The Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Therapy for Knees

A picture of Charles Mok

Charles Mok

Book Now
pros and cons of stem cell therapy for knees

A Complete Guide to Understanding This Cutting-Edge Treatment

Knee pain keeping you from living your most active life? You’ve tried everything—from physical therapy to cortisone shots to over-the-counter pain pills. But the ache persists and your orthopedist says you’re headed towards a knee replacement.

Yet you’re not ready to go under the knife. Before taking that leap, you’re seeking alternatives. Something cutting-edge that can potentially help repair your worn cartilage and bring back fluid movement.

That’s where regenerative medicine steps in – specifically, stem cell therapy. You’ve probably heard about stem cells on the news. But how do they work? And can they really alleviate knee osteoarthritis and injuries without surgery?

Let’s dive into the pros and cons of using stem cells to tackle damaged knees. This comprehensive guide will explain what stem cell therapy is, how it’s performed, conditions it can address, effectiveness, costs, risks, and ideal candidates. 

Read on to see if stem cell injections are right for you!

What is Stem Cell Therapy and How Does it Work?

Stem cell therapy utilizes stem cells—the body’s master cells that can become many different types of cells—to repair damaged tissue. There are two main types of stem cells:

Adult Stem Cells

These are undifferentiated cells found in tissues like bone marrow, fat, and blood. They can renew themselves and become tissue- or organ-specific cells. For example, mesenchymal stem cells from fat can differentiate into bone, cartilage, or muscle cells. Adult stem cells are extracted from the patient’s own body (autologous) or a matched donor (allogeneic).

Embryonic Stem Cells

These stem cells come from human embryos fertilized in vitro at fertility clinics. They are pluripotent, meaning they can develop into any cell type in the body. However, their use is controversial and not approved for therapies in many countries.

Discover the cutting-edge science behind stem cell therapy at Allure Medical, where our experts will guide you through the process with clarity and expertise

What Conditions Can Stem Cell Therapy Treat?

Stem cell therapy shows promise for treating many orthopedic, degenerative, and inflammatory conditions, including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendon tears
  • Ligament injuries
  • Fractures
  • Bone and cartilage defects
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Joint injuries
  • Back and neck pain
  • Chronic inflammation

For knee stem cell therapy, adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are typically used. They are isolated from a patient’s bone marrow or fat tissue, then injected into the damaged joint. The stem cells can reduce inflammation and regenerate cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and bone.

Stem Cell Therapy for Knee Conditions

Multiple studies show stem cell therapy can effectively treat knee osteoarthritis and injuries by reducing pain, regenerating cartilage, and improving mobility.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients with knee osteoarthritis treated with stem cell injections reported reduced pain and improved function for up to 12 months. MRI scans showed regenerated cartilage.

According to research in the European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology, bone marrow-derived stem cell injections improved knee cartilage quality in 60 patients with cartilage defects.

However, there are some limitations to the existing data. More robust clinical trials are underway to further establish the efficacy of stem cell therapy for knee conditions. 

What Are the Pros of Stem Cell Therapy for Knees?

Stem cell therapy offers a promising alternative treatment option for patients suffering from knee pain and injuries. Below are some of the key potential benefits:

Reduces inflammation and pain

Multiple studies have shown that stem cell injections can significantly reduce chronic knee pain and inflammation in patients with osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of stem cells are believed to help modify the course of the disease.

Regenerates cartilage

Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into cartilage cells known as chondrocytes. When injected into the knee, they can help regenerate damaged or worn away cartilage tissue in the joint. This is especially beneficial for patients with localized cartilage defects.

Repairs tendon, ligament, and bone

Stem cells may enable faster, more complete healing of sports-related injuries to the ACL, MCL, meniscus, patellar tendon, and other soft tissue structures. They also help mend bone fractures and defects.

Improves mobility

Many patients experience improved knee mobility, range of motion, and a reduction in stiffness after stem cell therapy. Studies show it can significantly improve physical function.

Delays or avoids knee replacement

By healing damaged joint tissues, stem cell therapy aims to eliminate or delay the need for total knee replacement surgery in some patients. It offers a nonsurgical treatment option.

Gets patients moving quickly

There is minimal downtime after stem cell knee injections. Patients can often resume light activity within a few days compared to the prolonged recovery from surgery.

Avoids surgical risks

Stem cell therapy avoids the risks of anesthesia, infection, blood clots, and implant rejection associated with open surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure.

Harnesses body’s innate healing powers

Stem cells tap into and amplify the body’s natural regenerative abilities. It uses your own cells to heal yourself.

Embrace the benefits of stem cell therapy at Allure Medical and reclaim your active lifestyle with our comprehensive approach to knee health

What Are the Cons of Stem Cell Therapy for Knees?

While an emerging and promising treatment option, stem cell therapy for knee injuries and arthritis also has some potential downsides to consider:

  • Not covered by insurance – Due to lack of standardization and long-term data, stem cell therapy is not covered by insurance yet.
  • Mild pain or swelling can occur – Some discomfort, swelling, or stiffness is common after injections before symptoms improve. Any side effects are usually temporary.
  • Severe arthritis less likely to respond – Patients with advanced joint degeneration may be less likely to experience substantial or lasting benefits from stem cell therapy. More research is needed.
  • Multiple treatments often needed – Most patients require 2-3 stem cell treatment sessions spaced 1-2 months apart for optimal and lasting results. This adds to the overall costs.
  • Individual results may vary – With limited clinical data, responses can vary from person to person depending on health status and condition severity. Some patients may experience minimal improvements.
  • Rare risks – As with any injection, there are small risks like infection or injection reaction. Well-trained specialists take precautions to avoid complications.

While stem cell therapy shows promise, patients should consult with an experienced specialist and have realistic expectations when considering this approach. 

Allure Medical will review your individual condition, expected outcomes, and any risks prior to treatment.

Who Are the Best Candidates for Stem Cell Therapy for Knees?

The best candidates for knee stem cell therapy include:

1Those with early to moderate osteoarthritis who have persistent knee pain and stiffness impacting quality of life
2Individuals with acute cartilage, tendon, or ligament injuries seeking to heal quickly and naturally without invasive surgery
3Young, active patients wanting to avoid surgery and permanent implants
4Healthy patients whose knee pain remains unresolved after trying physical therapy, medications, platelet rich plasma, or viscosupplementation injections
5Anyone looking to delay or avoid total knee replacement

Talk to our doctors to see if you are a candidate. Those with very advanced osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, or extensive injuries may need other treatments in conjunction with stem cell therapy.

Why Choose Allure Medical for Stem Cell Therapy?

When considering stem cell therapy for your knees, choose a provider with extensive expertise in regenerative treatments. Allure Medical provides cutting-edge, minimally invasive stem cell therapy to reduce joint pain and restore mobility.

Our board-certified specialists use advanced techniques to harvest and concentrate your stem cells for maximum viability. Ultrasound guidance allows precise injection into damaged joints. We also offer customized treatment plans which may include other regenerative therapies to enhance results.

Schedule a consultation at Allure Medical to learn more about how stem cell therapy can help you regain activity with this innovative treatment. We want to see you doing what you love, pain-free!

Don’t let knee issues sideline you any longer. Stem cell therapy offers new hope to get your knees feeling smooth and strong again without major surgery. 

Charles Mok

Dr. Charles Mok

About Charles Mok

Dr. Charles Mok received his medical degree from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Chicago, Illinois in 1989. He completed his medical residency at Mount Clemens General Hospital, Mt. Clemens, Michigan. He has worked with laser manufacturing companies to improve their technologies; he has performed clinical research studies and has taught physicians from numerous other states. His professionalism and personal attention to detail have contributed to the success of one of the first medical spas in Michigan.

Read More