Frequently Asked Questions
What is unique about the Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists?
We are the only regenerative clinic in the US founded by and operated by board certified fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeons. We are the only regenerative clinic in the U.S. utilizing a patented stem cell methods technique. Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists also have four additional patents pending. No other clinic offers a stem cell technique with this amount of intellectual property. Utilizing our patented procedures has resulted in our follow up clinical results being better than those reported by any other regenerative clinic. Elite is the only regenerative clinic involved in four FDA biologic studies on treating orthopedic pathology. Elite’s spine surgeons have used bone marrow concentrate in spine surgery since the early 90’s. No regenerative clinic has surgeons with more than 25 years of stem cell experience! Elite specialist clinics follow all FDA guidelines.
What is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine is a new and advancing scientific field focused on the repair and rejuvenation of your damaged tissue utilizing your own adult mesenchymal stem cells. Regenerative medicine is natural healing.
What are stem cells?
We are born with over twenty different types of stem cells. We keep these stem cells our entire lives to regenerate our bodies damaged tissues. Stem cells are unique cells capable of two processes: reproducing themselves or differentiating into end stage cells. Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists extensive research involves using your own adult mesenchymal stem cells (M.S.C.) obtained from bone marrow. Extensive published research indicates M.S.C.’s can repair and replace degenerative areas in between discs and damaged joints and provides your body the opportunity for natural healing.
What is the difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells?
Adult M.S.C.’s are found in mature adult tissues (the best M.S.C.’s come from bone marrow), while embryonic stem cells are obtained from donated embryos. Embryonic stem cells are not found within the adult human body. At Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists, we do not use embryonic stem cells for any of our procedures. There are no ethical issues utilizing your own adult stem cells.
Why is the mesenchymal stem cell so important?
For those in the fields of orthopedics and spine, it is the perfect stem cell because it is the ONLY stem cell that can become end stage bone, cartilage, tendon, or ligament cells. Perhaps even more important is what the M.S.C. does when it doesn’t differentiate but remains a stem cell. The undifferentiated M.S.C. may be your most important cell because it modulates your immune system and fights acute and chronic inflammation throughout your entire body! We think of the M.S.C. as the conductor and your immune system the orchestra!
What does the mesenchymal stem cell do as a stem cell?
The M.S.C. may be the most important cell in your body. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory! The M.S.C. modulates your immune system, prevents apoptosis (cell death), promotes new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis), and can promote rapid healing from acute injuries. It does all of this as it remains an adult stem cell. The M.S.C. truly promotes your body’s own natural healing.
How do your adult M.S.C.’s know what to do?
Your adult stem cells become activated by a process of cell-signaling. Unhealthy cells in your body signal to the stem cells using small proteins called cytokines. Once the new stem cells understand their purpose, they immediately go to work with their new job to repair and replace damaged and degenerated tissue.If you put an M.S.C. into an arthritic joint it will differentiate into a cartilage cell. If you put an M.S.C. into a bone fracture, it will become a bone cell. If an M.S.C. is placed into a ligament or tendon, it will become a fibroblast. The M.S.C. can also remain a stem cell and duplicate itself over and over. How the M.S.C. can accomplish all these amazing things is the result of millions of years of development.
How do we obtain stem cells and are there any ethical issues with this process?
We extract adult stem cells from the patient. Based on extensive published research, the best M.S.C.’s to treat orthopedic and spine pathology are found in the bone marrow tissue within the iliac wing of the pelvis (sometimes called the hip bone). Since the cells are coming from the patient, there are NO ethical implications. We are treating individuals with cells derived from their own bodies for the best possible natural healing experience.
What happens during a procedure?
First, an extensive history, physical and evaluation of your X-rays and or MRI is performed by an Elite Specialists physician. Intravenous medication is then administered for relaxation and comfort. Next, during a simple procedure, bone marrow cells are taken from the patient’s ilium bone in the pelvis, concentrated, and delivered back to the patient into the area of injury. This entire procedure takes place in a specialized room, with experienced professional personnel. The entire and usually takes less than 60 minutes. The patient is awake the entire time, under conscious sedation or local anesthetic. This means you are breathing on your own but asleep and not aware of your surroundings. The versed IV medication typically gives you amnesia of events during the procedure. The average patient experiences minimal or no pain from the bone marrow aspiration and placement of the stem cells into an arthritic joint or the spine. Elite Specialists follow all FDA guidelines.
What conditions would exclude me from being able to undergo orthopedic stem cell therapy?
Spine patients with severe symptomatic stenosis, or an acute herniated disc that are causing severe neurologic deficits are typically not good candidates for stem cell therapy. An acute fracture or acute trauma (such as a complete ACL tear) are possible contraindications. Most all patients with arthritis in any joint are potential candidates. Patients with chronic neck or low back pain are typically very appropriate candidates for stem cell therapy. Each patient is individually analyzed by a stem cell specialist and advised as to whether they are candidates for a bone marrow stem cell procedure.
How does a bone marrow M.S.C. injection help hip, knee or any joint arthritis?
The M.S.C. produces anti-inflammatory cytokines (proteins), trophic factors (proteins to stimulate growth), pro-angiogenesis factors (proteins to stimulate new blood vessels), anti-apoptic factors (proteins to inhibit cell death), all communicated to other cells in a paracrine fashion (cell to cell communication). When you put M.S.C’s into a joint it is anti-inflammatory, leading to primary pain relief. The M.S.C.’s can also differentiate into cartilage cells, helping regenerate normal cartilage, providing secondary pain relief. In addition to the stem cell therapy, appropriate post procedure treatment and weight loss can maximize your clinical results.
Who does my procedure?
Our clinics are comprised of a highly experienced team of doctors who are passionate about their procedures. Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists are the only regenerative clinics founded and operated by board certified and fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeons. All of our patient care is provided or supervised by knowledgeable physicians who have conducted stem cell clinical research for many years. We are widely known as pioneers of orthopedic stem cell research with over 25 years of stem cell experience.
What is the risk of rejection from the cells?
Because the extracted cells are from the recipient’s body, there is NO risk of rejection.
Are there cancer-causing risks associated with adult bone marrow stem cell treatments?
Absolutely not! There is no data that suggests your own adult bone marrow stem cells have the potential to promote the development of tumors. There is published research showing NO increased risk of cancer from stem cells obtained from bone marrow. There is no published research about the cancer risk of adipose stem cells.
Who is a candidate?
Most people with arthritis in any joint are good candidates for bone marrow M.S.C. regenerative therapy. Some patients are better candidates than others, depending on certain factors such as the severity of arthritis and age. Patients with chronic back or neck pain are often very good candidates for M.S.C. regenerative therapy. All patients are candidates for the IV infusion therapy. Each patient is individually analyzed by an experienced stem cell specialist.
Why is bone marrow a better place to obtain mesenchymal stem cells than adipose (fat)?
There are several reasons why bone marrow is better than fat. There are no FDA issues with bone marrow. The FDA has clearly stated fat stem cells are a drug and require FDA control. Fat stem cells are not homologous when placed into the spine or a joint. This means the FDA doesn’t think any doctor should put adipose stem cells into those areas. Published research indicates bone marrow stem cells cells work better to regenerate arthritic joints than fat stem cells. The total number of M.S.C.’s per unit volume is about the same in both tissues. Research has also shown there are fewer complications obtaining M.S.C.’s from bone marrow than fat. Published research shows there is NO cancer risk from bone marrow stem cells. There is no similar research on fat stem cells. There IS research showing fat stem cells can actually promote the spread of a cancer you may already have in your body.
What is the potential benefit of putting the bone marrow stem cells into my IV?
The mesenchymal stem cell is the most studied stem cell in the body! Thousands of peer reviewed research articles have been published in just the last few years about this amazing stem cell. Most of this research involves how the M.S.C. can potentially treat autoimmune diseases such as Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis, Asthma, Ulcerative Colitis, Chron’s disease, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia just to name a few. All of this research involves placing the M.S.C.’s into an IV. Once in a vein, the M.S.C.’s travel to the capillaries of the lungs, where they “talk” with other cells via paracrine communication (cell to cell communication). When they leave the lungs, the M.S.C’s are attracted to and concentrate in focal areas of inflammation. This means the M.S.C.’s can send out signals that modulate your immune system and decrease the inflammation. Essentially, the research shows that intravenous infused M.S.C.’s have many potential anti-inflammatory benefits. Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists was the first orthopedic surgical clinic in the U.S. to offer the IV infusion of bone marrow M.S.C.’s to patients. Elite is the only regenerative clinic in the U.S. to have a patent pending on our unique method of performing IV infusion of M.S.C.’s (we emphasize this is an unproven treatment and we make no promises of its efficacy in treating any autoimmune disorder).
Why should I choose to have a stem cell procedure at Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists rather than any other clinic?
Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists is the only regenerative clinic founded and operated by board certified fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeons, not pain doctors, pediatricians, ObGyn, dermatologists or plastic surgeons. When you have an orthopedic problem, why not be treated by an orthopedic surgeon? Elite is the only regenerative clinic with an issued methods patent for performing stem cell therapy and with four additional stem cell method patents pending. Using these unique patented stem cell methods, our published research shows better clinical results than that reported by any other clinic. Elite is the only regenerative clinic involved in four FDA biologic studies on treating orthopedic pathology, and was involved in the first ever FDA study injecting biologics into a human spine! Elite is also the only regenerative clinic to have a pending patent on a proprietary method for maximizing the numbers of M.S.C.’s obtained from a bone marrow aspirate. Experience, research, and data make Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists unique. Our surgeons have over 25 years experience using bone marrow stem cells in orthopedics!
How long do the therapeutic effects of a bone marrow stem cell procedure last and will I require a second procedure?
No one knows how long the therapeutic effects of a stem cell procedure will last. Our surgeons have been using bone marrow stem cells in spine surgery since the 1990s. Our experience is that about 5% of patients have a second stem cell procedure done within two years of the first procedure. Having a second procedure does not in any way increase any risks. Our experience indicates a second procedure often provides the additional relief a patient is seeking. If a patient doesn’t achieve adequate results within three months of the first procedure, a second procedure should be given serious consideration.
When should I expect results from a bone marrow stem cell procedure?
Every patient is unique. Some patients see results within days. This is especially true with our patent pending IV procedure. The patented orthopedic procedure into the joints and/or spine usually provides substantial improvement within six weeks to three months after the procedure. If a patient does not experience improvement by three months after a procedure (this occurs with about 10% of patients), that procedure is likely not to provide the desired results and a second procedure is worth serious consideration.
Does chiropractic or physical therapy treatment improve my results?
Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists are STRONG supporters of professional rehabilitative care before and after your stem cell procedure. Our follow up clinical results indicate patients who have appropriate nutritional intake, are physically fit, not obese, and are non-smokers have better results. After the stem cell procedure, patients receiving appropriate professional rehabilitation care have been shown by our follow up data to have better clinical results. We encourage you to follow up with a chiropractor, physical therapist, and nutritionist. Elite is the only regenerative clinic to have formalized post procedure chiropractic treatment protocols. Ask about Elite’s Associates in Regenerative Medicine (ARM) program.
What medicines should I NOT take before my procedure?
Unless you are only doing the IV infusion procedure, you should be off ALL blood thinning medicines for several days before your stem cell procedure. This includes ALL heparin products, Plavix, Coumadin and NSAIDS (motrin, naprosyn, celebrex, are examples, adult dose aspirin). Baby aspirin dosage is OK. You will be instructed when you can resume your medications after the procedure.
When can I resume normal activities after the procedure?
We recommend you rest for 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. Most patients are sore from the procedure for a day or two. Walking is encouraged during this time period. Activities should be slowly increase as tolerated over the next several weeks. Normal activities can be resumed within six weeks following the procedure. Every patient is unique and your recovery time may be slower than this. Post procedure chiropractic or physical therapy treatments will generally speed your recovery.
What can I do to help Elite Regenerative Stem Cell Specialists after the procedure?
We are PASSIONATE about obtaining follow up after your procedure! Every Elite patient is prospectively studied, requiring you to help us obtain data after your procedure (filling out research forms or returning for physical exams). Data collection points are 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and annually after your procedure. We CAN NOT emphasize how important this is! We will do everything we can to make this data collection as easy as possible. We also strongly encourage feedback on how we can improve in any way our concierge service to you!
Will my insurance cover this procedure?
At this time, regenerative medicine is not covered under insurance plans. We do offer payment solutions to assist our patients with the cost of treatment. If you use a health savings account, the procedure may be tax deduction. Check with your accountant.
What is the cost of a treatment?
Treatment costs vary based on the extent of therapy you may require. Our stem cell counselors will outline costs and options for your specific condition.