Can Adipose Stem Cell Therapy Effectively Relieve Knee Pain

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Can Adipose Stem Cell Therapy Effectively Relieve Knee Pain

By Farhan Malik, MD
Atlanta Innovative Medicine 

Stem Cell Therapy by Atlanta Innovative Medicine

According to the CDC, up to 20% of adults experience knee pain. In many cases, that pain is chronic. This means that it persists for over twelve weeks despite medication and medical treatment. 

Chronic knee pain is strongly associated with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can develop from previous injuries, obesity, age, or repetitive stress. 

While osteoarthritis is common, treatments are limited, mainly focusing on weight loss, self-care, and prescription medication. At Atlanta Innovative Medicine in Atlanta, GA, we provide our patients with all options available to treat chronic knee pain, including groundbreaking treatments like adipose stem cell therapy. 

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are the first cells the body creates. They’re considered to be the body’s building blocks, as they can develop into any specialized cell in the body, such as bone or brain cells. 

When normal cells divide, they create two daughter cells identical to the original. When stem cells divide, they can make two daughter cells, or they can differentiate into specialized cells. No other cells have this capability. 

Some specialized cells cannot repair themselves. For instance, heart and nerve cells do not undergo mitosis to create new cells. Stem cells are critical in replacing and repairing damaged tissue in these areas.

How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?

Scientists discovered that they could extract stem cells from a patient, guide them into differentiating into the cells needed to treat disease or injury, and then reintroduce those cells into the treatment area. 

It’s even possible to extract stem cells from the body and insert undifferentiated stem cells into the area where damaged tissue exists. Then the stem cells differentiate into the needed cells on their own. 

The unique properties of stem cells offer the potential to repair and restore damaged existing cells and replace and regenerate dead or missing cells. These capabilities make them instrumental in treating injuries, diseases, and chronic conditions.

What Are Adipose Stem Cells?

Adipose stem cells (ASCs) are adult stem cells found in the body’s fat tissue. Studies examining the benefits of ASCs show they have the potential to treat the following conditions:

  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Vascular diseases
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Wound defects
  • Bone and cartilage degeneration

Patients experiencing chronic knee pain due to the deterioration of cartilage may finally find relief through adipose stem cell therapy

Osteoarthritis and Knee Pain

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which affects over 32.5 million American adults. Osteoarthritis is known as wear and tear disease, as it develops from a breakdown of cartilage between the bones of the joint and is most common in weight-bearing joints, such as the knees and hips.

When the joint’s cartilage breaks down, the bones begin to rub together and change, creating painful bone spurs that develop to protect the joints. 

Until recently, treatment options for osteoarthritis in the knee were limited. Patients could take oral medications to manage pain. They would be told to stay active and maintain a healthy weight to limit pressure on the joint, or they might undergo steroid or hyaluronic acid injections to relieve pain and promote lubrication.

When the above options failed to offer relief, patients could choose knee replacement surgery to restore function.

Adipose Stem Cell Therapy and the Infrapatellar Fat Pad

In 2020, researchers discovered a connection between osteoarthritis and the infrapatellar fat pad, one of three areas of fatty soft tissue in the knee. The infrapatellar fat pad lies underneath the patella, or kneecap, at the front of the knee. 

The infrapatellar fat pad primarily protects the kneecap from the shin and thigh bones. In addition, it has many stem cells that produce anti-inflammatory effects as knee osteoarthritis develops. 

The infrapatellar fat pad functionally protects the knee from damage, while its stem cells and their exosomes, or sacs containing proteins, DNA, and RNA, help preserve cartilage.

Patients with osteoarthritis often have an unhealthy infrapatellar fat pad, which may be depleted or inflamed. Adipose stem cell therapy introduces healthy stem cells into the infrapatellar fat pad and may offer patients relief from their osteoarthritis symptoms, along with regenerative benefits.

Rebuilding Tissue with Adipose Stem Cells

Osteoarthritis treatment has the potential to be transformed completely through stem cells. 

Adipose stem cell treatments for knee osteoarthritis are currently most effective in the early stages of the degenerative condition. ASCs can improve pain and function through growth factors and anti-inflammatory proteins, which reduce the swelling, heat, and pain caused by chronic overuse. 

A 2011 study exploring the use of adipose stem cells to treat human osteoarthritis patients with a mix of ASCs, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and hyaluronic acid successfully regenerated cartilage. While the 2011 study began with only two osteoarthritis patients, several subsequent studies replicated the results.

In 2016, a similar study looking to achieve the same results in patients with osteoarthritis in their knees found cartilage-like tissue regeneration in all of the patients in the trial.

Scientists are still performing trials to determine the precise amount of stem cells needed to reap the greatest rewards. Currently, studies where PRP injections accompany the adipose stem cell treatment provide the most impressive results. PRP injections enhance the stem cell growth in the joint.

Discover Adipose Stem Cell Therapy at AIM

Atlanta Innovative Medicine is an award-winning orthopedic sports medicine pain management clinic in Atlanta, GA, that offers our patients the latest treatments to alleviate their discomfort and allow them to resume the activities they love. 

Committed to treating the underlying cause of your pain instead of just masking symptoms with medications, we provide services that include stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma treatment, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and more through our unique, integrative approach. 

Patients seeking to restore their health and avoid surgery and the side effects of ongoing medications can discover the restorative support of our multidisciplinary approach. 

If you’re suffering from chronic knee pain due to injury, osteoarthritis, or another debilitating condition, learn what the team at Atlanta Innovative Medicine can do to restore your health and help you regain mobility and function.

Reach out to Atlanta Innovative Medicine here or call now at 770.416.9995 to schedule your free consultation. 

Quizzes

Are you a candidate for Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative medicine can be an effective therapy and treatment option for lasting pain relief for a variety of conditions like osteoarthritis of the knee, hip or shoulder; ACL or meniscus tears; tennis or golfer’s elbow; chronic neck and back pain; and more.

Is it right for you and your condition? Take 1 minute to answer a few “yes or no” questions that help to assess if you might be a candidate for PRP, stem cell or other nonsurgical regenerative treatments.

Are You a Stem Cell Candidate for Your Joint or Spine Damage?

Are you a candidate for Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

Do I have nonsurgical options for my injured or aging joints?

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