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Stem Cell Therapy to Relieve Joint Pain

  • Published: 2016-06-13 : Author: Dr. Mark Wagner : Contact:
  • Synopsis: Stem cell therapy treatment for patients with chronic joint pain of the knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, elbows and wrists.

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"The entire procedure is performed under local anesthesia, in-office, in about 60 to 90 minutes, said Dr. Wagner."

Dr. Mark D. Wagner M.D., a primary care physician who specializes in sports medicine with Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle, has launched stem cell therapy treatments in Seattle, for patients with chronic joint pain of the knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, elbows and wrists. The new therapy combines the patient's own Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) taken from the patient's blood, along with the patient's own fat cells and bone marrow. The combination is then injected into the affected joint.

Osteoarthritis affects millions of Americans, characterized by joint inflammation and deterioration of articular cartilage. This cartilage serves as the 'Teflon covering,' which cushions the ends of the bones that make up the joint. As osteoarthritis progresses, this protective layer breaks down, leaving patients with areas of bone grinding on bone.

"I'm treating patients who are experiencing significant pain and the loss of motion in the joint," said Dr. Wagner. "So far, the patients who've received this new procedure are feeling less pain, and should continue to regain their range of motion over time."

Regenerative Medicine is an innovative field of science focusing on the use of stem cells, which are the natural, raw materials the body uses to stimulate new cells, creating growth and healing. In the case of osteoarthritis, the cells found in concentrated bone marrow aspirate (BMAC) and adipose tissue (fat) have been shown to support repair and growth of bone, cartilage, muscle, marrow, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue.

Here's how it works:

A sample of bone marrow, along with adipose tissue, is removed from the patient in a simple, relatively painless procedure. These samples are then spun in a centrifuge to isolate and concentrate the stem cells, which create solutions of concentrated bone marrow and adipose stem cells.

PRP (platelet-rich plasma) is obtained by a simple blood draw. The blood is spun down to pure platelets and growth factors, which are also important in the healing of injuries. Platelets act as fertilizer for the stem cells, promoting further growth. All three of these concentrated solutions are injected together into the damaged joint.

"The entire procedure is performed under local anesthesia, in-office, in about 60 to 90 minutes," said Dr. Wagner. "There's no down time for the patient, and they can assume their daily life immediately. Results are normally seen at approximately three months and can progress up to a year."

Possible candidates for this procedure include people experiencing persistent arthritic pain, who've been diagnosed with mild to moderately severe osteoarthritis.

Clinical research shows these injections are safe, with minimal risk of adverse reactions. Because the material is from the patient's own body, there's little concern of disease transmission, allergic reaction or tissue rejection.

The cost for this procedure varies depending on the extent of the damage, location of the joint and extent of the procedure.

Dr. Wagner received his medical degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. He completed his residency in Family Practice and Sports Medicine at Halifax Hospital Medical Center in Daytona Beach, followed by a fellowship in Sports Medicine at The Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle. He's board-certified by the American Board of Family Practice with a subspecialty in Sports Medicine. In 2014, Dr. Wagner received the prestigious title of Diplomat of the American Academy of Family Practice. He's an accomplished athlete, competing in cycling and triathlon events.

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