Stem cells are a special type of cell found within the human body that have the ability to develop into different types of cells. Since stem cells can develop into many different types of cells, stem cell treatment has become increasingly popular to treat a number of medical issues. One way that stem cells are used is to treat severe arthritis and other types of joint problems. Continue reading to learn more about what you can expect when you elect to try stem cell treatment for arthritis or joint conditions.
In the days and weeks leading up to your stem cell treatment, there are several things that you need to do to get prepared. Doctors highly recommend that patients undergoing stem cell treatment abstain from consuming alcohol or smoking, since alcohol and nicotine can damage stem cells. It is also important to cease using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, since these types of medications can adversely react with the stem cells that are injected into the area that needs treatment.
Day of Procedure
In most cases, stem cells are harvested from a person's hip using a needle. Before the needle is inserted to retrieve the cells, the area will be fully numbed. The process of harvesting the stem cells can be a bit uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. Some doctors prescribe anti-anxiety medication and pain medication in advance of the procedure to make the process more comfortable for the patient.
After the stem cells are harvested and processed, they will be injected into the joint that requires treatment. Processing stem cells does not take a lot of time, so you will receive your stem cell injection on the same day the cells are harvested. In most cases, the process of harvesting the stem cells and then injecting them into the appropriate joint is completed in just a couple of hours.
After undergoing stem cell treatment, you must rest the joint that is being treated. It is in your best interest to take it easy for a few days and avoid walking or partaking in physical activities. Resting the joint helps ensure that there is not excessive inflammation. Most patients are not prescribed pain medication following a stem cell injection — in most cases, using ice and over-the-counter pain medications that are not labeled as anti-inflammatory can help with any discomfort one might experience.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about stem cell treatment.