What is Stem Cell Therapy?

Your own adult (not embryonic or fetal!) stem cells, blood platelets, and/or cartilage cells can be used to regenerate damaged tissue instead of plastic or metal implants or drug injections, like cortisone shots. We all have stem cells throughout our bodies, in fat, bone marrow, etc.These cells have the abillity to differentiate into bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, aiding in the regeneration of inhured tissue and accelerating healing.

Where do cells come from and how are the harvested?
The four (4) main sources of stem cells for orthopedics are: cells from fat, blood cells, bone marrow, and synovium. Bone marrow’s progenitor stem cells are best-suited for regenerating cartilage, ligament, and tendon, and can be used as a direct application (an injection in Dr. Bennett’s office), or in conjunction with surgery. Dr. Bennett can offer his patients stem cells derived from a variety of sources, but generally recommends bone-marrow derived, mesenchymal stem cells as an alternative to knee surgery, shoulder surgery, hip replacement, etc. The technique is “point-of-care”, which means that the stem cells are used immediately to treat the injury and are not stored elsewhere or manipulated in any way- they are harvested from the pelvis (a quick procedure done under minimal anesthesia) and transferred immediately to the injured tissue. Dr. Bennett’s patients rarely complain of any discomfort related to the harvest, and the bone marrow grows back quickly at the harvest site.

Is there evidence for the effectiveness of stem cells in orthopedics?
Stem cell use is evidence based; There continue to be expanding indications for the use of bone marrow derived stem cells adult stem cells, such as for repairing cartilage damage, stem cells for hip arthritis, stem cells for knee arthritis, rotator cuff tears, tendon tears, and hip labral injuries. Dr. Bennett has also used adult stem cells to treat quadriceps disruption, shoulder arthritis, and avascular necrosis.

How quickly does it work?
After treatment, decrease in pain from the injury or condition may be seen as quickly as within 2 weeks, but the whole process of growing healthy cells and regenerating tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bone, etc. can take 3 to 4 months.

How long do the effects of the treatment last?
This is an evolving field, and as a newer procedure, data is still being gathered on the longer term effects. However, since Dr. Bennett has been using stem cells for orthopedic injuries for several years, he has been able to follow up his patients and observes that those with stem cell treatment recovered faster than those without. Science suggests that the new tissue grown with the aid of stem cells is as robust as normal tissue.

What are the advantages of stem cell treatment instead or surgery?
Stem cell therapy has fewer risks than surgery. The biggest risk is simply that the procedure does not work and the condition does not improve. However, in Dr. Bennett’s experience, the failure to respond rate is as low as 7 percent. Hematomas (bruising) at the harvest site are rare and the bone marrow taken grows back, so risk is minimal. Stem cells may also serve as an option for patients who, due to other conditions or comorbidities, are not candidates for surgery.

What are the steps for the procedure?

1) Bone marrow is aspirated.
2) The aspirate is filtered to remove bone fragments.
3) Using a special centrifuge with aspirate container, the cells are separated from the other main components of the bone marrow.
4) The concentrated cells are suspended in plasma and injected with PRP.

Why patients travel from out of state, Europe, etc. to be treated by Dr. Bennett:
To answer this question, see Dr. Bennett’s patient testimonials and CV. Dr.Bennett, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, has used stem cells and PRP for several years to successfully treat arthritis, damaged cartilage, injured tendons, and rotator cuff injuries with adult, bone-marrow derived stem cells. With anything, there is a learning curve, and Dr. Bennett did not just recently jump on the stem cell bandwagon- he was one of the first adopters of this exciting procedure in orthopedics. Consequently, he has accumulated experience that has allowed him to tailor and customize his techniques to best address his patients’ unique injuries.

Dr. Bennett utilizes his specialized knowledge of 20+ years of experience, training in U.S. and Switzerland, and intimate knowledge of joints gained through the thousands of surgeries he has performed. This is an important distinction from other practitoners who are not board-certified orthopedic surgeons. Dr. Bennett has the licensing and credentials to open a live human being’s joint, which affords him knowledge that other types of practitioners may not have or could only acquire in a cadaver lab. (Caveat emptor: some practitioners advertising “stem cells for orthopedics” are not even board-certified orthopedic surgeons!)

Dr. Bennett does not use a “one size fits all” approach to injections. His patients are top international athletes, farmers, homemakers, retired educators, CEOs, nurses, young and old. Each has unique concerns, sports and activities, and goals. Dr. Bennett takes the time to learn about his patients so he can give them the best treatment options for their unique circumstances and lifestyle.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Bennett Call us at (941) 953-5509 or submit our online appointment request form. Below are several articles on stem cell use in orthopedics:

Osteochondral Lesions of the Knee: A new one- step repair technique with Bone Marrow-Derived Cells. Robert Buda, Journal Bone & Joint Surgery, 2010

Application of Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell in a Rotator Cuff Repair Model Lawrence V. Gulotta, MD, The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2009

Concentration of Bone Marrow Total Nucleated Cells by a Point-of-Care Device Provides a High Yield and Preserves Their Functional Activity Patrick C. Herman, Cell Transplantation, Vol 16, 2008

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