Stem Cell Therapy: The Myths and Misconceptions debunked
Stem Cell therapy has evolved over the years to become a viable alternative treatment for people suffering from Osteoarthritis, joint pain, ligament, tendon damage and other conditions. Stem cells can multiply and turn into “specialized” cells to target whatever injury or condition needs and help to heal the affected area of the body by replacing worn out or damaged tissue.
So what’s preventing some patients from taking advantage of this revolutionary therapy? A lot of misinformation.
It’s time to set the record straight. Here are some common misconceptions about Stem Cell therapy, along with the facts you ought to know:
Myth: All stem cells are the same
False: There are many types of stem cells, but we can separate them into two large groups: the adult and the embryonic. The differences between the two are striking, not only at the biological level, but also in applications of medical procedures.
Myth: Stem Cells for treatments are harvested from embryos
False: This is probably the highest source of controversy surrounding the use of the stem cells. Embryonic stem cell research has stirred up great controversy and ethical concerns, but remains to be just a speck on the broader stem cell canvas. Other types of stem cells include umbilical cord blood and adult stem cells. For the potential treatment of joints, ligaments and tendons, adult stem cells are used. Adult stem cells exist in every human body throughout one’s life and are present in every tissue and organ. They exist in adult adipose (fat) tissue and bone marrow. The largest reservoir of adult stem cells is found in the adipose (fat) tissue and can work well on its own or when applied in combination with bone marrow stem cells. Stem Cell treatments with autologous adult stem cells have been creating a staggering array of recent medical breakthroughs.
Medica Stem Cells does not use embryonic stem cells. Adult autologous (from your own body) stem cells are the only type of stem cells that are used in our therapies.
Myth: A Stem Cell treatment may be rejected (The body won’t accept the cells)
False: This myth is common because some people may correlate a Stem Cell treatment with an organ transplant. There is a risk of rejection in organ transplant because the organ is not from the person’s own body, it derives from a donor. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are the patient’s own natural cells which are derived from his own body (such as fat tissue or bone marrow), and therefore there is no risk of rejection. In fact, studies thus far have indicated no safety issues with fat-derived autologous (from self) stem cells. Because they are your own cells, the risk of rejection is eliminated.
Myth: You can catch a disease from Stem Cells
False: As the cells originate within your own body, there is no risk of contracting a transmittable infectious disease.
Myth: Stem Cell therapy is unsafe
Facts: The risks of adult Stem Cell therapy are minimal when autologous adult stem cells exclusively are used. Medica Stem Cells is proactive in research and only applies the safest best practices. Moreover, by using adult stem cells from your own adipose (fat) tissue and bone marrow, the body accepts the new tissue as its own, eliminating the risk of rejection. Also, because the stem cells are from your own body, there is no risk of contracting a transmittable infectious disease from a donor patient.
The increased risk of heart attack, as found to be associated with knee and hip replacement surgery, is not present in Stem Cell therapy, either. Like any procedure, there is a minute risk of infection at the sample collection and at the injection site. To minimize that risk the procedure is carried out under strict sterile conditions.
Myth: There’s no proof that Stem Cell therapy works
Facts: There are a number of studies that have been published in the Regenerative medicine demonstrating positive results from Stem Cell therapies. Evidence is particularly strong in the following two recent studies on treating osteoarthritis with stem cells: Transplantion journal, PubMed.
Regenerative therapies have now been utilised in clinical practice to treat degenerative knees, hips and shoulders for more than five years and are demonstrating excellent results. Patients are seeing marked reduction in pain as well as improvement in cartilage quality. A variety of well-founded clinical trials have been conducted on stem cell therapy for management and treatment of chronic pain. The trials concerning stem cells are widely published online and readily available for all to access. The use of stem cells has proven to be both a safe and effective means of treating many conditions. These cells allow the body to heal and regenerate in ways that were thought impossible before. Stem cell technology provides a natural alternative to the use of drugs and surgeries, which may be more harmful and invasive.
Regenerative therapy procedures are quickly becoming a first line treatment for chronic pain and degenerative joint disease. It is providing a minimally invasive option to avoid invasive surgical repair, and other various conditions. There are numerous Medica Stem Cell patient testimonials on our website for your review.
Myth: Stem Cells can heal any condition or disease
Facts: Stem cell therapies are becoming as game changing to the medical field as antibiotics were for the 20th century, but they are not a guaranteed cure-all for all diseases or conditions. However, several studies have shown a possibility for recovery. And improvement of the hope and quality of life, or to reverse or make slow progression of diseases such as musculoskeletal issues, sports injuries and other conditions. Similarly, Stem Cell treatments may have the potential to heal a tear in a rotator cuff tendon or ACL when the tear is partial, but not when the tear is full. It is crucial to have the right expectations as a patient.
Medica Stem Cells puts an emphasis on educating potential patients and helping them make well-informed treatment decisions.
Myth: Stem Cell therapy procedures are painful and result in a long recovery period
Facts: Stem Cell therapy is minimally invasive, which gives patients an alternative to painful surgery and lengthy recovery. The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting and only takes a few hours. No general anaesthesia is required and most patients don’t need post-operative pain medication. Also, patients typically return to work within a day or two and they resume physical activity much faster than after invasive surgery.
Myth: Each case is treated the same
False: There are different types of Regenerative therapies such as Stem Cell treatment, Platelet Rich Plasma, and each case is treated as a standalone case. The patient’s medical history and maturity of the disease is considered. As these factors vary among patients, the mode of implantation of stem cells are specific to each case.
After comprehensive examination and review of your case, blood tests & radio-imaging scans are done to establish a baseline for your pre-existing condition (all done on the same day), the Consultant will decide which line of Regenerative Therapy is most suited to your case. In certain cases it may be a combination of more than one treatment protocol. For some patients however, the complete protocol is a series of injections in several treatment sessions. The choice of treatment is at the discretion of the Consultant and is based on your unique case.
*Regenerative Therapy is not suitable for all conditions and all patients. Only the doctor will be able to advise if you are a suitable candidate. The final outcome of the treatment and extent of improvement varies from one patient to another.