Stem Cell Treatment: An Alternative To Knee Surgery

Do you suffer from ongoing knee pain due to an injured ACL, MCL, or meniscus? You may be putting off treatment because you assumed your only option was surgery. In years past, this was true. All of these ligament and connective tissue injuries had to be surgically repaired, which came with more pain and a long recovery process. But here's some good news, there is now an alternative way to treat these knee injuries. It's known as stem cell treatment.

What is stem cell treatment?

Stem cell treatment is a protocol that involves injecting stem cells, which are obtained from bone marrow, into the injured part of your body — in this case, your knee. Stem cells are undifferentiated, which means they have the ability to transform into any other type of body cells. Once injected into an injured knee, they will develop into connective tissue cells, replacing the missing cells in the injured area. For example, if the stem cells are injected into the ACL, they will develop into ligament cells, knitting the torn ligament back together.

What happens during the treatment?

Stem cell treatment is much less invasive than surgery. First, your doctor will need to obtain a portion of your bone marrow. This is usually removed from your hip using a long needle. The procedure is not comfortable, but it is quick, and patients heal from it promptly. It can usually be done with a local anesthetic and a sedative. In other words, you'll be awake for this part.

Once the bone marrow has been extracted, stem cells are isolated from it. Then those stem cells are injected into your knee. Your doctor will often use an ultrasound to guide the injections, making sure they target the right area. 

How long will it take to see results?

Everyone heals at a different rate after a stem cell procedure, but most people find that their knees are healed within two or three months. Your doctor will perform an ultrasound or an MRI to see how well you're healing. You may be advised to do some physical therapy during the healing process, and definitely after your knee is healed. This helps strengthen the surrounding tissues so you don't re-injure yourself.

Surgery is now just one way of dealing with an injured knee. Stem cell treatment is another option, and in many cases, it is the faster and less invasive option. Contact a knee pain stem cell treatment service to learn more.