Stem cells are immature cells that have the ability to develop into bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, or ligament. In orthopedics, the most common form of cell-based treatment, or "stem cell" injection, uses concentrated mixture of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC's), platelets, interleukins and other from the patient's own body. The objective of these cellular-base therapies is to harness the natural regenerative ability of these tissues, and to create a healing environment.
These mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be taken from either bone marrow or fat (adipose) tissue, and either of these techniques can be performed in the office. After the cells are collected, the components that are not beneficial to healing are filtered out, and the beneficial cells are then injected into an injured area with the goal of reducing pain and improving function.
All autologous cellular based procedures using the patient’s own cells, and are done with minimal manipulation of the cells, with protocol that are compliant with published FDA guidelines (disclaimer: cell-based procedures used in orthopedics are done so off-label). The procedures are performed as a same-day procedure, with cells being harvested, isolated and injected within a period of a few hours.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are a special type of cell that can differentiate and develop into different types of cells depending on the signals they receive from surrounding tissues. MSCs can become bone cells (osteoblasts), cartilage cells (chondrocytes), fat cells (adipocytes) or muscle cells (myocytes).
MSCs have been used in orthopedics for more than two decades, and studies of autologous stem cells (MSCs) therapy is effective in relieving pain and improving function in patients with knee OA (Song et al 2020). The cells should not be expected to regenerate or restore cartilage in any significant way.
We review all prior imaging studies and perform diagnostic ultrasound before a procedure. We use ultrasound to review the relevant anatomy and guide the needle during the injection.
Most patients will need only one procedure, but sometimes more than one injection is needed.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells are found in both BMAC and MFAT, but these tissues should be referred to by their source, and not as “stem cell injections” given that the majority of the cells injected are not truly stem cells.
Cellular based procedures are too new to be covered by insurance. Insurance plans typically cover the initial consultation, follow-up appointments and therapy. Our billing department can answer questions regarding cost.
Stem cell treatments are performed off-label, as they are neither FDA cleared nor approved for orthopedic use in the United States, and patients are often lured by unverified claims. The FDA has issued compliance guidelines regarding the use of human cells, tissues, and cellular or tissue-based products, and the FDA has recently issued Patient and Consumer Information about regenerative medicine therapies. We recognize the FDA’s role in assuring patient safety, and all of our treatment protocols are compliant with the published FDA guidelines.
At Boston Sports & Biologics, we use the peer-reviewed published medical literature when available and offer patients a spectrum of treatment of treatment options. Our goal is to offer a comprehensive multi-disciplinary approach that is right for you, and based on strong scientific and clinical evidence. All of the commercial systems we use to process autologous cellular products for our bone marrow concentrate and MFAT (Lipogems) procedures have received FDA-clearance to assure purity and potency. We do not culture or expand stem cells.
If you live within 80 miles of our office, we will schedule an in-office consultation for an appointment to review your radiology films (x-rays, CT, MRI), conduct a physical exam, and determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
If you live more than 80 miles away, we will require you to send us the following items to be considered for a procedure:
Upload your images into our secure imaging portal (access TELERAY here)
Mail your documents and images to:
Boston Sports & Biologics
20 Walnut St. Suite 14
Wellesley, MA 02481
E-Mail your documents to: INFO@BSBORTHO.COM
More and more ads online, in newspapers, magazines, and billboards for unproven “stem cell therapies”. Unproven treatments may present serious health, personal and financial considerations. Ensure you go to a physician that practices in compliance with FDA guidelines and is guided by peer-reviewed published medical literature when available.
Like all medical procedures, regenerative procedures have a success and failure rate. Not all patients will experience the same results, and results may vary based on an individual’s overall condition, severity of the pathology and recovery time.