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Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative Medicine Therapies

Regenerative medicine is an interdisciplinary field that applies engineering and life science principles to promote regeneration and healing.  This field is nearly two decades old, and amazingly, it appears to offer the potential to restore injured tissues, improve healing and at some future point, repair whole organs.  Whether with stem cell injections (MSC) or immune modulation via molecules or proteins such as PRP, A-2 Macroglobulin, amniotic tissue membrane, exosomes, or other growth factors, the goal is to enhance the intrinsic regenerative capacity of your own body to repair and heal. 

Joints of interest for stem cell injections:  

  • Shoulders
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Elbows
  • Spine
  • Neck
  • Wrists & hands

Regenerative therapies, including stem cell therapies hold great promise for all of us and while some are FDA approved, others are not.  This field is exploding, and while it is impossible to be aware of all ongoing research in this area, as your health and wellness physician, I pledge to the best of my ability to provide you with the information you need to be comfortable that you have been informed as to the risks, potential benefits, and alternatives for such treatment.

Stem Cell Therapy FAQ's

Stem cells are the construction workers of the body’s repair mechanism. The primary role of stem cells is to maintain and initiate the healing of damaged tissue and replenish dying or damaged cells. Stem cells find the damaged tissue and have the potential to initiate its repair or regeneration.

At DV360, we utilize stem cells sourced from the Wharton’s jelly of the umbilical cord from full time births of healthy babies. The umbilical cord is donated during birth.  The baby and mother are healthy and happy without any negative side effects for the infant. Each donor is carefully screened, and comprehensive medical and social histories are obtained to minimize the potential risks of disease transmission.

This regenerative product contains mesenchymal stem cells, which are multipotent stromal cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including osteoblasts or bone cells, chondrocytes or cartilage cells, myocytes or muscle cells, and adipocytes or fat cells that give rise to marrow adipose tissue.  The Mesenchymal stem cells contain cytokines which reduce inflammation and promote healing, growth factors for cell and tissue regeneration, along with hyaluronic acid, which regulates inflammation levels and signals the body to build more blood vessels in the damaged area.

 

  • Low risk.
  • Minimally invasive. Stem cell treatments are minimally invasive, in strong contrast to traditional treatments such as joint replacement. The procedures are out-patient and performed in approximately 30 minutes. Patients generally do not require any post operative pain medication.
  • Avoiding surgery. We use stem cells to help many patients avoid knee surgeries (i.e. knee replacement or arthroscopy), back surgeries (spinal fusion or lumbar disc replacement) or other orthopedic surgeries.
  • Rebuilding your own healthy tissue.
  • Timing. When timing your stem cell procedure, there is no need to consider the demanding recovery typical to surgery.
  • No general anesthesia. Due to the minimally invasive character, only mild oral medications may be necessary.
  • Fast recovery. Stem cell patients can return to work in 1 day and do typically not require bracing or crutches.
  • Significant pain reduction.
  • Increased mobility.

The recovery time is very quick.  If you have taken a medication to help you feel more comfortable during the procedure, we request that you receive a ride to and from the facility.  You can be back at work the following day after your procedure.  You can also start exercising very quickly as well.

The Regenerative process begins within the first 3 months and continues for up to 1 year. Some patients request a follow-up treatment about 4 weeks after the initial injection. This booster injection provides additional growth factors and cells to support the ongoing healing process.

Dr. Robert Bulger will help determine whether or not you are a candidate for stem cell therapy by administering a physical examination and carefully reviewing the appropriate imaging (x-ray and/or MRI), along with taking the additional time to consult with a musculoskeletal specialist on each individual case.

As we age, we may experience a longer healing time, increased inflammation, a changing chemical environment, and cell aging because with aging or injuries, healthy tissues can become dysfunctional. Human stem cells, typically from umbilical cord tissue of full term births, are injected into the tissue to repair, reconstruct, replace, or supplement the same basic functions of the patient’s cells or tissues. The cells neutralize inflammation and accelerate healing. With the potential to regenerate injured cartilage tissue, tendons, bone, muscle, ligaments and vertebral annular disc cartilage. The cells can stimulate your body’s own natural healing processes.

The purpose of stem cell therapy is to generate healthy cells, promoting the repair response of diseased, dysfunctional, or injured tissue.

  • Promising alternative to surgery, promoting your bodies’ natural ability to heal itself.
  • Promote repair in different kinds of cells.
  • Drug-free way to treat pain.
  • Cortisone offers temporary relief and may cause long-term side effects. However, stem cell therapy may actually restore degenerated tissue, resulting in lasting pain relief.

Yes, stem cell therapy is safe. The risks of stem cell therapy are minimal and often misunderstood. 

  • There is a minute risk for infection at the injection site.
  • These cells have a short life-span. They need to survive long enough to biologically seek out the damaged area to make an impact. This cannot be guaranteed and may require repeated treatments which still may fail to improve your condition.
  • Research is ongoing. While a great deal is known about stem cells and byproducts, the precise mechanism by which these cells or their byproducts work is not clearly understood. Outstanding results are reported for some but not others. 
  • These cells can activate your body’s own immune system and may cause an allergic reaction which can be as mild as a rash treated with some cortisone, but rarely can be serious and require hospitalization. Typically these reactions are immediate, but can be a delayed.
  • A yet unknown syndrome or reaction, including death, as a result of stem cell transplantation cannot be ruled out as a possible consequential result of this procedure, and no guarantees of success can or have been made.

A patient’s specific procedure will be decided upon during a one-on-one consultation. Below is a brief general guideline of what to expect.

  1. One on one consultation with Dr. Robert Bulger, ABMS certified in Pain Management.
  2. Review of appropriate imaging studies.
  3. Dr. Bulger will review your imaging study with a musculoskeletal specialist.
  4. If indicated, we will schedule your stem cell injection on a Thursday at the Carrell Clinic in Dallas, Texas.
  5. Dr. Bulger will potentially prescribe a medication to put you at ease during the injection. Due to this potential use of a medication, we request that you receive a ride to and from the Carrell Clinic facility.
  6. Your Stem cell injection will be administered under guided ultrasound with numbing cream applied to the injection site for your comfort.  
  7. After the injection, we will follow up with you monthly to gain your feedback regarding your experience and progress towards healing.
 

Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy are gaining momentum as revolutionizing treatments for conditions including but not limited to degenerative disease, sports’ injuries, arthritis, and everyday wear and tear. There is still more to be learned to harness the amazing potential that these therapies can provide, but there is no denying that patients are already seeing the benefits. 

Here at DV360, we take an honest look at a promising future for stem cell therapy. Dr. Bulger has done his due diligence in researching the science behind regenerative medicine, reviewing what is currently being offered, and how these products are being marketing. We do not make any outlandish claims regarding the benefits, and we do everything we can to help set your body up for the procedure to be successful.

There is evidence that stem cells are much more successful in an optimal environment. To set the stage for an optimal environment within your body, we focus on a healthy dietary program prior to your injection, and we monitor your prescriptions, along with dietary suggestions for the months following the procedure as well. Everything we do is with great thought and gives the patient the best chance for success, promoting the stem cells’ ability to heal. 

Currently, the only FDA approved stem cell injections include:

  1. Stem cells retrieved from bone marrow.
  2. Stem cells retrieved from fat.
 

Unfortunately, the process to retrieve stem cells from a patient’s bone marrow or from fat can be painful, time consuming, and may have an overall low count of mesenchymal cells at the end of the process.  In addition to these downsides, the mesenchymal cells are as old as the age of the patient and may have poor viability.

At this point in time, DV360 does not offer stem cell therapy to treat cancer. Therefore, any stem cell therapy offered by DV360 is considered “off label” and is not currently FDA approved.

Find out if DV360 is a good fit for you. Schedule a complimentary call.