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6 Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy on Knee Osteoarthritis

01-03-2019 Douglas Won, MD, Regenerative & Longevity Medicine Specialist

6 Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy on Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common disabling diseases of the joints. According to statistics, this joint problem affects about 19%[1] of the adult American population, especially those who are 45 years old and above. The risk of developing knee osteoarthritis increases with age.

Other factors that increase this risk are high body mass and obesity, knee trauma and injury, as well as family history of knee osteoarthritis. Studies reveal that two out of three obese individuals develop knee osteoarthritis, but dropping at least 11 pounds can help reduce the risk by about 50%. Those who have a family history of knee osteoarthritis are also more likely to develop this joint disease by about 20% to 35%.

How is knee osteoarthritis treated?

Weight loss, exercise, and healthy diet are encouraged to reduce the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. For knee pain and inflammation, patients are prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, and corticosteroids. Assistive devices may also be prescribed by the doctor. They help unload the weight off the affected knee. If these methods fail to relieve knee osteoarthritis, then surgery, typically, becomes an option.

Surgery can be pretty invasive and costly. Furthermore, it also carries its own risks and complications. These include blood clots, bleeding complications, infection, blood transfusion complications, and nerve or vessel damage. You can also develop allergies from the metal components of the artificial knee joint. There’s also the risk of prosthesis problems such as misalignment and malfunction of the implant.

Because of all the potential complications, many patients are switching to minimally invasivestem cell therapy for their knee osteoarthritis. They find that it is safe and effective.

What is stem cell therapy?

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Stem cell is the building block of our body. It is a special type of cell that has the ability to differentiate into other types of specialized cells, including cells and tissues of the knee.

In stem cell therapy, the stem cells are extracted from the bone marrow or fat, processed & concentrated, and injected into the affected knee. The stem cells then replace the damaged cells and develop into new and healthy cells. Its high levels of growth factors also contribute to the process of healing and repairing the damaged knee joint.

What are the top 6 benefits of stem cell therapy on knee osteoarthritis?

Compared to surgery, stem cell therapy on knee osteoarthritis provides more benefits:

  • It’s a minimally invasive type of procedure that doesn’t make use of general anesthesia. You don’t have to stress about the thought of going under general anesthesia nor do you have to worry about its side effects and complications.

Moreover, since there is no incisions, you avoid the risks of surgery such as infection, neurovascular damage, and knee prosthesis problems.

Stem cell therapy procedure usually takes anywhere between two to three hours and you are able to walk out of the center on the same day.

  • The post-procedure recovery period is faster compared to surgery. In fact, most patients who had undergone stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis are ambulatory on the day.
  • There’s no risk of rejection. Since you’ll be injected with your own stem cells, you don’t have to worry about your immune system rejecting or attacking them. There’s no risk of developing an allergic reaction, nor is there any risk of blood transfusion complications. Stem cell therapy reduces the risk of contracting communicable diseases via blood transfusion.
  • Stem cell therapy helps reduce knee inflammation and knee pain. These effects also slow down the progression of knee osteoarthritis. As the knee joint heals, the joint range of motion also increases.
  • Stem cell therapy decreases the need for strong prescription painkillers. Painkillers are known to cause side effects. Some of its adverse side effects include constipation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. Long-term use of prescription painkillers increases your risk of dependence, addiction, and heart attack. Taking a large dose also increases your risk of overdose, coma, and death.

With stem cell therapy, you don’t have to worry about these side effects.

  • It reduces the risk of knee surgeries. Stem cell therapy relieves your knee pain, improves your knee joint range of motion, and promotes joint repair and healing. With these effects, you can avoid knee joint replacement and other invasive knee procedures.

In January of 2018, an interesting 12-year study was done on stem cell therapy for knee arthritis versus total knee arthroplasty. The study involved 30 patients with bilateral osteoarthritis of the knees. One knee received stem cell therapy, while the other knee received total knee arthroplasty.

The researchers observed more surgical as well as medical complications on the knee that received total knee arthroplasty, compared to the knee that received stem cell therapy. Some of these complications include the need for blood transfusion and thrombophlebitis.

Before the study ended, 6 of the 30 knees that received total knee arthroplasty required a subsequent surgery, compared to one that received stem cell therapy.

Of the 30 patients, 21 of them preferred stem cell therapy. They reported that stem cell therapy significantly reduced their pain and inflammation and improved their joint range of motion. Only 9 of the 30 participants preferred total knee arthroplasty.

Stem cell therapy, the researchers concluded, is a safe and effective treatment for knee osteoarthritis. It also has a lower complication and side effect risk, compared to total knee arthroplasty. Moreover, the recovery period of stem cell therapy is quicker[2].

Are there side effects or complications to stem cell therapy on knee osteoarthritis?

This procedure is rarely painful since it’s minimally invasive. You may develop some pain and inflammation on the site of injection. But over-the-counter painkillers can easily control these symptoms. Some patients report joint stiffness, but again, this typically goes away within a week or two.

Stem cell therapy delays the progression of knee osteoarthritis and reduces the need for invasive knee surgeries. It also helps relieve knee pain and inflammation and, at the same time, helps improve knee joint mobility.

If you are suffering from knee osteoarthritis, you might want to consider stem cell therapy. Consult with your doctor or regenerative medicine specialists at NeoGen Stem Cell Institute about this treatment option.

To learn more about stem cell therapy, request a free consultation by board-certified orthopedic surgeon at NeoGenStemCell.com

Request Your Free Consultation Today

[1] Knee osteoarthritis has doubled in prevalence since the mid-20th century. Accessed: December 3, 2018.

[2] Subchondral stem cell therapy versus contralateral total knee arthroplasty for osteoarthritis following secondary osteonecrosis of the knee. Accessed: December 3, 2018.

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