Under the right conditions, these stem cells can separate into new cells and become part of the musculoskeletal system, helping to form trabecular bone, tendon, articular cartilage, and ligaments. Advances in orthopaedic surgery have come a long way since the first total hip replacement surgery was performed in 1967. Since that time developments in arthroscopic or minimally invasive surgical techniques combined with innovations in joint replacement have helped to make it possible for patients to receive treatments that not only relieve pain but make it possible for them to resume and maintain active lives. Perhaps one of the more exciting advances in joint repair is stem cell therapy – a new technique that is beginning to show promise for many patients.

Although research continues on applications, stem cell procedures in orthopaedics are currently being performed by specialists and orthopaedic physicians across the U.S., including Dr. Gary Stein of Santa Rosa Orthopaedics.

Stem cell therapy has been around for quite some time – primarily used for treatment of conditions like leukemia. Over the past 10 years researchers have been able to develop viable stem cell therapies for orthopaedic use aimed at joint repair, healing fractures and other bone defects. As cell therapy research continues, clinical trials are discovering the treatment to be very promising for a variety of diseases. Some of the more ambitious hopes include potential regeneration of articular cartilage in hips, knees and other damaged body parts.

What is stem cell therapy?

Stem cells essentially contain the ‘code’ for every cell type that makes up each individual organ and structure in the body. Stem cells can help to generate healthy new cells and repair tissues in structures that are injured or damaged.  For use in orthopaedics, this kind of treatment generally involves the use of mesenchymal stem cells – which can be derived from bone marrow stromal cells which are obtained from living adult tissue –at times from the patient’s own body or from allograft donor tissues, usually derived from placental membranes.

The many uses of stem cell therapy

Under the right conditions, these stem cells can separate into new cells and become part of the musculoskeletal system, helping to form trabecular bone, tendon, articular cartilage, and ligaments. Positive results have been seen in patients as early as 6 weeks after initial treatment. The ultimate goal of stem cell therapy is to replace unhealthy cells with healthy ones, allowing the body to resume proper function in the otherwise damaged structure.  Stem cells can be used in surgery as adjuvant therapy to facilitate healing of tissues.

For some patients, common medical and surgical interventions aimed at relieving pain due to trauma or degenerative conditions may not the best option, in these cases stem cell therapy can offer new hope. As this new procedure proves to have long term healing results for orthopaedic patients it will no doubt be more widely available and sought after as a viable noninvasive treatment for joint pain – as well as many other orthopaedic problems.

Dr. Gary SteinAt Santa Rosa Orthopaedics, Dr. Stein is part of a collaborative team of multi-specialist orthopedic surgeons and experienced physical and occupational therapists. SRO offers patients in-house diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation, sports injury prevention, as well as advanced surgical treatments in joint replacement, sports medicine, trauma care, hand, foot and ankle, and general orthopedic surgery. Contact Dr. Gary Stein at SRO for an appointment and consultation to discover the right treatment right for you. Call 707-546-1922 or visit srortho.com.