Stem cell therapy for knees has become one of the most sought out solutions for repairing and rehabilitating the knees. Dr. Younai and Dr. Fishman have extensive experience with stem cell treatments, providing optimal results with minimal downtime. If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in stem cell therapy for knees, feel free to contact us and schedule a consultation.
- 1 What are Stem Cells?
- 2 How We Get Stem Cells
- 3 Knee Conditions Treated with Stem Cell Therapy
- 4 Good Candidates for Knee Stem Cell Therapy
- 5 Stem Cell Injection Process
- 6 Recovery
- 7 How Many Stem Cell Therapy Sessions Will I Need?
- 8 Cost of Stem Cell Therapy for Knees
- 9 Schedule Your Consultation
What are Stem Cells?
Our bodies contain countless amounts of stem cells, a very valuable type of cell that is unspecialized. What this means is that it has the flexibility and potential to become other types of cells or tissue for regenerative and rehabilitating purposes. No other cells in the body have the same capability; this is what makes them so special and valuable.
When we get injured, stem cells rush to that particular location to heal the injury. Stem cells have the ability to divide indefinitely, but with age, this ability lessens. This is where stem cell therapy comes into play. Stem cells obtained from one location of the body can be reinjected in condensed, rich amounts to an injury to better heal it.
Dr. Bruce Fishman and Dr. Sean Younai of the Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles are a part of the Cell Surgical Network, one of the largest cumulative groups in the world of clinical stem cell usage via SVF (stromal vascular fraction.) The Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles works with the most advanced equipment and utilize the most up-to-date techniques to harvest stem cells and reinject them in the necessary locations. If you are interested in stem cell therapy for knees or repairing and healing other damaged or injured joints, tendons, tissue, etc., please feel free to contact us today and we’d be happy to assess your candidacy for stem cell therapy.
How We Get Stem Cells
Adult stem cells are found in organs and tissue in the body such as the heart, bone marrow, teeth, brain, blood vessels, and best of all, adipose tissue. Adipose tissue, or fat, gives home to accessible adult stem cells which reside in the superficial stromal vascular fraction, or SVF, layer. A special liposuction technique is used to obtain stem cell rich fat because there isn’t a need to go too deep to attain it. Liposuction is one of, if not the most effective way of obtaining adult stem cells. The most fatty tissue taken in a liposuction session is 45 cc per donor location.
Each cc has 500,000 to 1,000,000 stem cells, so 10 cc of fatty tissue could potentially hold 10,000,000 stem cells.
45 cc is condensed down to 10 cc through a special centrifugation system. A centrifuge is a device that spins the fatty tissue at an extremely accelerated speed, separating the stem cells from fatty tissue fluids like blood or lipids. From the time that the cells are washed and placed in the centrifuge takes about one hour. The outcome is extremely purified and viable, unspecialized adult stem cells.
Knee Conditions Treated with Stem Cell Therapy
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. This occurs when the cartilage that covers the top of the bones, known as articular cartilage, degenerates or wears down. This can cause swelling, joint pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
Although a single factor is not generally sufficient to cause the disease, about half of the variation in susceptibility has been assigned to genetic factors. However, damage from mechanical stress with insufficient self-repair by joints is believed to be a primary cause of osteoarthritis as well. Osteoarthritis most often occurs in people who are over 50. In younger people, osteoarthritis can result from an injury or trauma such as a fractured or dislocated joint. Rarely, osteoarthritis may also be hereditary.
Patellar tendinitis of the knee, also referred to as “jumper’s knee” is common among basketball and volleyball players, owing to the amount of jumping and landing. This is also a common condition noted for individuals whose job duties or hobby activities require frequent kneeling such as mechanics, carpenters and plumbers.
Tendinitis refers to inflammation of a tendon, a flexible band of tissue that connects the muscles to the bones. The pull of the muscles is transmitted to the bone by the tendons which allow movement. When the tendons are inflamed and irritated, the pulling action of the muscle is impaired with loss of function of the joint. Symptoms can vary from aches or pains and local joint stiffness, to a burning that surrounds the whole joint around the inflamed tendon. In some cases, swelling occurs along with heat and redness, and there may be visible knots surrounding the joint. With this condition, the pain is usually worse during and after activity, and a tendon and joint area can become stiff the following day, as muscles tighten from the movement of the tendon. Tendinosis, however, is a chronic injury caused by an accumulation of small tears in the tendon that have failed to heal properly over time. Patients commonly find it almost impossible to keep from restraining the tendon, because even when the pain is gone, the tendon still hasn’t fully healed.
Pain From Ligamentous Injury
Of all knee injuries, those on the medial side (the inside the knee) are the most common. The medial collateral ligament and posterior oblique ligaments are major stabilizers of the medial knee, and when injured results in significant knee pain and stability problems. The incidence of injuries to the medial knee stabilizers in the United States is reported as 24 in 100,000 every year. Patients often complain of pain and swelling over the medial aspect of the knee joint, and may also report instability with side-to-side movement.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an important internal stabilizer of the knee joint. ACL injuries occur most often in sports contact injury, as well as non-contact injury such as a dismount from a layup in basketball, skiing, wrestling, martial arts, as well as gymnastics. If instability results from this injury, then the menisci will also get injured sooner or later, setting the scene for progressive degenerative arthritis of the knee. ACL injuries occur when an individual stops suddenly or plants his/her foot hard onto the ground. Many ACL injuries also occur with activities causing the individual to land flat on their heels. ACL injuries are diagnosed with physical examination and Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-lasting autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints. It commonly results in warm, swollen, and painful joints particularly early in the morning upon awakening, or following prolonged activity. Although most commonly the wrist and hand are involved, the disease also affects other parts and joints of the body. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not completely clear, but it involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The underlying mechanism involves the body’s immune system attacking joints. This affects the underlying bone and cartilage. The diagnosis is primarily based on the person’s signs and symptoms, with the assistance of x-rays and laboratory testing.
As the pathology progresses, the inflammatory activity leads to tendon tethering with erosion and destruction of the joint surface. This ultimately impairs range of movement and can lead to deformity. RA also can involve the skin, lungs, kidneys, heart and vessels, as well as multiple other body systems. RA reduces lifespan an average from 3 to 12 years, but a positive response to treatment may indicate a better prognosis.
If bursitis persists and is left untreated, calcium deposits can form within the bursa. These calcium deposits limit range of motion and can lead to permanent joint stiffness and recurrent joint pain. Bursitis is the inflammation or irritation of a bursa, which is a closed, fluid-filled sac that functions as a cushion, and provides a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues around joints. Essentially, a bursa provides a slick surface, so that tendons and ligaments can slide across a bony prominence so it doesn’t catch or rub against the bone. When a bursa becomes inflamed, the condition is known as bursitis. With the onset of irritation and inflammation, recovery can be surprisingly long, requiring reduction in activity for an extended period of time to allow the person to heal.
Everyone has demands on them that keep them going, and therefore the normal process of bursitis healing is short-circuited. Thus we continue to irritate the injured bursa prolonging the healing time more and more as we carry out our everyday activities. Duties and activities performed as a plumber, clergyman or a domestic cleaning service provider, commonly develop knee bursitis.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Iliotibial band syndrome is a common injury to the knee, generally associated with running, cycling, hiking, weightlifting, or any repetitive squatting / kneeling activities required occupationally. The iliotibial band is a thick band of fascia on the lateral aspect of the knee extending from the outside of the pelvis over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee itself. This band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during strenuous activity such as running, squatting, kneeling, and climbing. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral condyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during repetitive activities may cause the area to become inflamed.
Iliotibial band syndrome symptoms range from a stinging sensation just above the knee joint, to swelling or thickening of the tissue in the area where the band moves over the femur. The stinging sensation just above the knee joint is felt on the outside of the knee, or along the entire length of the iliotibial band. Pain is most commonly felt when the foot strikes the ground and pain often persists after activity.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome/Chondromalacia
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a syndrome characterized by knee pain ranging from mild to severe discomfort seemingly originating from the contact of the posterior surface of the kneecap with the end of the femur. The patients most at risk from patellofemoral pain syndrome are runners, cyclists, basketball players and other sports participants. Onset of symptoms can be gradual or can result from a single incident. Symptoms can be compounded by wearing worn out or wrong type of footwear. Symptoms include discomfort while sitting with bent knees, or descending stairs. Pain is usually initiated when load is put on the knee extensor mechanism, such as when ascending or descending stairs or walking up slopes. Crepitus (joint noises), and giving-way of the knee may also be present.
Good Candidates for Knee Stem Cell Therapy
Candidates for knee stem cell therapy are men and women who suffer from any of the aforementioned conditions or general knee pain who wish for a long term solution that physical therapy or pain medications can’t provide. Stem cell patients should have realistic expectations of what stem cell therapy can accomplish. Routine injections may be required for optimal results. Please feel free to request a consultation at our Encino location with Dr. Fishman or Dr. Younai to discuss the powerful potential of stem cell therapy.
Stem Cell Therapy for Countering Degenerative Aging Process
You don’t need to have a specific condition or injury to qualify for stem cell therapy.
There has been a recent turn to stem cell usage for aches and pains associated with aging, and countering the degenerative aging process as a whole. This is performed quite often at the Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles.
When we are injured or hurt, stem cells migrate to that specific location to begin repairing. As we age, however, the production and amount of stem cells lessens, increasing recovery time and the ability to properly heal. Stem cells can be used for rehabilitating and healing those who are injured and those who have unlabeled aches and pains due to simply aging. Request your Los Angeles Stem Cell consultation today to see if you qualify for this revolutionary treatment.
Stem Cell Injection Process
The process of isolating the SVF fatty tissue and harvesting the stem cells with liposuction takes about 30 minutes depending on the amount of cc’s needed. The concentration and washing of the stem cells and centrifugation takes about 1 hour. Once purified, the stem cells are immediately injected into the joint.
Stem cells are only viable for the first 72 hours unless cryopreserved as explained below. The adult adipose derived stem cells are injected into the knee joint using local anesthesia under either fluoroscopic x-ray guidance or ultrasound guidance. Fluoroscopy uses a portable X-ray machine that projects real time images to a screen for accurate injection guidance. Ultrasound utilizes reflected sound waves emitted from a transducer to guide injections. Once inside the knee joint, the stem cells begin to rehabilitate and repair the cartilage.
After the procedure, slight discomfort in the liposuction and injection site are normal for the first week. This should go away on its own but please feel free to ask your surgeon about pain medication. Heat can be used to alleviate any muscle spasming, and ice packs can be used to alleviate aching or pain. Walking frequently can help speed along the recovery process.
Please be mindful of your body and listen to it when it tells you certain activities are too hard. Take your time returning to more strenuous activities, at least for 3 to 4 weeks. Initial recovery is extremely important because the stem cells are making a home of their new location and working hard to repair. Stem cells reach their best regenerative potential in about 4 to 6 months.
How Many Stem Cell Therapy Sessions Will I Need?
The answer to this question depends on the injury site and the extent of the injury. Some patients only need one treatment session, while others may need to come back for a couple more routine injections. This is because only 45 cc’s can be obtained per area in a liposuction session for safety and effectiveness, and while there can be millions of stem cells in the harvested fat, some injuries may require more. More sessions may also be required for multiple treatment locations; the maximum per treatment session is typically 4 injection sites. If desired, some patients can qualify to freeze and preserve their stem cells for a later injection treatment date without having to undergo liposuction again, as explained below.
Cost of Stem Cell Therapy for Knees
The cost of knee stem cell therapy depends on the extent of the condition or injury, how many injections will be required to repair the damage, and whether a patient undergoes stem cell injections in other locations. Come in for a knee therapy consultation at the Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles and one of our board certified surgeons will be happy to discuss your options and provide an estimation of cost.
Schedule Your Consultation
If stem cell therapy for the knee, shoulder, spine, ankle, hip, elbow, wrist, or aging interests you, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have and help you schedule a consultation to speak one-on-one with Dr. Younai or Dr. Fishman about your specific condition. Let us help you get on the road to a healthier you.