Thank you for attending the live chat on Stem Cell Treatment for Osteoarthritis on Tuesday, Aug. 12. We had a great discussion, so thank you to all who participated and asked questions. We were thrilled with the number of people who were able to register and participate in the chat. Check out the chat transcript for a full list of questions and answers!
The response was so great that we had a several questions we were not able to answer during the chat, so we will answer them below for your reference. The questions have been broken into sections based on topic:
Surgical vs. Non-Surgical Stem Cell Treatment
- How exactly do both stem cell treatments work?
When implanted surgically, they recruit surrounding cartilage cellsand begin differentiation into mature cartilage.
- Can you explain the differences in “stem cell implantation surgery” and “stem cell injections?
Injections alleviate pain and symptoms; whereas, surgical implantation surgery is a way to actually grow cartilage in areas where the cartilage is lacking.
- What determines whether you get the surgical or nonsurgical procedure?
It depends on patient preference, but also on the amount of damage. If the damage is severe, the patient may not be a candidate for surgical implantation. An MRI is useful in determining who is a good candidate.
- Is the surgical procedure preferable to the injection for a knee?
It depends on patient preference, but also on the amount of damage.
- For the surgical solution, are a patient’s own stem cells used?
Yes, we use the patient’s own stem cells.
- How long does it take to notice a difference/improvement in symptoms and pain?
It typically takes about six weeks to notice a difference in pain.
- Do you recommend PT after the procedure?
Yes, I recommend physical therapy, but it should not be very aggressive.
- Will the stem cells migrate to other parts of the body, helping more than just the targeted joint?
No, the stem cells stay in the targeted joint.
- Do you have any statistics on how long a time period patients typically experience pain relief after receiving the injections treatment?
Patients typically experience pain relief for about four to six months.
- Does the osteoarthritis then stop progressing in that area or will it eventually take over again?
In the case of surgical implantation, osteoarthritis is stopped and often reversed.
- After the injection, how long before someone could resume walking 1-2 miles per day if they had been doing so before the treatment?
I would suggest waiting about six weeks.
- Is stem cell therapy an option for people whose osteoarthritis is advanced? If not, what is the alternative?
It depends on the severity and grade of cartilage damage. Alternatives include joint replacement surgery.
- Do you expect the procedure to improve in the future so those of us with late osteoarthritis might avoid surgery?
That is possible now!
- If the knee is bone on bone, would this still be a candidate?
It depends on the amount of cartilage loss, not just the depth of cartilage loss. In other words, if the patient has a subtotal area of cartilage loss, even if its bone on bone, then they would be a candidate. If the whole joint surface is devoid of cartilage, then they are likely not the best surgical candidate.
- In cases where the condition is severe with pronounced bowing of the leg is this procedure recommended? Also will the bowing be corrected?
No, with severe deformity, reconstructive surgery is generally recommended. However, some slight varus (bowing) deformity is acceptable for stem cell treatment.
- How does one begin the process for determining if the procedure is recommended? Do you see patients for assessment or is that done by someone else?
I see them. I would love to see an X-ray and MRI of your affected joint. We can order it or you can order it and send it in for us to evaluate it.
- How do you get evaluated for this procedure?
Call 404-778-6363 to schedule an appointment.
- I am 70, and have had both knees and my right hip replaced. Am I too old to have the procedure done on my left hip?
No, not at all. We would love to see your MRI to see if you’re a candidate.
- Is this something a 60 year old man should be looking into?
Age isn’t as much of a factor as the amount of cartilage loss and deformity. 80 year old patients have benefited from this procedure in the past.
Traveling for Treatment
- For out of town patients, how long should we plan to be in Atlanta for the procedure?
- For patients from overseas can the PRP injection be administered on same day as stem cell injection?
- If we do not live close, can we mail a copy of the MRI i to see if we are a candidate?
Yes! That’s ideal.
About Dr. Oskouei
Shervin V. Oskouei, MD, assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University, is an expert in the treatment of musculoskeletal (extremity) tumors, total hip and total knee replacements and revisions. Dr. Oskouei started practicing at Emory in 2004. Dr. Oskouei is board-certified and fellowship trained in orthopaedic surgery. Combining his experience and interests with the state-of-the-art facilities of Emory University and the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University allows Dr. Oskouei to treat patients with the latest modalities using a multi-disciplinary approach.