Sports figures have also made therapies known. However, several stem cell scientists say that these and other self-described stem cell clinics are misleading the public. Researchers hope that stem cells will one day be effective in treating many medical conditions and diseases. However, treatments with unproven stem cells can be unsafe, so be aware of all the facts if you are considering treatment.
Despite conflicting evidence about whether stem cell injections work, many clinics offer them as an option for treating arthritic knee pain. Stem cell injections can help reduce inflammation, repair damaged tissue, and may even help prevent knee replacement surgery. In most cases, doctors who offer stem cell treatments are orthopedists, plastic surgeons, or physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians. However, it is allowed to re-inject the patient's own stem cells into his body as therapy for orthopedic purposes.
Most patients receiving stem cell treatment for knee pain experience rapid recovery times and little or no adverse side effects. Consumers who decide to try stem cell treatments for knee pain should research their doctor and the details of stem cell treatment. The Food and Drug Administration is concerned that some patients seeking cures and remedies are vulnerable to stem cell treatments that are illegal and potentially harmful. The main conditions treated with stem cell injections include osteoarthritis of the knee, cartilage degeneration and various acute conditions, such as a tear of the ACL, MCL or meniscus.
Stem cells are an unproven approach to knee problems such as pain and arthritis, but many clinics market this approach, claiming that it works and is safe. In some laboratories, scientists have been able to help some patients reconstruct damaged tissue using stem cells. The researchers then gave patients a stem cell injection in one knee and a saline injection in the other, without clarifying to patients what the treatment was. Sometimes a patient comes up to us and suggests, “I got an injection of PRP and it didn't work, I definitely need stem cells.
However, the vast majority of people who receive stem cell injections have no adverse side effects. In animal studies, stem cell treatments have shown promise for a variety of diseases, including heart disease, Parkinson's disease, and muscular dystrophy. In theory, stem cell therapy uses the body's own healing mechanisms to help repair and slow the deterioration of body tissues, such as cartilage. The FDA suggests that patients who choose to receive stem cells for any purpose should talk to their doctor about possible risks and benefits, and ask if they are part of an FDA-approved clinical trial.