• Fountain of Youth Staff

A Stem Cell Injection for my Knee?

Stem cell injections for knees explained The cartilage covering the ends of the bones enables the bones to glide smoothly against one another with only slight friction. OA causes damage to the cartilage and leads to increased friction — resulting in pain, inflammation, and ultimately, a loss of mobility and function. In theory, stem cell therapy uses the body’s own healing mechanisms to help repair and slow the deterioration of body tissues, such as cartilage. Stem cell therapy for knees aims to:

  • slow and repair damaged cartilage

  • decrease inflammation and reduce pain

  • possibly delay or prevent the need for knee replacement surgery

In simple terms, treatment involves:

  • taking a small amount of blood, usually from the arm

  • concentrating the stem cells together

  • injecting the stem cells back into the knee

Does it work?

Several studies have concluded that stem cell therapy improves arthritis symptoms of the knee. While overall results are promising, more research is needed to discover:

  • how it works

  • correct dosage

  • how long the results will last

  • how often you’ll need the treatment

Side effects and risks Stem cell treatment for knees is noninvasive, and studies suggest that side effects are minimal. After the procedure, some people may experience temporary increased pain and swelling. However, the overwhelming majority of people who get stem cell injections have no adverse side effects.

The procedure uses stem cells that come from your own body. In theory, this dramatically reduces the risk of any serious side effects. However, there are various ways of harvesting and processing the stem cells, which likely affects the various success rates of the published studies. Before receiving any treatment, it’s best to:

  • learn as much as you can about the procedure and how it works

  • make a free consultation with Lynn Worthington at Fountain of Youth Medical in Farragut.

Cost Despite conflicting evidence about whether stem cell injections work, many clinics offer them as an option for the treatment of arthritic knee pain. Since stem cell treatment for arthritic knee pain is still considered “investigational” by the FDA, the treatment is not yet standardized and there is no limit to what doctors and clinics can charge. The cost can be several thousands of dollars per knee and most insurance companies do not cover the treatment.

Other options If OA is causing knee pain or affecting your mobility, the ACR/AF recommend the following options:

  • exercise and stretching

  • weight management