Friday, April 17, 2015

Advantages of Using Stem Cells versus Steroids in Treating Foot and Ankle Pain

Stem cells are special biological cells that have the ability to differentiate to other types of cells and repair or regenerate damaged cells in the body. Due to medical advancement, we can now use the regenerative characteristics of these cells to treat an array of medical conditions, including foot and ankle pathology.

Amniotic stem cells are commonly used in regenerative medicine as it does not cause any moral or ethical issues. These amazing stem cells are considered to be undifferentiated cells, which mean they have the ability to change to different kinds of cells like skin, bone, blood and liver cells. When amniotic stem cells are injected to the affected area, these cells can repair and regenerate the surrounding tissues, able to control pain and swelling, and treat previously incurable conditions. This medical breakthrough is said to be the future of medicine.
Advantages of amniotic stem cell therapy:
  1. Amniotic stem cells have the ability to stimulate new tissue growth and repair.
  2. The cells contain natural occurring anti-inflammatory agents like cytokines to control pain and swelling.
  3. Amniotic stem cells can help promote bone and cartilage regeneration, and could help lubricate the joints because it contains hyaluronic acid.
  4. Amniotic stem cells will not induce an immunologic rejection response, patient rejection is extremely rare.
  5. Amniotic stem injections are preferred compared to other sources of stem cells like embryonic stem cells or stem cells extracted from the patient’s own blood because amniotic fluid is a highly concentrated source of stem cells.
  6. Amniotic stem cell also contain hylauronic acid which is the building block for cartilage and healthy joint fluid. 

How are these harvest? 

Amniotic stem cell donors are prescreened and processed through an FDA approved tissue bank. 
The lab then harvest  the live cells, process them and freeze them in -70C for cryopreservation prior to usage.    Our office obtains the cryopreserved stem cells and place them in our ultra low temp freezer until ready for usage. 

Is it safe?
100% safe. 

Insurance cover? 
No, insurance, medicare does not cover these regenerative treatments. Pro athletes and the elite has used this technology for some time, now made available to the masses? 

Do I qualify?
You must be evaluated by our physicians first. If you are a candidate some procedures can be done the same day or scheduled within 24 hours.  
We have consultant physicians on staff that will do injections above the hip joint for instance, tennis elbow, arthritic thumb, etc. 

Repair naturally, not replace or cover up. 

NOT all amniotic stem cells are the same. 
The pure amniotic stem cell does not involve the chorion layer of the amniotic sac.   This chorion layer has been known to cause inflammation and host reactions.   Company's that offer this cut costs by decreasing the processing and using chorion as a filler material. 
We have had patients that had other amniotic tissue injections to no avail. I prefer to use live stem cells and purest form possible for my patients.    Analogy would be using live bait for fishing or dead cut bait.  If you had the choice which would you choose? 

Comparison to Steroids

Steroids injections provide excellent pain and inflammation control and are generally safe. Unfortunately, there are still potential side effects and disadvantages, especially after chronic use.
  1. Temporary relief. Just like other medication, pain and inflammation control provided by steroid use is limited and a repeat injections maybe needed for continued relief.
  2. Post injection pain. For some patients, steroid injections can be very painful and may require anesthetic injection.
  3. Anaphylactic reaction. An allergic reaction or worse, an anaphylactic shock is probably the most dangerous side effect after joint injection of steroids. This is a life-threatening medical emergency and an experienced medical practitioner should identify the early signs of allergic reaction.
  4. Skin changes. For some patients, skin discoloration and atrophy could occur on the injection site, especially with patients who have darker skin.
  5. Risk of elevated blood sugar among diabetics. Diabetic patients who undergo steroid treatment should monitor their blood sugar levels.

Dr. Kevin Lam and FFLC offers
Full line of PRP treatments and Amniotic Stem Cell treatments in office.

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