For Information and Appointments Call: 703-337-3305
An Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure.

An Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, an estimated 54 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, with the most common form being osteoarthritis, which affects an estimated 31 million Americans.

Many arthritis sufferers are genetically predisposed to getting the disease. But for those without a family history of arthritis, several factors can increase their risk of developing the condition, including age and obesity. However, one often overlooked contributing factor to arthritis is the impact of injury to the joints. Many orthopedists refer to this as post-traumatic arthritis due to an arthritis causing event (ACE).

Nearly 5.5 million Americans develop arthritis as a result of an injury to a joint. It is easy to see why many former football players have arthritic knees, given the frequency and severity of knee injuries sustained during their careers. But anyone—from the high school soccer player to the warehouse worker who engages in repetitive lifting—can injure their joints and increase their risk of developing arthritis later in life. This is especially concerning since the number of young athletes requiring ligament repair surgery continues to grow. Studies show that those who have surgery to treat a joint injury are at greater risk for developing arthritis by the age of 30.

Joint Anatomy 101: An Interconnected System

Arthritis develops when the cushioning cartilage between the bones in our joints wears down. Chronic pain, stiffness and swelling are the most common symptoms. But our joints are more than bones and cartilage. They also include muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.

An arthritis-causing event (ACE) can include an injury to the cartilage, to the cushioning structures (such as the meniscus or the labrum) or to the ligaments (ACL or MCL). Ligament injuries cause the joint to be unstable and can lead to cartilage loss and bone spurs. But damage to the ligaments and the risk for developing arthritis later can be easily fixed—if identified correctly and early.

If you have a joint that “cracks” and “pops” don’t ignore it—even if you’ve been told your ligament is not torn or in need of surgical repair. At Stem Cell Arts we will perform a stress ultrasound, where we manipulate and stress the joint while looking at the ligaments to see how loose they are.

If the stress ultrasound reveals ligament laxity, we can provide you with a targeted injection of platelet rich plasma (PRP) that will usually help the ligament heal and tighten to provide better stability to the joint. Our Stem Cell ARTS physicians and staff have been specially trained to perform the Regenexx® family of PRP and stem cell procedures. Using state-of-the-art equipment, we can create the highest quality customized platelet concentrates to aid in healing.

If you, or someone you know, has suffered a joint injury but has reoccurring symptoms such as cracking or popping, please contact us. We can assess the extent of any lingering injuries to the joints and using our advanced platelet rich plasma therapies, help prevent further degeneration.

Too much of a good thing?

Too much of a good thing?

Advances in technology have enabled us to see things on MRIs today that we would never have been able to see even 10 years ago.

For cancer patients, that can mean the opportunity to seek treatment earlier with better outcomes. But in the field of orthopedics, in some cases, better imaging might be considered too much of a good thing.

This may be especially true for those for whom an MRI reveals a tear in their hip labrum. The labrum forms a lip around the socket part of the ball-and-socket hip joint and helps stabilize the structure. Similar to the meniscus in the knee, it can tear—often as the result of wear and tear as we age.

Yet it is important to note that labrum tears do not necessarily cause hip pain. Some patients with tears do not report any pain. And although numerous studies have demonstrated this, many patients whose MRIs reveal a tear are told they need surgery.

Even those patients who do report hip pain might be surprised to learn that a labral tear is not the cause of their pain anyway.

Other Causes of Hip Pain

The musculoskeletal system is a complex network of interconnected parts. In the hip region, this includes the sacroiliac (SI) joint, hip girdle muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. When there is instability in the three sacroiliac joints at the back of the hip (where the hip meets the sacrum or tailbone), patients may report hip pain or the sense that their legs are wobbly or loose.

The hip joint requires strong ligaments to help distribute forces from the leg to the spine. If these ligaments are damaged, their strength is compromised. In addition, all of the body’s lower extremities are supplied by nerves that branch off of the spinal column in the lower back. Issues such as a herniated or bulging disc, arthritis, degenerated disc or spinal stenosis could affect those nerves and cause pain from the hips down.

So before you are talked into surgery to repair a torn hip labrum, contact us. If you are experiencing pain, we will do a thorough exam and determine if the source of the pain is the tear itself or other issues. In many cases, we will recommend platelet rich plasma injections from Regenexx®, which use a concentration of your own blood products to jump-start and significantly strengthen the body’s natural healing processes in the injured tissue(s) that may be the actual source of your pain.


Fat Chance

Fat Chance

Fat chance—that’s what you are taking if you seek stem cell therapy from some of the so-called doctors and clinics that are offering fat grafts and marketing them as a stem cell procedure.

That’s because there is a huge difference between a genuine fat stem cell treatment and a fat graft. A fat graft is merely fat that was harvested during liposuction and then centrifuged into separate layers. Once the fat is taken from this mix, it’s called a fat graft. Although this fat graft has stem cells, they are trapped inside collagen and die before they can contribute to healing.

At Stem Cell Arts, we employ the Regenexx® family of stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures. Regenexx® Stem Cell therapy is the world’s most advanced and uses the highest concentration of healing adult stem cells from your own body to address the chronic pain and inflammation from conditions such as arthritis, herniated back discs, tendon tears, or joint injuries.

We harvest adult stem cells from your own bone marrow as well as from body fat that contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that contain high levels of restorative properties. Unlike fat grafts, Regenexx® Stem Cell procedures free the fat cells from collagen and concentrate these cells at the highest level possible. We then re-inject them into your injured area to boost your body’s ability to heal itself naturally.

If you are in pain and have considered stem cell therapy, you should know that our orthopedic specialists have more stem cell orthopedics experience than any other clinic in the country. Stem Cell Arts physicians are recognized leaders in orthopedic stem cell therapy research presentations, publications and academic achievements. This is what we do—and the only thing we do. Don’t take a chance—a fat chance—on your treatment. Contact us today.

Ageless Wonders

Ageless Wonders

There is no denying that we live in an age-obsessed society. Americans spend an estimated $84 billion annually on products designed to make us look better—and younger.

But when it comes to stem cells, younger does not equal better.

You’ve probably read some of our other blog posts about the phony “stem cell clinics” that are popping up all around the country, promising miraculous results and peddling scores of misinformation in the process.

One of their favorite sales pitches is the false claim that dead amniotic or cord tissue are live stem cells and that young stem cells are needed for older patients.

Simply put, this is a bunch of baloney.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Regenexx®, whose stem cell therapies we use at Stem Cell Arts, has collected extensive stem cell data through its own patient registry for many years. Based on that data, which currently includes about 10,000 patients, there is no correlation between the age of a patient’s own stem cells and the outcome of their treatment. For example, in knee stem cell treatments, Regenexx®found no correlation between age and outcome when comparing age groups (i.e., ≤50 years, 51–60 years, and >60 years).

This empirical evidence reveals that older patients do just as well as younger patients with a precise injection of their own stem cells. StemCell Arts physicians are trained and licensed to perform Regenexx® Stem Cell therapy, which is the world’s most advanced and uses adultstem cells from your own body—not amniotic or cord tissue cells. Many people are unaware that adult stem cells can be harvested without raising ethical or moral concerns. These cells can come from the body’s bone marrow as well as from body fat that contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that contain high levels of restorative properties.

The Regenexx® Stem Cell procedure extracts your own stem cells, concentrates these cells at the highest level possible and reinjects them into the injured area to boost your body’s ability to naturally promote healing. The result is relief from chronic pain and inflammation from conditions such as arthritis, herniated back discs, tendon tears or joint injuries. The entire treatment is conducted in our sterile, state-of-the-art office procedure suites and takes only a few hours.

When it comes to stem cell therapy, don’t assume younger is better. Believe and trust in your own body’s ability to heal itself. Contact us today and let us explain how an injection of your own healing factors can relieve your pain without surgery.



The Current State of Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy

The Current State of Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy

When Regenexx first started using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to treat orthopedic problems in 2005, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) were king. However, a funny thing happened in 2010, when the number of research papers published on MSCs equaled the number published on ESCs. Since then, things have gotten much worse for embryonic stem cell research, and mesenchymal stem cell research is now clearly dominating the mesenchymal stem cell vs embryonic stem cell battle.

What Is an Embryonic Stem Cell?

Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are the cells that make a baby. They’re pluripotent, meaning that they have the ability to turn into all three cell types, which are ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. Basically, they are stem cells that can turn into most cells of the human body.

What Is a Mesenchymal Stem Cell?

A mesenchymal stem cell is different. It’s a stem cell that’s found in adults (or really any individual past the age of embryo). It’s multipotent and can differentiate into a number of cell types that are of the mesodermal lineage. These include osteoblasts (bone cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells), myocytes (muscle cells), and adipocytes (fat cells). At StemCell ARTS we strictly only use the osteoblast which we obtain in the back pelvic area.

Mesenchymal Stem Cell vs Embryonic Stem Cell: Why MSC Research Surpassing ESC Research Is a Big Deal

The public was introduced to the concept of stem cells following a ban on embryonic stem cell research. This forced ESC researchers to take their case to the public. Scientists told the public that stem cells could be a possible cure for many incurable ailments. Unfortunately, along with the ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cells, it turned out that they also have a nasty little issue of causing teratomas (weird tumors). At the same time, many scientists began to recognize that stem cells could be found right in our own bodies in the form of mesenchymal stem cells. Hence, the race was on to see which stem cell type would become dominant. Mesenchymal stem cells are just more useful. They can be obtained from the patient without any ethical concerns and generally can do most of what ESCs can accomplish.

The upshot? Embryonic stem cell research is slowly dying off and being replaced by mesenchymal stem cell research. While this mesenchymal stem cell vs embryonic stem cell research reversal may have started because of the Bush administration ban, it’s accelerated since then because mesenchymal stem cells are just more practical as a therapy.

Every wonder why stem cells live in your bone marrow?

Every wonder why stem cells live in your bone marrow?

You have many stem cell types in your body, and StemCell ARTs would like to educate you about the one that lives in your bone marrow and why it lives there and not somewhere else. We’ll do that through a discussion of fish and frogs. Meet the HSC.

What Are Hematopoietic Stem Cells?

You might not realize that our bones aren’t simply a scaffolding that serves as the body’s supporting framework, they are also one of the human body’s blood cell-producing machines. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the cells from which all blood cells (e.g., erythrocytes, lymphocytes, megakaryocytes, neutrophils, macrophages, etc.) are formed. Our circulating blood cells live hard and die fast, which means they must continuously be replaced. This assembly line of blood cell production occurs in humans in the bone marrow inside our bones, with those hematopoietic stem cells producing in excess of hundreds of billions of new blood cells daily, a process known as hematopoiesis (hemato- meaning “blood” and -poiesis meaning “producing” or “forming”).

Today, we’re going to focus on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), but it’s also important to differentiate these from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are also primarily found in the bone marrow. MSCs, however, produce cells that form musculoskeletal tissue, such as bone (osteocytes), muscle (myocytes), and cartilage (chondrocytes) cells. However, HSCs can help repair muscle as they can replace muscle stem cells in time of need.

Interestingly, locations for HSC sources in non-mammals vary, often occurring in organs, such as the kidneys. Let’s explore.

HSC Location Attributed to Ultraviolet Light Protection

Researchers in the new study, using humans as the mammal observation and zebrafish as the non-mammal observation, investigated the zebrafish to determine why HSCs are sourced in the kidneys. The answer was found in melanocytes. In humans, melanocytes are cells that produce a pigment called melanin, which determines the color of our skin, hair, eyes, and so on. In other species, such as fish, snakes, and birds, melanocytes also exist and provide the coloring for scales, feathers, and so on. Researchers determined that a specific pattern of the melanocytes on the zebrafish actually shaded the kidneys, protecting them from ultraviolet light.

Researchers also tested the effect of UV light specifically on the HSCs in the kidneys of the fish (literally by turning the fish upside down in one test and exposing the unshaded underside of the kidney to UV light) and determined that the UV light damages the DNA of the cells. Therefore, the specific coloring design, the “melanocyte umbrella,” over the kidneys of the zebrafish protects the HSCs from damage, making the kidneys an ideal location in this species for HSCs.

Another fascinating facet to the study—researchers also studied the effect of UV light in terrestrial frogs. As tadpoles, HSCs were sourced in the kidneys, which also had the same melanocyte protection described in the zebrafish above. However, as the tadpoles grew legs and transitioned to land-dwelling frogs, the HSCs also transitioned from the kidneys to the bone marrow. This, again, was attributed to the HSC protection that would be necessary from UV light.

The study pointed out that in mammals, an organ, such as the kidney, would not be capable of insulating the HSCs from UV light; however, the bone marrow, well protected by the dense bones, provides the perfect light-free environment for HSCs to thrive and maintain their stringent blood cell-producing schedule.

Problems That Can Occur with Hematopoietic Stem Cells

UV light exposure or not, our HSCs can still become permanently damaged, either due to genetics (inherited mutations) or due to environmental factors (somatic mutations), such as smoking or chemical exposure. These mutations can be passed to replicate cells and can even lead to cancer and other diseases, though our immune cells do a pretty good job of destroying these bad cells. The risk of these somatic mutations, however, does increase with age, and when they occur in our HSCs, our risk of heart disease, stroke, hematologic cancers, and other diseases increases.

The upshot? Understanding the different stem cell types found in your bone marrow is important. In addition, turns out that there’s a reason that these critical repair cells live deep inside thick bone. They’re there to protect themselves and you from the harmful effects of UV and other types of radiation that may mutate these cells. So hopefully you’ll look at your bones a little differently now, as both structure and the key to a long and active life.

Call StemCell ARTs today to learn more about how stem cell obtained from your bone marrow can benefit you.