Orthopedic Institute Blog

Treat Arthritic Pain with Stem Cell Therapy

Posted on August 12, 2016


Experiencing pain in your joints from arthritis? We have good news. Regenerative medicine, also known as Stem Cell Therapy, is now available at Orthopedic Institute.  Orthopedic Institute’s Dr. Walter Carlson has been incorporating stem cell therapy into select spinal fusion surgeries for the past few years and has completed over 100 successful stem cell spinal fusion surgeries. 

Dr. Carlson has said that regenerative medicine is the biggest advance in healthcare in his thirty years as a physician. We are excited to officially offer this therapy in the treatment of arthritic knees, hips, ankles, elbows and other joints.

Why Stem Cell Therapy

Regardless of what area of the body is being treated, stem cell therapy may be an option for people with arthritic conditions who have pain, but are not yet ready for full joint replacement or other surgical procedure.  Often, such patients are offered cortisone injections or a synthetic lubricant. However, these options are not a cure-all. They may relieve a patient’s pain for a time, but they are not 100% effective.  On the other hand, stem cells can reduce inflammation and pain, along with hopefully restoring some of the patient’s tissues back to a more normal state.

How It Works

Adult stem cells are early stage cells and under the right conditions, are capable of developing into other types of cells with the potential to regenerate damaged tissue. 

The doctor will use a needle to withdraw the bone marrow from your pelvis and then a technician uses specifically designed equipment to concentrate the adult stem cells and growth factors present in the bone marrow.  The concentrated cells are then given back to the doctor for implantation into the targeted area. 

The Regenerative Medicine Choice

It is important to note that stem cell therapy is not yet covered by insurance.  When Dr. Carlson uses it for lumbar fusion surgeries, it does not necessarily add to the cost of the procedure, but the same is not true for other joints.  A patient who wants to try an injection of stem cells for their knee or hip, for example, should expect to pay $5000 to $6000 out of pocket.  However, it may be the better option when compared to the recovery time of a large therapy.

“If a patient is having back or joint pain and they are not quite ready for a big surgery, I would definitely discuss it with them,” says Dr. Carlson.  “It could buy them several years before they will need surgery, and many people feel this is worth it.”

Learn more about stem cell therapy by calling (605)331-5890, or schedule an appointment.