Stem Cell Lift® for Joints

Stem cells are revolutionizing the way we practice medicine by its promise of providing novel treatment options today and in the future for cosmetic treatments and for many medical conditions.  Amongst the most common stem cell treatments that are available today are stem cell treatments for joint conditions.  Different stem cell technologies are being developed and tested around the world for treating joints.  Most technologies rely on bone marrow or embryonic stem cells that require cell culture and/or manipulation in a laboratory and therefore require scientific studies to prove their long-term safety before they may be granted FDA approval.  Unlike these treatment methods, the Stem Cell Lift® procedure harnesses the natural healing power of stem cells found in your own body fat, without the need to grow or manipulate these cells in a laboratory, to treat joints, therefore it does not require FDA approval.  The Stem Cell Lift joint renewal procedure may improve the joint symptoms without the need to undergo major surgery.The most natural and safest method of stem cell use is to allow the genetically programmed stem cells found in your fat to carry out their reparative and regenerative functions in the body. One type of the regenerative cells found in the fat are mesenchymal tissue stem cells that are known to have the unique ability to differentiate fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, and nerve insulating cells. The use of these cells may reduce pain, discomfort, stiffness and other joint symptoms with a simple joint injection. Most patients report marked improvement of symptoms and have avoided the risks, costs, pain, down-time, and long recovery associated with joint replacements, chronic pain medications, or serial steroid injections that may give temporary relief. Although there is no long-term data available for this new treatment, initial clinical results are very promising.

Pre-Op

We ask that you arrive at Dr. Nathan Newman’s office one hour before your scheduled procedure time.  Parking is available in our structure and we offer validation.  Discontinue use of aspirin (Bayer, Ecotrin, Plavix) NSAID’s (Advil, Celebrex, Ibuprofen, Naproxen) a week prior to your procedure.  In addition, if you take the following medicinal herbs, you will also need to stop them 1 week prior to your procedure: Cayenne, Cowhage, Echinacea, Ephedra, Feverfew, Garlic, Ginger, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Kava-Kava, Licorice, St. John’s Wart, Saw Palmetto, Fish oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Omega complexes, and Valerian.

If you take prescription anti-anxiety medications, do not take them 24 hours before your procedure.  Some patients may be prescribed oral antibiotics for particular medical reasons, but they are not routinely prescribed.  Should you require prophylactic antibiotics, please bring this to Dr. Newman’s attention.  You will be asked to start them the day before your procedure.  Oral Arnica (such as Sinnech) is recommended and will be given to you after your procedure.  All join patients are given Keflex, an antibiotic.  Please let us know if you can take this medication or have any allergies to medications so we can find you a different antibiotic if necessary.  Because the Stem Cell Lift is done without the use of local anesthesia, you may eat a light breakfast the morning of your procedure, however, do not drink coffee or take medications, such as Advil or Ibuprofen.  All patients require someone to drive them home and possibly to stay with you a few hours, as you may be drowsy when you arrive home and wish to sleep.  Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing with a zippered or buttoned top and shoes without heels the morning of surgery.  It is fine to wear socks, if you desire to wear them during your procedure.   You will be given a hospital gown to wear.  Your belongings will be secured in a locker and you will retain the key.  We request that you do not bring valuables to the Surgery Center.

While you are undergoing your procedure, your friends or family may wait in the lobby or choose to shop or eat in the many venues Beverly Hills offers.

Post-Op

Liposuction Area
The area where the fat was harvested will be draining the night of the procedure and will usually stop by the following morning. The drainage will be pinkish-reddish this is all of the fluid that was injected before harvesting the fat, this is not blood. The white pads given to you (called “ABD” pads) can be used to change the pads initially covering the incision, should they get saturated.  A compression garment can be used to secure the pads (if you do not require a compression garment you may secure the pads with the lining of your pants or tape. Be careful, repeatedly removing the tape can irritate your skin).  Place one of the green pads (“chux”) in the car and one on the bed tonight to help absorb any drainage. DO NOT shower until after your post op appointment the following morning.  Dr. Newman will tell you when it is ok to shower, please keep them short and use lukewarm water. When the doctor says it is okay to shower, keep them short and use lukewarm water

The area where the fat was taken will be sore (similar to muscle soreness) for 2-3 weeks. You may wear spanx or a girdle to help alleviate any tenderness.

Wait at least 1 week before bathing or going into a hot tub (if the incision sites from the liposuction are not closed up in 1 week, wait until they are closed before bathing or using a hot tub)

JOINTS AREA
The area treated will be swollen for the next few weeks (most swelling resolves within 2 weeks however, some may persist for 6-8 weeks). It is common to have swelling and/or throbbing pain on and off at the injection site for the next few weeks. To help reduce the swelling use cool compresses for up to 15 minutes every hour for 3-4 days after your procedure. After you may use cool compresses for 15 minutes three times a day as needed.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT USE ICE directly on the skin; make sure to put a barrier between your skin and the cool compresses (a gauze or washcloth)

For the next month, if you have pain, take only TYLENOL (acetaminophen)- do not take NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve), Celebrex, Diclofenac (Voltaren), etc.

Do NOT push through pain. Excruciating pain that does not resolve with ice or Tylenol needs attention. Please call us for further instructions.

Please take it easy for the next 2 weeks. ‘Taking it easy’ does not mean immobilizing the joint. You should walk for 5-10 minutes every day to help increase the circulation and promote healing. You may slowly return to normal activities over the next 2 months.

You will feel better and will want to do more but don’t! Doing too much exercise too soon can injure surrounding tissues. Continue taking the arnica provided (1 pill under your tongue three times a day) for the next week. Arnica will help reduce the bruising and inflammation

You may resume herbal supplements 3 days after your procedure.

FAQS

Who may be a candidate?
A proper evaluation and assessment by our team of physicians must be done on an individual basis to determine if stem cell treatment is an option for you. Most patients with joint pain and stiffness due to injury, arthritis, or wearing away of the cartilage cushioning have shown significant benefits from stem cell injections into the joint. Many patients that have lost the cartilage in their joints and have been advised to have a knee replacement, but seek alternative options, may be good candidates for this procedure.  To know if you are a candidate it is necessary to see an MRI that is no more then 6 months old.

What are the areas for treatment?
Most joints in the body may be treated using the Stem Cell Lift® procedure. The most common joints treated are the knees, shoulders, ankles and feet and hand joints.

What are the risks and side-effects?
There is minimal risk with this treatment. The risks are the same as any injection into the joints, including bleeding, infection, bruising, and swelling. Since the stem cells are your own and they are kept in their natural form, there is no risk of rejection or allergic reaction.

What is recovery like?
There is no down time. You may resume normal daily activities immediately after the procedure. You may experience swelling and soreness for a few days in the area where the fat was removed from and in the area where the stem cells were injected. There is usually no need for pain medication, in fact most patients report almost immediate relief of symptoms.  We do ask that you not do any strenuous activity for about 2 weeks but you may resume day – to – day activities.

What are the costs like?
The cost of the Stem Cell Lift® procedure is a fraction of the surgical costs, hospital costs, and the costs incurred during the weeks of recovery, rehabilitation and physical therapy needed with orthopedic surgery.

Updates & Articles

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