Stem Cell Treatment Reviews: Expert vs. Novice?

by Chris Centeno, MD /

stem cell treatment reviews

As a patient who is considering stem cell treatment it’s nearly impossible to tell if your doctor knows what he’s doing, or, has no idea. You can search for things like “stem cell treatment reviews”, but that doesn’t tell you how qualified your physician may be. If you’re getting a bone marrow stem cell treatment procedure, there are four telltale signs that your doctor is not an expert. This four part series will cover those and hopefully provide patients with some insight. The first thing to look for is how many sites your doctor intends to draw the bone marrow from. Let me explain.

Bone marrow aspiration is how the stem cells are harvested, so all stem cell bone marrow procedures begin with this procedure. The back of the hip should be carefully numbed and then under imaging guidance, a specialized needle is inserted to draw an aspirate containing bone marrow. The procedure, if properly performed, should be comfortable. In fact, in 2009 we asked 44 consecutive patients about their procedural pain and about 9 in 10 said the procedure was no big deal.

This past weekend I taught a science based bone marrow aspiration course as part of the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation annual meeting in Colorado. Then earlier this week I was speaking to a potential patient on the phone who had already failed one bone marrow stem cell treatment. I wanted to quickly know the quality of the treatment she had received, because this would help me define next steps for her. I asked one question – how many sites had the doctor drawn marrow from, one site on one side or several from both sides? She quickly responded one site from one side, which meant that she had received a low quality stem cell treatment. Let me explain.

We’ve known since the early 90’s that maximizing the number of stem cells harvested from bone marrow requires taking small volumes from multiple sites rather than the same volume from one site. Despite this, I continue to see physicians who have been taught to take all of the bone marrow from one site. How big a deal could this be? Our own research and that of others has shown that a doctor who draws from a single site is artificially reducing the number of stem cells by approximately half or more.

How did this urban medical education myth that it’s OK to draw bone marrow from a single site get started? Way back when in 2005 when we pioneered the whole orthopedic stem cell phenomenon, there were no courses to take. A doctor doing this kind of work needed to be very knowledgeable about how to draw bone marrow. The only guidance was in the medical research literature. When we began, the research was quite clear that maximizing the number of stem cells was all about a multi-site draw. Much later, in the last few years, the companies manufacturing automated bedside centrifuges hired the physicians they could get to teach bone marrow aspiration courses rather than true experts. Regrettably, these doctors had never read the research showing how to do this correctly, so like a game of bad telephone, garbled information about drawing from one site was passed from doctor to doctor. What’s alarming is that because of this education problem, most physicians performing bone marrow stem cell procedures today are doing this part wrong and jeopardizing patient results.

The upshot? You can immediately tell that your doctor is a stem cell novice if he only draws bone marrow from one site of the pelvis. By doing so, he’s hamstringing the number of cells he obtains and your clinical result. How can you find doctors who know how to do this procedure correctly to maximize the stem cell yield? The good news is that the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation maintains a list of physicians who have been properly trained. Or simply ask the doctor how he or she does it. If the answer is one site, find a new doctor! Later this week, I’ll cover three more ways you can easily see if your doctor is a stem cell novice solely by asking simple questions about how he or she intends to perform the bone marrow aspiration.

Category: Latest News

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.