An Overview of Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common health condition that affects millions of Americans. As the body naturally ages, the articular cartilage found within the joints begins to break down which leads to chronic pain, stiffness and inflammation. When the articular cartilage continues to deteriorate, bones begin to rub against bones. Patients in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California communities affected by arthritis now have a new and innovative treatment option available to them at Dr. Jervis Yau’s orthopedic practice. Stem cell therapy for arthritis utilizes stem cells to improve function by decreasing inflammation and pain within the damaged joint. Although stem cells have not been shown to reverse or halt osteoarthritis, it is believed that it may slow the progression of this painful condition.

Osteoarthritis Overview

Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint condition found in Americans. The condition is most commonly found in older individuals, but can also be found in young, active patients with a history of past injury or surgery. Arthritis occurs when the articular cartilage begins to break down. As the cartilage degenerates, bone rubs against bone and causes pain, swelling, stiffness and inflammation.

What is Stem Cell Arthritis Treatment?

Over years of medical research and clinical testing, it has been proven that stem cell injections can improve pain and function in an arthritic joint. Many orthopedic surgeons believe that these injections may help slow the progression of osteoarthritis through its reparative potential.

Two main types of stem cells are currently being utilized in orthopedics.

  • Autologous adult stem cells (Autograft): harvested from a patient’s pelvis.
  • Amniotic stem cells (allograft): harvested from a donor’s amniotic sac after delivery of her baby.

How is Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis Performed?

Autologous adult stem cell therapy begins with a small sample of bone marrow that is collected from the patient, most commonly from the pelvis. After the bone marrow is extracted, it is spun in a special machine known as a centrifuge to separate the adult stem cells, platelets, plasma, white blood cells and red blood cells. The healing agents are combined and injected directly into the arthritic joint to promote healing and regeneration.

Amniotic stem cells are shipped frozen overnight and defrosted at the time of injection.  Once defrosted, the amniotic stem cells along with growth factors are injected into the arthritic joint to initiate a healing response.

Stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis provides an innovative, non-surgical solution for patients affected by this progressive wear and tear disease. Based on current literature, these treatments are considered safe and effective with minor side effects.

For additional information on stem cell therapy for arthritis, or to determine if you are a candidate for a stem cell arthritis treatment, please contact the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area office of Dr. Jervis Yau.

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