components. Once the stem cells are concentrated into an injectable solution, the physician injects them into the spinal disc, bone, or other body structure to stimulate regeneration of collagen in the disc or bone growth.

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The procedure for obtaining the stem cells first begins with the doctor cleaning and numbing the hip region. After administering a lidocaine anesthetic, the procedure needle is inserted into the iliac crest (back of hip bone) using x-ray guidance. The liquid marrow with the stem cells is withdrawn into a syringe. After processing, the doctor cleans the back with the antiseptic solution, numbs the skin, and injects the stem cell solution into the disc or other spine structure.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Conditions Treated with Stem Cell Injections”][vc_column_text]Not all patients will benefit from stem cell regeneration procedures. For those who are ideal candidates, stem cell spinal therapy provides improved quality of life and reduction in pain without the need for surgery. Conditions treated include:

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  • Spinal facet pain
  • Discogenic back pain
  • Sacroiliac joint pain
  • Chronic radiculopathy

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Stem Cell Therapy Effectiveness”][vc_column_text]In a recent review study project, researchers evaluated major studies that involves the use of stem cells for spine surgery. The stem cells used in various studies were harvested from the vertebral bodies of the spine during surgery, the hip bone, fat tissue, or were from donors. The researchers concluded that stem cell augmentation of spinal fusion surgery was equivalent to iliac crest bone graft in fusion. They found these injections safe and effective for the treatment of degenerative disc disease and reduction of discogenic pain.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Resources”][vc_column_text]Hansraj KK (2016). Stem Cells in Spine Surgery. Surg Technol Int, 29, XXIX.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_separator type=”transparent” up=”30″ down=”30″][/vc_column][/vc_row]