Stem Cells: What They Are and What They Do

 Stem Cells: What They are and What They Do

Stem cell therapy is an exciting new innovation in the medical world, offering people struggling with joint pain from rotator cuff injuries, shoulder arthritis and similar joint-related conditions relief from their symptoms while avoiding the risks of invasive surgical procedures. If you’re curious about alternatives to surgery for your joint problems, it’s important to know how stem cell therapy works and what to expect from this kind of treatment.

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are unique cells found in the human body that have the ability to transform into different types of cells. Stem cells can become brain tissue, muscle tissue, and even have the ability to repair some damaged cells. Stem cells exist in two different categories:

  • Embryonic stem cells or pluripotent stem cells, which can transform into many different types of cells. Most research centers obtain embryonic stem cells from unused embryos left over from in vitro fertilization procedures which are then donated to science.
  • Adult stem cells, which form from fully developed parts of the body such as the brain, liver, skin, bones, and lungs. These stem cells are generally less malleable than embryonic stem cells, but modern technology allows scientists to manipulate them for various treatment purposes.

Most adult stem cells typically only transform into one type of cell. For example, an adult stem cell found in the liver will likely only transform into more liver cells. However, adult stem cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells so they may transform into different types of cells.

How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?

Stem cell therapy is a branch of regenerative medicine, or the field of medicine that focuses on using the human body’s own naturally occurring cells and other materials to heal certain medical conditions. In modern stem cell therapy procedures, the treatment team extracts a patient’s stem cells from bone marrow and then implant those stem cells into the target area for treatment. For example, if the patient suffers from shoulder arthritis, the treatment team will implant the stem cells into the shoulder joint.

After implantation, the patient may experience soreness at the stem cell extraction site for a few days to a few weeks, and the targeted area may feel stiff and sore for about the same amount of time. However, after the initial recovery phase most patients who undergo stem cell therapy experience greater relief that continues to expand for several months. Stem cells will continue to work and repair damaged tissues at the injection site for up to one year.

What to Expect from Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is a noninvasive alternative to surgery for many joint-related health issues. If you have struggled with symptoms of shoulder arthritis, a rotator cuff injury, or any other similar joint-related medical issue, stem cell therapy can provide relief while allowing you to avoid the risks of surgery, which has been the traditional accepted treatment path for most of these conditions.

Surgery is a complex process that typically entails a long and painful recovery period followed by physical therapy and additional treatments. Stem cell therapy by comparison involves a much shorter and easier recovery time with far lower risk of adverse side effects. Most patients who undergo stem cell therapy start feeling relief from their original symptoms within the first month after treatment. If you have dealt with shoulder arthritis or sustained a serious rotator cuff injury recently, consider the benefits of stem cell therapy and investigate this promising new alternative to surgery. Consult with a doctor to learn more about the benefits and cost of stem cell therapy.

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