Can a Same Day Stem Cell Procedure Reduce Disc Bulge Size?

by Chris Centeno, MD /

low-back-disc-stem-cell-treatment

We’ve been impressed with using stem cell injections in the right kind of discs. While most patients believe that there is only one type of disc issue, there seems to be no end to the number of physicians willing to inject stem cells into discs. However, we’ve been more selective. Why? Eleven years of experience injecting stem cells into low-back discs have taught us that this is a great tool when it’s applied to the right kind of discs and a waste of money when it’s applied to the wrong type. This morning I’d like to review a patient of Dr. Pitts, who has the right type of disc, and go over some important changes in the problem disc.

What Is the Right Kind of Disc for Stem Cell Injections, and When Is It a Waste of Money?

 A while back I created a video that helps patients understand the four major types of low-back discs and which will respond to stem cells. The basic idea is that for a disc to be a good candidate for stem cell injections, it has to have good disc height and either a painful tear or a bulge pressing on a nerve. However, if the disc has poor disc height (is collapsed or bone on bone) or a herniation, then there are better technologies to help the problem.

An Example of a Good Disc Stem Cell Candidate

Tracey is an active middle-aged woman with a disc tear and bulge that had persisted for two years. She had tried and failed physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. Tracy got only temporary relief from low-back epidural steroid injections, an SI joint injection, and a radiofrequency ablation of her facet joints. Dr. Pitts initially tried using our 4th-generation platelet lysate procedure by injecting this into the ligaments, joints, and epidural, but she didn’t note that much relief. Hence, he became more convinced that her remaining pain was related to the L5–S1 disc. So in March of this past year, he performed a same-day stem cell procedure, precisely injecting her cells into the L5–S1 disc using fluoroscopic guidance.

Her MRIs are above, taken before the procedure (on the left) and then about seven months after (on the right). Notice the disc bulge in the yellow-dashed line that’s there before and then not there or smaller after the procedure. Also, note that this was a long-standing bulge that wasn’t resolving on its own, so it’s likely that these changes were caused by the injection. She also noted about 75–80% resolution of her low-back and other symptoms.

The upshot? Low-back discs, when they’re carefully selected, can respond well to expert same-day stem cell treatment. However, we see all too often that treatment is offered to any patient with a disc issue and the money to pay for the treatment. Tracey is an excellent example of a patient who needed stem cells injected into her disc to recover!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 thoughts on “Can a Same Day Stem Cell Procedure Reduce Disc Bulge Size?

  1. Wirt T. Maxey

    “However, if the disc has poor disc height (is collapsed or bone on bone) or has a herniation, then there are better technologies to help the problem.”

    What are the “better technologies” ?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Wirt,

      Injecting the disc itself is only appropriate in a specific set of circumstances. As in all of Regenerative medicine, using the right type of treatment for the problem is key. For Herniations it’s usually best to stick with a technology that doesn’t inject the disc, but instead instills isolated growth factors around the irritated nerve. This is called platelet lysate, administered in an epidural injection around the nerves. The focus is to ramp up your body’s own natural repair mechanisms, which can get rid of the herniated disc. Degenerated Discs don’t respond to any type of stem cell injection into the disc. However, in our experience it can respond to a treatment protocol focused on platelet and/or stem cell technology deployed to treat sloppy disc movement due to lax ligaments and arthritic facet joints. Please see: http://www.regenexx.com/how-to-read-a-low-back-mri-report/ and http://www.regenexx.com/blog/epidural-steroid-injections/

  2. stef

    Wow ! I have been reading dc centeno’s blog for a while and i don’t recall any references that an epidural could help regenerate a herniated disc. That is a bold statement. Having had a few of those myself, i always wonder if the patelet lysate stick around the nerve, why not inject it directly at the disc ? That should help. Beside there is plenty in the syringe. But how the patelet lysate flotting around the nerve affect the disc to the point it would help regenerate, outside the contact point between the two, that is worth a blog…

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Stef,

      The procedure highlighted here is a stem cell procedure in which the stem cells are injected directly into a bulging disc with a tear, rather than a platelet lysate procedure in which we treat the nerves, facet joints, ligaments or epidural space. .

  3. Pam

    I appreciate the information and the integrity of your company. Best to the Regenexx crew!

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.