Have you ever wondered how your favorite athlete seems to magically heal from their season-ending injury within months? It could be they have access to innovative medical treatments – like stem cell therapy. Luckily, you don’t need to be a pro athlete to reap the benefits of these healing treatments.
Stem cell therapy is relatively non-invasive when compared to other types of procedures, and harnessing the power of this tool offers exciting advancements that are changing the way many illnesses and injuries are handled.
Where do stem cells come from?
Stem cells are prevalent from the moment of conception. Embryonic stem cells are the most diverse when it comes to treatment capabilities, but due to ethical concerns, are not widely used, if at all. The stem cells that are used in treatments are taken from a donor or from the patient themselves, depending upon the designated procedure. Stem cells used in treatment today are most-often sourced from bone marrow or adipose tissue.
What do stem cells do?
Stem cells are used to grow new tissues within the body. Naturally, these miracle workers do their job, but sometimes dysfunction or injury reams them incapable. Inserting new cells into the treatment area can kickstart valuable function, offering anti-inflammatory benefits and encouraging the growth of strong cells, which can then be further divided into healthier cells.
Are stem cells therapies safe?
There are risks involved in any type of medical procedure. That being said, since most stem cells are harvested from the recipient, there is little risk involved in the treatments provided by most clinics. Most patients feel no side effects, other than the occasional pain and/or swelling of the injection site. As with any medical procedure, there is a risk of infection, which is mitigated by proper sterilization and aftercare.
How long does the treatment take?
Stem cell therapy treatments are so fast, in theory, you could receive one on your lunch hour. However, you may want to schedule your procedure when you have a little extra time.
It sounds like a miracle, are there any cons?
Stem cell therapy is a modern-day miracle! These dynamic treatments are being used to help people suffering from a variety of ailments, including painful conditions, and those that could cost lives. That being said, there are a few things to think about when considering treatment.
One is cost. Most stem cell therapies are not covered by insurance. This means that you will have to pay out-of-pocket for the procedure. While it may seem pricey, the benefit of a pain-free existence often outweighs that cost in most patients’ eyes. If you’re open to stem cell therapy, but the price is too high, there are institutions that offer financing specified for medical treatments, like CareCredit.
Additionally, as mentioned above, there is a slight risk of infection at the injection site, and recipients may feel localized pain immediately following the procedure. However, as healing takes place, the pain quickly subsides.
Stem cell therapies are changing the way we view healthcare and a variety of ailments. What used to be life-altering is now fixable, due to the scientists and medical professionals pioneering these miracle treatments.
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Stein, Rob. Researchers Question Safety, Value of Untested Stem Cell Treatments. Shots Health News from NPR. September 5, 2016 [cited June 20, 2017]. Available at www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/09/05/491372940/researchers-question-safety-value-of-untested-stem-cell-treatments.
Vrentas, Jenny. Stem Cell Treatment: Out from the Shadows, Onto the Cutting Edge. The MMBQ. July 30, 2014 [cited June 20, 2017]. Available at www.mmbq.si.co/2014/07/30/stem-cell-treatment-nfl-sports-medicine.