Stem Cell Treatment for Osteoarthritis – does it work?

Stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis

There is lots of talk about stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis. It is being heralded as the biggest step forward in treatment since the joint replacement. But is this justified?

This is a letter from a nurse who has undergone stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis in her right hip. I was interested about her comment saying

I have grade IV osteoarthritis (severe loss of cartilage leading to bone rubbing on bone) of my right hip. I have seen 3 orthopedic doctors, all of which have said I need to have surgery for hip replacement. Additional options for treatment were limited. As a nurse, and at my age, having seen both good and bad outcomes following hip replacement, and also knowing hip replacement is not without risk, I chose to seek other options of treatment for myself.

Let’s face it a hip replacement is a far more tried and tested method than stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis but this nurse chose to have the stem call treatment for osteoarthritis. That seems a pretty poor reflection on hip replacements…..

Bev then goes on to describe her treatment and how she jetted off to Cancun in Mexico and received such wonderful treatment from the World Stem Cell staff. I have to admit the whole thing is so over the top it doesn’t ring true. It sounds like a bad commercial.

But Did the Stem Cell Treatment for Osteoarthritis Actually Work?

Yes Bev does report an excellent outcome and, assuming this is a true story, then this is very exciting for us all.

However firstly there is the cost of this and whether insurance or national healthcare systems will pay for this type of therapy yet. We can’t all afford to fly off to Cancun with our husbands for stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis! Also this therapy is in it’s infancy and we do NOT know the long term outcome. The pioneers like Bev will be the one’s acting as guinea pigs.

I was intrigued about this part of Bev’s story:

I began a Pilates reconditioning program several weeks after my return. My provider, Deb, felt quite strongly that major muscles in my right leg were very weak due to inactivity prior to treatment. She worked with me 2-3 times a week to help “restructure” how my body works to improve muscle firing and function. 

Why, as a nurse, was she not doing a targeted exercise program prior to her stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis? She should have known better and been doing one for years prior to getting to stage IV degeneration. If she had been doing that her rehab would have been much easier. The same rule applies to joint replacements- if you keep the muscles surrounding the joint in the best condition you can you will find rehab easier. It’s no good have a new joint if the structures around it can’t move it anyway!

Is Stem Cell Treatment for Osteoarthritis the Future?

All in all I am very excited about stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis and believe it is by far the brightest light on the horizon for treating OA. But remember what is said about bright lights in the distance- they may be an oncoming train and we don’t really know the long term outcome of it. Go Bev and the likes of her for testing it for the rest of us!

Have you had stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis? Or have you had a joint replacement? Leave your story below so others can make educated decisions about their treatment.

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2 Responses to Stem Cell Treatment for Osteoarthritis – does it work?

  1. Juliene Wood says:

    May 20 ,2014 I had Stem Cell treatment at Rejuv clinic in St.Cloud MN. It was a true miracle! Within 2 weeks the groin pain was gone. I continued to have some back pain but believe it is coming from my other hip. They did Prolotherapy first then Platelet Plasma before the bone marrow harvest. I had to have physical therapy because my leg was very weak. I am allergic to metal so a hip replacement was not an option. I was 70 years old in April in excellent health with a slim frame. I am now going to have my left hip done.

    • Dr. Sophie says:

      That sounds great and a much better recovery time than a replacement as well. This really is the treatment of the future I think.

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