There is not necessarily a perfect time to undergo a stem cell procedure for the repair of arthritis and injury, but treating the damage as early as possible provides the best opportunity for positive results. The long-term outcomes from regenerative procedures may dramatically improve as we treat patients earlier into the degenerative process.
That said, we are also having excellent outcomes from patients who waited to choose a stem cell procedure until they were ready to undergo a total joint replacement.
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Are You a Good Candidate for a Stem Cell Procedure?
The best way to determine if you are a good candidate is to have your MRI or x-ray imaging reviewed by thriveMD.Many patients will hold off undergoing any type of surgical procedure until the pain becomes a persistent issue. By doing so, the damage worsens and may even reach a point that precludes utilizing a stem cell procedure rather than an invasive surgery. The best way to determine if you are a good candidate is to have your MRI or x-ray imaging reviewed by thriveMD.
Why Is Earlier Treatment More Effective?
I have seen a dramatic improvement in stem cell patients with a significant disease, but the most consistent results we see are in patients that opt for treatment early. Feel free to learn more about therapy outcomes from our joint pain reviews or back pain reviews. Making the decision to move forward with a stem cell procedure is often based on pain levels, but the knowledge that there is a minimally invasive option for treatment has many patients opting for treatment earlier. This opens the door to delivering cells to areas of damage while the tissue is in a much better condition to be receptive to regeneration.
The wear and tear from the arthritic process thins the protective cartilage lining the joint space or spinal disc segment. In addition, persistent inflammation can increase the rate of destruction to the joint. Protecting the joint surfaces and disc segments, reducing inflammation and slowing the arthritic process are mechanisms by which stem cells can protect and repair cartilage. What we are seeing in the professional athletic world, is that athletes that depend on their physical health for their livelihood are turning to regenerative treatments in the earliest phases of injury.
The Basics of a Successful Stem Cell Procedure
Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in an outpatient setting and does not require a general anesthetic. In order to maximize the number of cells and growth factors available for treatment, a combination of fat derived stem cells and bone marrow are harvested and prepared for the procedure.
To assure that the cells are placed perfectly in the damaged joint or disc, live x-ray guidance is used during the injection. The combination of excellent tissue harvest and cell preparation, combined with optimal image-guided injections, dramatically improves outcomes. Having a skilled and experienced physician performing your procedure, provides the best chance for a successful outcome.
Factors You Do Not Need to Consider When Timing a Stem Cell Procedure
In comparison to surgery, there are a few factors that patients do not need to consider when timing a stem cell procedure. To exemplify, stem cells do not require:
- recovering from full anesthesia
- taking heavy pain killers
- thoroughly resting the treated body part
- missing work days
- performing intensive physical therapy regimens
Patients who undergo surgery are required to set time aside for these factors to ensure a full and healthy recovery; however, with a stem cell procedure, these are requirements that patients do not need to worry about. A stem cell therapy procedure only requires local anesthesia, minimal downtime and patients tend to resume their daily activities and return to work within a couple of days.
Factors to Consider When Timing a Stem Cell Procedure
There are also factors that patients do need to consider when timing a stem cell procedure in comparison to surgery.
One, stem cell procedures are more cost effective, but they are not covered by insurance.
Two, imaging (MRI or x-ray) of the damaged or injured body part needs to be ready before the first appointment in order to help determine if you are a good candidate for treatment.
Having a skilled and experienced physician performing your procedure provides the best chance for a successful outcome.