A stem cell transplant or adult stem cell replacement is a procedure that replaces your abnormal stem cells with healthy cells from a stem cell donor; then you will be able to get new stem cells that work. Adult stem cell replacement has gained worldwide recognition as one of the largest medical breakthroughs for patients to heal naturally.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are single cells from your body that can produce an indefinite amount of more cells of the same type. However, some types of stem cells such as embryonic cells can produce any cells. There are about 200 types of cells in your body, and stem cells have the “choice” to form into any of them. Once injected into your body, adult stem cells function as building blocks for tissue regrowth. The injection of stem cells is also known to increase blood flow to your weak areas at an accelerated rate.
Why An Adult Stem Cell Replacement?
Adult stem cell therapy can be applied to treat areas in your body that are injured, damaged, or painful to move. These stem cells promote growth and healing in your body. Adult stem cell therapy specifically refers to a type of treatment that was created to meet your needs if you suffer from back pain, specifically discogenic back pain, or back pain that is the result of the deterioration or damage of the intervertebral discs in your spine. These discs can bulge, tear, and disintegrate as you age, if you suffer from a spinal injury, or if you are diagnosed with a congenital defect that makes your intervertebral discs vulnerable to herniation. This procedure gives you a natural, biologic solution for your back pain, and is used as an alternative to spinal surgery, and to combat spinal issues (spinal fusion, degenerative disc disease, spinal cord injury). Usually, an adult stem cell replacement is only performed once your spine has failed to heal with conservative treatments.
Common Conditions to Treat
The following ailments are the most common issues that are treated with stem cell transplant therapy:
- Blood Disease: If you have a severe blood disease such as thalassemias, aplastic anemia, or sickle cell anemia, your body can’t make enough red blood cells or blood cells that work the way they are supposed to.
- Cancer: Certain types of cancer, including leukemia, require high doses of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. These types of treatments can severely damage or destroy your bone marrow, which can be replaced by a stem cell transplant.
- Immune Deficiencies: Certain diseases prevent your body from making some kinds of white blood cells. Without these cells, you could develop life-threatening infections.
Preparing for a Stem Cell Transplant
Your physician may perform some or all of the following tests to ensure your readiness for an adult stem cell transplant:
- Blood Chemistry Test
- Blood Count
- Bone Marrow Biopsy
- Chest X-Ray
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection Test
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
- Emotional Evaluation
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Health History
- Hepatitis B Screening Test
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Test
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan
- Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)
- Physical Exam
- Psychological Evaluation
Adult stem cell transplantation is a non-invasive procedure. Living stem cells are injected into the intervertebral discs that are affected by degeneration, allowing your body to heal itself. Your doctor will harvest the stem cells you will need for the procedure. Usually, these stem cells are collected from your adipose tissue (fatty tissue usually found in the belly area), or from your bone marrow. The stem cells are recycled back into your body in the affected area during the procedure.
Since stem cell transplantation into the spine (adult stem cell replacement) are just beginning clinical tests, unforeseen risks, complications, and unpredictable outcomes are possible. However, grafted neural stem cells improved the motor function of the spinal cord when tested on injured rats, and resulted in little to no side effects. A five-year study of the adult stem cell replacement procedure was established in 2014.
Getting an adult stem cell transplant means that living cells are directly applied to your intervertebral discs affected by discogenic pain. As a result, adult stem cell transplants directly treat the degeneration of your intervertebral discs, which are the cause of the pain and inflammation in your spine.
Your physician will guide you about what kind of adult stem cell replacement therapy you need. Depending on what your needs are, your recovery time will vary.
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