Healing With Stem Cell Therapy

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09/26/2013
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Interviewer: We talked about a couple treatments that you employ here. What about stem cell treatments? How do those work?

Dr. Joel Baumgartner: The stem cell is really just the 3rd in a continuum of regenerative type procedures. 

Interviewer: Mm-hmm. 

Dr. Joel Baumgartner: We had the prolotherapy. The next step is the PRP where you draw your blood. Stem cells is basically the most powerful thing we have to get the body to repair. It's very non controversial. In the past while people were always talking about placental stem cells, embryonic stem cells, it's absolutely not what we're talking about here. We're talking about your own cells that you create in your body. 

If a patient came in and had arthritis in their hip, we would take their stem cells out of their pelvis, we'd do a little bone marrow aspiration, we'd take the stem cells out of their bone marrow. We again take it to the lab and separate out the stem cells and the healing cells from the bone marrow, inject those stem cells back into the air of degeneration. The reason the stem cells are so much more powerful say than the platelets is because the stem cell is just basically a naked cell that can turn into anything. 

Interviewer: Okay. 

Dr. Joel Baumgartner: It can turn into hard tissue. It can turn into nerve tissue. It can turn into bone tissue. It can turn into ligament. We take that naked cell, we put it in the environment of the knee and that cell will turn into the environment that we put it into. We do, do some things to the cell itself to try to push it one way or the other, but when we put that thing into the knee it kind of binds to that old cartilage, kind of patches it up and then morphs and turns into that type of cartilage. So, you're taking those kind of naked, young stem cells that have the ability to go and morph into whatever air we put it into.

It's pretty amazing with orthopedics because we can go and kind of resurface joints. We can get tendons to heal in again. We can get meniscuses [SP] to heal in again. It's really great. In other things like cardiology, they're taking those stem cells, putting it into dead cardiac tissue from a heart attack and getting the heart cells to be able to start recreating there as well. So, it really is the wave of the future in a lot of different aspects in medicine. 

Interviewer: Well, do you use stem cell therapies in a lot of the same conditions as PRP or prolotherapy?

Dr. Joel Baumgartner: Yes. Really all is the exact same conditions. 

Interviewer: How do you decide when a patient comes in which  . . . [SP] . . . levels might go to?

Dr. Joel Baumgartner: Which tier to go? You know, a lot of it depends on how severe that arthritis is, how motivated they want to get the body to repair, what's their environments, are they health, are they unhealthy and sometimes we'll do kind of a tiered approach. We'll start with the easiest form of prolotherapy or PRP. If that doesn't quite stimulate them enough we might then jump to the stem cells. 

It's a little bit more invasive because you have to do the bone marrow harvest. So, sometimes it's not the first thing that we'll jump to. If we're able to do it just by doing a blood draw and doing PRP first, but definitely has the most power for healing. 

Interviewer: That bone marrow harvest, talk about that a little bit. How do you get . . . [SP] . . .?

Dr. Joel Baumgartner: Yeah. It's not bad. It always sounds real scary. People are like oh, bone marrow harvest, but really they always rate it. How bad was it? Oh, maybe a two out of ten. It wasn't too bad. What we do is we numb up a little bit of area in the back of the pelvis here. You know, the two big bones? The two little pelvis bones that come around like that. We numb up just a little crest of it and we numb it up actually very well so that they barely even feel the little (?) going down into the bone. What they usually feel is when we kind of extract or suction the bone marrow out they feel kind of a negative vacuum in there. 

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Joel Baumgartner: Then for a couple of days afterward it feels like maybe you know, a softball thrown into your hip or something. Just a little bit achy for a couple days. 

Q; Mm-hmm. 

Dr. Joel Baumgartner: But almost everybody that we do like, oh, that wasn't that bad. That was pretty easy.

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Stem cell treatments have long been controversial, mostly because they started with the use of embryonic stem cells. Now your body's own stem cells can help treat pain and injuries. Here, Dr. Joel Baumgartner discusses some of the conditions that may be treated and the procedure used to treat with stem cells.

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