Stem cell treatments have been around several decades as a treatment for various adult and pediatric cancers and some neurologic disorders. In this sense, they are viewed typically as more conventional treatment and can be either experimental or FDA approved. But, the use of stem cells for musculoskeletal injuries, pain and soft tissue conditions is the newest field of Regenerative medicine. It is entirely experimental and does not have FDA approval at all. However, that statement is not made to scare you but rather to help educate you. Stem cell treatments when used properly for the right conditions (and the correct type of stem cells) can be effective. Unfortunately, some clinics throughout the US have touted stem cells as the “Holy Grail” of Regenerative medicine and tried to convince patients that the other forms of Regenerative injections are no longer worthwhile. That is not really the truth.
There are different types of stem cells and different ways that doctors performing Regenerative injections can obtain stem cells. There are autologous forms (remember that word from above – cells obtained from you) and allogeneic forms (cells obtained from a donor). There are risks and benefits, pros and cons to either type all of which Dr. Rook can discuss with you during your consult and treatment plan. No matter what type of stem cells that are use, this category of Regenerative medicine lies on the more expensive end of the spectrum. It is possible, that when used in the appropriate conditions, stem cells could lead to an outcome with the least number of subsequent procedures required. IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT Dr. Rook’s Clinic: At present, because of safety concerns regarding Covid-19, Dr. Rook will not be performing stem cell injections. This will change once he is certain that there is no risk to any potential patient who might receive stem cell injections in his clinic. In his practice experience, however, there have been few conditions where stem cell would be the only option – in other words, in most cases that present to a clinic like his, if regenerative injections are indicated, the other options listed above are typically effective.