For many patients with debilitating knee osteoarthritis, treatment options are limited: steroid injections, joint replacement surgery (and replacement alternatives), physical therapy, etc. At Silver Spring Medical Center, new cutting-edge treatment options like amniotic membrane stem cell injections may be used by Dr. John Melmed, MD to successfully treat patients with knee osteoarthritis, Achilles tendonitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, and degenerative arthritis.
Note: For clarification, this type of stem cell comes from the amniotic sac – not an embryo. While some people may have ethical issues with embryonic stem cell therapy, most everyone agrees that the use of amniotic stem cell therapy raises no ethical or moral questions.
How does amniotic stem cell therapy work?
Stem cell treatment takes advantage of the body’s ability to repair itself. With amniotic stem cell therapy, the physician injects stem cells from amniotic tissues into your body. These stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties, similar to cortisone and steroid shots. However, stem cell therapy goes far beyond the benefits of standard “injection therapy.”
While cortisone and other drugs only provide temporary pain relief, stem cells actually restore degenerated tissue while providing pain relief. The growth factors in amniotic stem cells may replace damaged cells in your body. Additionally, stem cell injections contain hyaluronic acid, which lubricates joints and tendons, easing the pain and helping restore mobility.
What benefits does amniotic stem cell therapy offer?
Amniotic stem cell therapy is very safe and effective. Learn more about several benefits this treatment has to offer:
- Amniotic stem cells contain no steroids. Instead, the injections rely on naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agents, such as cytokines.
- Amniotic stem cells contain hyaluronic acid, which lubricates cartilage and promotes new cartilage growth.
- Amniotic stem cells contain growth factors, which stimulate tissue growth.
- With amniotic stem cells, there is no threat of patient rejection.
- Lastly, amniotic fluid is a highly concentrated source of stem cells, which makes this type of stem cell injection preferable over embryonic stem cells and the patient’s own stem cells (from fat or bone marrow).
Are stem cell injections safe?
Yes. More than 10,000 injections have been performed without a single reported adverse side effect.
- Amniotic stem cell therapy is a preferred type of stem cell therapy because the cells come from an immunoprivileged site, which means that patient-rejection is extremely rare.
- The use of amniotic stem cells is well researched, safe, and effective. Amniotic stem cells have been used by ophthalmologists and plastic surgeons for about 20 years.
- All amniotic stem cell donors go through a rigorous screening process, as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB).
Am I a candidate for stem cell therapy?
Patients suffering form any kind of joint, tendon, or ligament pain may be considered as candidates for amniotic stem cell therapy at Silver Spring Medical Center. Patients with severe degenerative osteoarthritis may not be eligible for stem cell therapy. Upon evaluation, your physician may be able to provide you with recommendations for other types of advanced sports and orthopedic care, or a surgical consultation.