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Shoulder Stem Cell Therapy

Learn how cellular therapy can provide treatment for conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis and bursitis.

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What are some common shoulder conditions?

Discover if you’re a candidate for therapy by reading about the conditions it can treat.

Arthritis pains? Read our eBook on options for your arthritis now!Some of the most common shoulder injuries can be memorized with the acronym T. A. B.:

  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis

We also must add in the infamous rotator cuff tears, which are most commonly the result of chronic tendonitis and bursitis.

The cause of these aforementioned conditions is multifactorial. Some researchers and clinicians claim that many shoulder conditions are due to sports, bodily trauma, or even occupation. A handful of studies evaluating specific occupations such as fishing and sports such as baseball have shown a higher risk for the development of certain disorders of the shoulders such as tendonitis1.

However, other researchers and leading orthopedic surgeons might argue that many shoulder conditions are the result of continual loss of stem cells in and around some of the major bones of the shoulder.

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What is the effect of stem cell loss & shoulder disorders?

Testing has shown this treatment has proven and lasting results.

As we age, stem cells tend to migrate from the tips of our toes and fingers to the central areas of our bodies. Common areas include the breast bone and pelvis.

One famous researcher measured the number of stem cells in each area of our bodies as we age and discovered that by the time we are about 50 years old, most of the stem cells in our upper extremities have moved to our sternum. In fact, the area of the shoulder where many patients suffer a rotator cuff tear was found to have a significant decrease in stem cells between 30-70%2! This research team found that all the patients who had rotator cuff ruptures also had a decrease in stem cells at the area of the injury; thus, a relationship existed between the severity of the tear and degeneration to the number of stem cells.

This same research team also found that replacing the stem cells in this area of the shoulder utilizing a similar method at Cellular Healing resulted in 100% of the repairs augmented with stem cells to heal completely, while only 67% of the repairs without the stem cell therapy. These benefits lasted for an extremely long time.

When researchers followed patients for over 10 years and repeated both MRI and ultrasound tests to these repairs, 87% of the stem cell repairs were still intact, but only 44% of the non-stem cell repairs were intact3.

So, we can conclude that rotator cuff injuries seem to be related to a decrease in the number of stem cells, and replacement of these cells seem to help with the repair process and the prevention of future tears.

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Can cell therapy help with other shoulder conditions?

Evidence that this therapy is reliable and a worthy investment.

New call-to-actionShoulder conditions such as tendonitis and partial rotator cuff tears can also respond to cell-based therapies. One study compared Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to commonly used corticosteroid injections (also known as steroid or cortisone injections) on partially torn rotator cuffs. They found that PRP was superior in its ability to relieve pain and restore function at 12 weeks after the injection. However, there were no differences at 6 months4.

Another uncontrolled study evaluating tendonitis of the biceps found that a single injection of PRP in a small group of 12 patients followed for an average just under four years showed good relief of pain and return of function and strength5. In conclusion, PRP can also help some common shoulder conditions even without surgery.

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Is there pain associated with cell therapy for shoulder conditions?

What to expect in terms of pain both during and after treatment.

Pain associated with cellular therapy is something we take very seriously. To the best of our abilities, we work to reduce the discomfort of this procedure as much as possible and offer many different modalities and options.

Personally, I (Dr. Loniewski) have had this procedure done twice, and can personally testify to the safety, comfort and efficacy of this treatment.

Every patient has different pain thresholds and different concerns about medical procedures. For this reason, the staff at Cellular Therapy offers patients a variety of options to experience this procedure. The majority of patients choose to have therapy done in our office while under oral sedatives, narcotics, and a local anesthetic. Many patients have found this multimodal method of pain reduction to be very acceptable; however, if you would prefer to be unconscious for this procedure, this can be done under the care of a board-certified anesthesiologist at a local surgical center for a very reasonable extra cost.

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How much does cell therapy for shoulders cost?

Understand ahead of time how much this procedure costs.

Although there is substantial evidence that Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma are safe and effective, there is not a Medicare procedure code for this treatment. Because of this, no standard insurance carrier covers this procedure. Other surgeries used to treat the shoulder such as arthroscopy are covered benefits due to having a standard accepted procedure code. However, cell based therapies are not covered and do not have an accepted procedure code to bill the insurance company.

If you have a health sharing plan such as Medi-share™, stem cell therapy may be covered as the cost of this procedure is much lower than a joint replacement. Most health sharing plans are affiliated with a religious organization and you must choose this rather than Affordable Care Act (ACA) sanctioned plan. Additionally, if you have a health spending account, the expenses associated with this procedure may be offset by these accounts.

At Cellular Healing, we are constantly looking for methods to reduce the cost of procedures while improving the outcomes of treatment. Overall, our costs have been reduced substantially over the past few years! We also realize that not all patients are the same, and some may be able to benefit from lower cost harvesting and processing devices. Furthermore, some patients are requesting comprehensive treatment packages including exercise, nutrition, and adjunctive health promoting therapies.

Because of this, we offer a wide variety of options to fit every patient’s arthritic condition and desires for additional, adjunctive proven therapies. The staff at Cellular Healing can review these options with you one-on-one to find the best fit based on your condition and desires.

Our bone marrow stem cell therapies start at $2,950. Customized Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections tailored to your condition start at $500. Potential patients have a wide variety of options to help them return to a life with reduced pain and increased activity.

If you would like to learn more about these procedures, please click on our FREE CONSULTATION or maybe just  call (810) 299-8552 to discuss your concerns.

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Is cell therapy for shoulders convenient?

Get a better understanding of the procedure and what to expect during treatment.

The majority of our procedures at Cellular Healing take just a few hours; Platelet Rich Plasma normally takes under one hour.

For Stem Cell therapies, most of our patients participate in some pre-procedure conditioning which may start as little as 48 hours prior to the start of the procedure. These procedures and exercises are all designed to optimize the number of stem cells within your bone marrow and to help reduce migration of the cells away from your area of treatment. This will substantially increase the number of stem cells within your bone for harvesting.

Following stem cell procedures, patients will need someone to drive them home, although this is not required for patients undergoing PRP procedures. Cellular Healing provides patients with oral sedatives, pain relievers, and a special combination local anesthetic.

Patients are asked to bring comfortable clothes so doctors can easily reach the area of the body where stem cells will be collected. Once patients are sleepy and comfortable, the staff places them in a comfortable position and applies a specially combined local anesthetic to provide short and long term pain relief at area of harvest.

Following sterile preparation of this area, a specially designed bone marrow needle is used to remove the bone marrow in a very methodical manner. The result is the highest quality bone marrow aspirate available with very high counts of active stem cells.

The cells are than prepared for use and injected after the area is anesthetized with a local anesthetic. In some cases, a ultrasound device is used to ensure proper placement; however, other times, the area is very easily entered without any need for an ultrasound. Patients are asked to relax and rest for a few minutes after the injection, and can immediately get up and leave.

If patients have taken a sedative, they will be required to bring along a driver to ensure they are taken home safely. However, with simple platelet rich plasma injections, patients can drive themselves home.

The entire procedure takes under two hours for stem cell procedures and under an hour for platelet rich plasma injections. Once released, patients can resume most of their normal activities within the next 24 - 48 hours.

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Footnotes

Read the cited studies and texts that helped inform our knowledge on the effectiveness of this treatment.

1 van Rijn RM, Huisstede BM, Koes BW, Burdorf A. Associations between work-related factors and specific disorders of the shoulder--a systematic review of the literature. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2010 May;36(3):189-201. Epub 2010 Jan 22. Review. PubMed [citation] PMID: 20094690

2 Hernigou P, Merouse G, Duffiet P, Chevalier N, Rouard H. Reduced levels of mesenchymal stem cells at the tendon-bone interface tuberosity in patients with symptomatic rotator cuff tear. Int Orthop. 2015 Jun;39(6):1219-25. doi: 10.1007/s00264-015-2724-8. Epub 2015 Mar 12. PubMed [citation] PMID: 25757411

3 Hernigou P, Flouzat Lachaniette CH, Delambre J, Zilber S, Duffiet P, Chevallier N, Rouard H. Biologic augmentation of rotator cuff repair with mesenchymal stem cells during arthroscopy improves healing and prevents further tears: a case-controlled study. Int Orthop. 2014 Sep;38(9):1811-8. doi: 10.1007/s00264-014-2391-1. Epub 2014 Jun 7. PubMed [citation] PMID: 24913770

4 Shams A1, El-Sayed M2, Gamal O1, Ewes W3. Subacromial injection of autologous platelet-rich plasma versus corticosteroid for the treatment of symptomatic partial rotator cuff tears. Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 2016 Dec;26(8):837-842. Epub 2016 Aug 20.

5 Sanli I1, Morgan B2, van Tilborg F3, Funk L2, Gosens T4. Single injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for the treatment of refractory distal biceps tendonitis: long-term results of a prospective multicenter cohort study. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016 Jul;24(7):2308-12. doi: 10.1007/s00167-014-3465-8. Epub 2014 Dec 11.

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