A Non-Surgical Alternative for Arthritis Pain:
How Regenerative Medicine Works.
Arthritis can severely compromise quality of life. Everyday activities become a struggle–bending over, typing on a keyboard, walking, climbing stairs, even getting in and out of a car. Some patients try everything to manage persistent pain, from physical therapy to cortisone shots. Surgery is often the last resort.
Patients looking for an alternative might consider regenerative medicine, a minimally invasive process that uses stem cells from your own body to heal arthritic knees, shoulders and other joints. “Any part of the body that can get arthritis can be treated with regenerative medicine,” says Reuben Gobezie, MD, founder and orthopedic specialist at Regen Orthopedics.
Stem cells are basically immature cells that haven’t “decided” if they’ll form into bone, cartilage or muscle. “If we take these cells from an area in which they are concentrated and inject them into an injured area where perhaps cartilage might be damaged, they can regenerate the tissue,” Dr. Gobezie explains.
Essentially, stem cells from your own body can help heal arthritis. It works because of “injury response,” when stem cells are injected into the arthritic area. The stem cells then go to work, forming new healthy tissue that can heal the joint.
There’s nothing controversial about the minimally invasive process, which involves a needle aspiration at the pelvis to obtain a sample of stem cells. Stem cells and other natural healing and growth factors may also be obtained from fat tissue. The tissue is then placed in an FDA approved stem cell centrifuge to concentrate the stems cells. The cells are then carefully injected into the arthritic or injured area of the body using ultrasound to guide the injection.
The in-office procedure takes just a couple hours, and there may be soreness for three to five days, however many patients feel no pain from the procedure at all. “There are no stitches or splints, but patients should take it easy for about a week after the treatment. Healing and pain relief may be evident around two to six weeks,” Dr. Gobezie says, comparing this recovery time to an average three months for knee surgery.
Regenerative medicine is a stand-alone treatment for some; and a complement to other sports medicine therapies for others. Patients are always evaluated to determine whether they are ideal candidates for this type of treatment, and if not, there are other ways to address the pain, says Dr. Gobezie.
Some might wonder: Why don’t stem cells automatically heal arthritic joints? Doesn’t the body naturally send out signals to send “help?”
“Regenerative medicine takes stem cells from areas of the body where they are highly concentrated and puts them in areas where they are not so concentrated,” Dr. Gobezie explains. Basically, the treatment gives those injured parts of the body more healing power with a stem cell boost. Those stem cells may then repair the area rather than just blocking pain like some therapies.
Patients who might try this alternative treatment for arthritis include those who feel like they’ve tried it all, and others who have been struggling with an arthritic knee, hip, shoulder or other joints for some time and do not want to go the surgical route. “Others really like the idea of utilizing their own body to heal themselves,” Dr. Gobezie says.
Knowing what options are available to address arthritic pain is important so patients can make an educated decision–and know there is a minimally invasive alternative to surgery. “Patients may get back to activities that once caused them pain,” Dr. Gobezie says.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gobezie to review what’s causing you pain, call 844-786-2355. Our office is located at 3755 Orange Place in Beachwood, Ohio. Learn more about Dr. Gobezie here.