Stem Cells for Knee Pain — Houston, Cypress, Beaumont
Knee pain afflicts many active people at some point during their lives. Over time, injuries, wear and disease can cause the cartilage in the knee joint to deteriorate, leading to limited movement and discomfort.
With treatment, it's possible to overcome knee pain and return to the activities you enjoy. To best serve patients like you, we provide innovative stem cell treatment for patients with knee problems in Houston, Cypress and Beaumont.
How Does Stem Cell Treatment Relieve Knee Pain?
Stem cells are present in all of us acting like a repair system for the body. However, with increased age sometimes the optimum amounts of stem cells are not delivered to the injured area. The goal of stem cell therapy is to amplify the natural repair system of the patient’s body.
In the adult body, stem cells keep tissue healthy and replace damaged and dying cells. Stem cells act like a template that can turn into a variety of cells you may need. They can develop into cartilage, bone, fat and other kinds of connective tissues.
Your knees have ligaments and cartilage that don't get as much blood as other parts of the body. Since stem cells travel through the blood, the knees don't normally get all the benefits of the stem cells your body makes. Old age can also affect the number of stem cells that reach your knees. This lack of stem cells makes it difficult for the knees to heal themselves.
Stem cell treatment involves adding extra stem cells to the site of your knee injury to help the damaged cartilage or bone heal naturally. The new stem cells begin working to:
- Repair cartilage
- Mend partially torn tendons
- Relieve pain and inflammation
- Reduce the rate of cell death
- Decrease scar tissue
This therapy lets your body repair itself without the need for more invasive procedures. In many cases, your body can be the best surgeon of all — it just needs a little help from a treatment like stem cell injections.
It's important to note that stem cell treatment is distinct from platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, which uses the growth factors in blood to speed up the healing process. PRP and stem cells can be used separately or together to treat knee pain.
What Knee Conditions Can Stem Cell Injections Treat?
Stem cell injections relieve any knee problem that damages your cartilage, bones or ligaments. They help your knees naturally repair themselves and maintain healthy tissue. A large number of conditions that cause knee pain involve damaged tissue that needs to heal.
Stem cell treatment can help address a number of injuries and diseases affecting the knees. Our patients come to us with a variety of common conditions, including:
- Inflammatory arthritis of the knee
- Tears in your ligaments, such as an ACL tear
- Tears in your cartilage, such as a meniscal tear
- Kneecap misalignment
- Patellar Tendinitis
- Patellofemoral Instability
- Cartilage Injury
Stem cell treatments may not heal all knee-related injuries. In some situations, additional treatments or surgery may be required. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. Your physician will evaluate your injury, review the expectations and real-world results of available treatment options, and determine the best plan of action to proceed.
How Does the Stem Cell Treatment Process Work?
If you choose to undergo stem cell treatment for knee pain, you can rest assured that the process will be quite simple in comparison to other treatments for chronic knee problems, such as knee replacement.
To prepare for stem cell treatment, you'll need to stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at least two weeks prior to the day of your procedure. When you make an appointment with Dr. Gombera, you'll receive more specific instructions.
There are two different ways to derive stem cells for your knee injections. First, your doctor can use stem cells from donated umbilical cord blood. In this case, the procedure may begin immediately. Alternately, your doctor can obtain adult stem cells from your own bone marrow.
If it's necessary to retrieve stem cells from your bone marrow, your doctor will numb your hip and place a specialized needle into part of your hip bone called the iliac crest. Then, after extracting a small amount of marrow from the hip bone, your doctor will send the sample to the laboratory, where it will spin for 10 to 15 minutes until a concentrated sample can be produced.
Finally, your doctor will numb your affected knee and use detailed images as a guide to place the stem cells exactly where they're needed to facilitate healing.
The whole stem cell injection process typically takes less than one hour, so you'll be able to return home to Beamont or Cypress from Dr. Gombera's Houston office on the very same day.
How do you prepare for the stem cell procedure?
Many of the preparations required before your stem cell injections depend on your condition. Stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for at least two weeks before your appointment. Remember to tell Dr. Gombera about all the medications you take and your past medical history. He may advise you to take certain kinds of supplements to stimulate your stem cell growth.
What Should You Expect When Recovering From Stem Cell Injections?
Generally, you can return to your normal activities the day after you receive stem cell treatment for your knees. However, you will need to take several precautions during recovery:
- You'll need to go easy on your body, avoiding strenuous exercise and all load-bearing activities for two weeks post-treatment.
- You'll need to continue avoiding NSAIDs during the recovery process, since these medications can interfere with the healing process your new stem cells are meant to encourage.
How are stem cells derived from bone marrow or umbilical cord blood used for treatment of knee pain?
Procedure using stem cells derived from bone marrow
The procedure begins with your doctor extracting stem cells from your own bone marrow. Bone marrow is usually aspirated from your hip region. Your doctor will first clean and numb your hip area. A needle is then introduced into an area of your pelvic bone known as the iliac crest. Bone marrow is then aspirated using a special syringe and the sample obtained is sent to the laboratory. In the laboratory, the aspirate is spun in a machine for 10 to 15 minutes and a concentrated stem cell sample is separated.
Your doctor then cleans and numbs your affected area to be treated and then, under the guidance of special x-rays, injects the stem cells into the diseased region. The whole procedure usually takes less than one hour and you may return home on the same day of the procedure.
Procedure using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood:
The same procedure can also be performed using pre-packaged, ready-to-use umbilical cord blood. Donors undergo a rigorous screening process to meet the highest industry standards. State-of-the-art scientific technology is used to create a cellular suspension of mesenchyme cells. These cells can differentiate in different cell types such as bone, cartilage, and muscle. The product is frozen to maintain cellular integrity. No synthetic or chemical preservatives are used. UCB has been scientifically proven to have concentrations of mesenchymal cells and other cell populations necessary to stimulate the regenerative process.
What are the risks and complications of stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy is generally considered a safe procedure with minimal complications, however, as with any medical procedure, complications can occur.
Some risks factors related to stem cell therapy include infection as the stem cells may become contaminated with bacteria, viruses or other pathogens that may cause disease during the preparation process.
The procedure to either remove or inject the cells also has the risk of introducing an infection to the damaged tissue into which they are injected. Rarely, an immune reaction may occur from injected stem cells.
Your knee joints need intact bone, ligaments and cartilage to help you move. When these parts begin to deteriorate or undergo an injury, you experience pain and reduced mobility. The original solutions for this issue were surgery and knee replacement. However, intensive surgery keeps athletes off the field. The recovery time for traditional procedures also keeps non-athletes from doing what they love.
Developments in modern medicine helped doctors come up with stem cell treatment, which lets you avoid open surgery. Dr. Gombera offers these innovative injections to patients in Houston, Cypress and Beaumont.
How Does Dr. Gombera Use Stem Cell Injections for Knee Pain?
Before you receive stem cell therapy, you'll have a consultation with Dr. Gombera. You'll review your options and decide on the best plan of action together. If you choose to try stem cell treatment, you'll schedule an appointment for the procedure. Some patients need only one visit for the entire treatment, while others may need a few.
Once you decide on an appointment, you can follow Dr. Gombera's instructions for preparation until your visit. Stem cell treatment consists of two steps — obtaining the stem cells and injecting them. You and Dr. Gombera must first decide on the source of your stem cells:
- Your bone marrow: You can find the prime candidate for your stem cell injection inside your bones. Stem cells that come from your body have a lower risk of a bad reaction than cells from another source. In most cases, Dr. Gombera will take stem cells from your hip in a bone known as the iliac crest. He'll numb the area and extract marrow using a syringe. Within just 10 to 15 minutes in the lab, our specialists separate the stem cells from your marrow.
- Umbilical cord blood (UCB): While UCB cells have a higher chance of rejection than the stem cells in your marrow, they still work as a viable solution. All UCB used for medical procedures comes from thoroughly vetted sources. It has no added preservatives. Instead, medical suppliers freeze the UCB to keep the cells intact. When you can't get your stem cells extracted, UCB cells will help.
Once Dr. Gombera has the prepared stem cells, he'll inject them into your knee. He first cleans and numbs the area of injection. Then, he uses X-rays to find the exact location that needs stem cells. The entire process takes up to a few hours, and you can go home right after the procedure.
Does Stem Cell Treatment Cause Any Complications?
Research shows that stem cell treatment is safe and has minimal complications. However, you still have some risks to consider when you choose to receive stem cell injections for your knee pain. For instance, if the stem cells injected into your knee have pathogens like bacteria or viruses in them, the infection will spread to your knee.
In rare cases, a patient has an immune reaction to the new cells. These problems all have a low risk of happening, and Dr. Gombera will monitor you for any possible symptoms after the procedure. Contact Dr. Gombera if a non-urgent issue comes up that seems to be tied to the stem cell therapy.
The most common side effects of stem cell therapy are minor. You may feel a little pain at the injection site, which can happen with any kind of injection. Since Dr. Gombera injects the stem cells directly in your knee, you may feel some swelling and stiffness. These problems will subside as you recover.
Let Mufaddal Gombera, MD Relieve Your Knee Pain
Dr. Gombera provides a wide range of orthopedic treatments for knee, shoulder and hip pain. He has experience working with professional athletes and non-athletes who want to get back to doing what they love.
Patients in the Houston, Beaumont and Cypress area can visit his office to get evidence-based and personalized pain relief. You can use our booking page to schedule an appointment online or talk to one of our office staff by calling (713) 794-3457.