Osteoarthritis Pain Treatment – Using your own Stem Cells?

hip resurfacing procedureIt is reality now! Physicians at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine are among a select group of physicians around the country to offer a unique procedure using stem cell injections to relieve osteoarthritis (OA) pain. During the procedure, the physician extracts stem cell blood from the bone marrow in a patient’s hip and then injects the stem cells directly into the patient’s damaged joint. The stem cells are from the patient’s own body so the risk of rejection is very low.

Hear first hand from Dr. Mautner and one of our patients how this new treatment option is helping relieve pain from Osteoarthritis:

About Ken Mautner, MD

Ken Mautner, MD is an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Mautner started practicing at Emory in 2004 after completing a fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. He is board certified in PM&R with a subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine. Dr. Mautner currently serves as head team physician for Agnes Scott College and St. Pius High School and a team physician for Emory University Athletics. He is also a consulting physician for Georgia Tech Athletics, Neuro Tour, and several local high schools. He has focused his clinical interest on sports concussions, where he is regarded as a local and regional expert in the field. In 2005, he became one of the first doctors in Georgia to use office based neuropsychological testing to help determine return to play recommendations for athletes. He also is an expert in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal ultrasound and teaches both regional and national courses on how to perform office based ultrasound. He regularly performs Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for patients with chronic tendinopathy. Dr. Mautner also specializes in the care of athletes with spine problems as well as hip and groin injuries.

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  • Tracy M.

    I am trying to find out why you use bone marrow to harvest stem cells, when other facilities are saying that adipose tissue provides more abundant levels of stem cells. Also, how much does the procedure cost? Thank you

    • Emory Sport Medicine

      Hi Tracy – There are two places in the body with an abundance of stem cells — your bone marrow and your adipose tissue. Our physicians choose one or the other based on the patient’s age, cost and availability of bone marrow or adipose cells.

      In general though, bone marrow is typically our preferred option for stem cells treatment in orthopedics.
      Also, though adipose tissue has more stem cells than bone marrow, the concern is that they are not as active (they are dormant cells). Our government does not let us extract the stromal vascular factor (SVF) where the stem cells reside which might be more potent than injecting them with some surrounding adipose cells which is the way we do it. Also, the literature to date has many more studies on Bone Marrow derived stem cells in orthopedics vs Adipose stem cells.

      The final cost of this treatment will ultimately be determined by what particular injections are being done. The cost can vary but is estimated at $3,000-$3,500 to inject one joint and $4,000-$5,000 for two joints. Surgical implantation is estimated at $3,000 – $3,500.

      Stem Cell therapy is typically not covered by your insurance company. If you decide you want to explore this treatment option, you will first speak with one of our financial counselors. He or she will work with you to determine if your insurance will pay or if you will need to pay out of pocket for the treatment.

  • Marilyn S.

    I am seriously considering the stem cell procedure for an arthritic thumb but also have arthritis in a knee which is currently less bothersome. If both joints are done, can they be done at the same time or at different appointments? I live out of state so multiple trips are not my choice. Thanks

  • Queena

    Is there a doctor in North Alabama who (you would recommend) that performs the stem cell treatment?

    • Hi Queena, we’re not familiar with anyone in North Alabama who performs the treatment.

  • Richard

    I have a hip issue where replacement is suggested with some space left yet so hopefully the xray I’m sending will allow a positive opinion to try stem cell treatment.

    However I also have bad knees indicated as “bone on bone.” Are stem cells any possibility with them? I fully understand the odds of a positive outcome may be less but I just am not comfortable with the idea of a total knee replacement as I believe my issue is basically articular cartilage and some spurs and a meniscus tear in the right knee but no ligament damage.

    Last question what is the procedure for “surgical implantation” and the positives/negatives vs injection.

    • Hi Richard,

      I’ll try to answer this part-by-part: A) If the x-ray shows some space left then stem cells are worth a shot. B)An MRI would be very helpful in assessing this. I’m happy to look at the MRI. Feel free to call 404-778-7777 for an appointment. C) The goal of surgical implantation is the reversal of the cartilage loss/arthritic process. The injections are for pain control. The surgical implantation is slightly more involved although both have a 6 week recovery. Hope this helps!

  • Sara Lee

    Hello, I would like to find out more about Stem Cell Theropy. My hips are giving me a lot of trouble lately especially the right one. I’ve read some of the information here telling me about it but need to know more. I have not had xrays on my hips in several years. Do I need to go to my hospital to get xrays of both my hips to let you see?
    Thanks for any help you can give me.
    Sara Lee

    • Emory Healthcare

      Sara, thank you for your comment. Please email our team at orthostemcells@emoryhealthcare.org. We will be able to help direct you on the next steps you should take to determine if you are a candidate for stem cell treatment.

      • Sara Lee

        Thank you for this inf. I’ll go see what I need to know.

        • Emory Healthcare

          You’re welcome.