Stem cell therapy is one of the most exciting medical developments of this century — but it is also one that comes with a lot of questions. This form of treatment uses the regenerative power of our own bodies to heal disease, turn back the clock on aging, and improve your appearance.
When a therapy promises to do this much, it’s natural to wonder how it works, what stem cells are, and where they come from. In this helpful overview from Innovations Medical, we’ll be sharing how stem cell therapy works, along with the amazing possibilities this safe, ethical, and effective treatment offers.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
Also called regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy is a term for a branch of treatment that uses stem cells to repair or replace damaged tissue in the body. Stem cells have the unique ability to differentiate into any number of more specialized cells and tissues. This means stem cells have the potential to treat a wide range of conditions, including injuries, age-related diseases, and certain types of cancer.
From a cosmetic standpoint, stem cells may also have the potential to help smooth out wrinkles, tighten skin, and create an overall younger appearance. Additionally, stem cell therapy has shown promising early results in treating conditions including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and heart disease.
The Innovations Medical Stem Cell Center has been performing stem cell treatments since 2013. Together with the Cell Surgical Network, we have performed more than 12,000 treatments and are proud to be the first Cell Surgical member in North Texas.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are cells in the body with the ability to develop into many different types of other cells, including muscle cells, nerve cells, or blood cells. They can be found in many different tissues in the body, including bone marrow, blood, fat tissue, and the umbilical cord.
There are several types of stem cells determined by their source. Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos, umbilical cells that come from newborn infants, and adult stem cells which are found in various tissues in the body and are involved in tissue repair and regeneration.
Types of Stem Cell Therapy
When used in stem cell therapy, treatment involving stem cells from a patient’s own body is called autologous stem cell therapy. When it is from a donor, it is called allogeneic stem cell therapy.
The procedures performed at Innovations Medical are autologous procedures that only use stem cells safely harvested from a patient’s own fat.
Stem cell therapy can be used in a wide range of applications including:
- Musculoskeletal conditions and injuries for muscle and joint repair
- Neurological disorders
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heart disease
- Urologic dysfunction and surgery
- Lung disease
- Eye diseases
How Do Stem Cell Procedures Work?
Most autologous stem cell procedures use the following steps:
- Collection — Stem cells are collected from the patient through a process called harvesting where stem cells are obtained from bone marrow, fat tissue, or blood, depending on the type of procedure.
- Processing — The harvested stem cells are then processed to isolate and concentrate them for use in treatment. This typically involves separating the stem cells from other cells and substances in the sample. The stem cells are then purified and tested to ensure they are suitable for the procedure.
- Administration — The concentrated stem cells are then placed into the treatment area through methods including injection, infusion, or transplantation. The cells will then migrate to the damaged or diseased area of the body and begin to differentiate into the specific cell types needed for repair and regeneration.
Because the stem cells come from the patient’s own body, there is no risk of rejection or adverse reactions. This is why autologous procedures often have a better chance of success compared to using stem cells from a donor.
How Long Does It Take to Work?
The time it takes for stem cell therapy to show results depends on several factors, including the type of procedure, the condition being treated, the severity of the condition, and the patient’s individual response to the treatment.
In some cases, patients may start to see results within a few days or weeks of stem cell therapy. For example, with joint injuries or osteoarthritis, reduced pain, improved mobility, and increased joint function can be noticeable within a few days or weeks of the procedure.
In other situations, the benefits of the stem cell procedure may take several months to become apparent. This may be the case with conditions that involve regeneration of tissues or the growth of new blood vessels, such as in the treatment of heart disease or neurologic conditions.
How Long Does Stem Cell Therapy Last?
The duration of stem cell therapy depends on several factors, including the type of stem cell therapy, the condition being treated, and patient response to the treatment.
For many, stem cell therapy can provide long-lasting or even permanent results. For bone marrow transplants, which involve the use of hematopoietic stem cells to treat blood-related conditions, the effects of the treatment can last for many years or even be permanent.
In other situations, stem cell therapy may require additional treatments to maintain the benefits. For example, with joint injuries or arthritis, stem cell therapy may provide relief and improved function for several months to a few years, with additional treatments being required to maintain results.
How Much Does Stem Cell Therapy Cost?
The cost of the initial treatment ranges from $6,000 to $12,000. The range in cost is dependent on the complexity of delivering the cells back to you. For example, spine conditions require multiple physicians to deliver the cells back to your body, and this requires an increase in cost as multiple doctors are involved in the procedure.
For many people, the initial treatment is all that is needed. But for some conditions, subsequent treatments may be required and these are done at a reduced fee. Stem Cell treatments are performed at both our Dallas and Fort Worth locations.
Is Stem Cell Therapy FDA Approved?
Autologous stem cell procedures done in the same day are considered surgeries and are not governed by the FDA. This is also true when cells are frozen and used at a later date. This is not true for allogeneic cells (cells from other individuals). Those procedures are not FDA approved and are not considered surgeries. FDA approval does exist for hematopoietic stem cell transplants. These are treatments that promote the development of healthy blood cells in people with conditions such as leukemia and sickle cell diseases.
The FDA does not have responsibility for approving surgical procedures. Consequently, stem cell procedures from fat will never require FDA approval. As with other surgeries, such as gallbladder removal or appendectomy, the FDA does not regulate these procedures.
Contact Innovations Medical to Learn More About Stem Cell Therapy
If you’re looking to improve your appearance, manage pain, or treat a chronic illness, Innovations Medical is here for you. Our skilled professionals help you decide which treatment is best for you — keeping you informed and confident in the next steps. We’ve been helping our patients look and feel their best since 2005, and even our most advanced procedures are often minimally invasive.