Stem Cell Therapy for Health and Wellness

Contact us for a Consultation with Crispino Santos, MD

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are the basis of the specific cell types that compose each organ in the body. As naturally occurring cells throughout the body, stem cells not only renew themselves and differentiate (i.e. turn into other cells) but also help create new cells in existing healthy tissue. Essentially, they are the body’s repair mechanism; able 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.

Stem cells live inside all of us, housed in various body tissues. Upon tissue injury or damage, they are released and activated to repair damage as it occurs. Stem cells are used for healing injuries and to achieve better outcome with aesthetic procedures.

How Do Stem Cells Differ from Other Cells?

Stem cells differ from other cells in several ways. They have the ability to self-renew and they are able to divide for a long period of time. Additionally, under appropriate conditions, stem cells can differentiate into other specialized cells including heart cells, liver cells, bone cells, cartilage cells, nerve cells, and more. The differentiation of stem cells into other cells is called multipotency; controlling stem cell differentiation has become the basis for many of the new treatments of serious disease, injury, pain management and regenerative medicine.

Where Do Adult Stem Cells Originate?

Adult stem cells live within the body and Regenerative Cell Institute harvests them in a variety of ways! By definition, stem cells are undifferentiated cells found among differentiated cells within the body. Their primary role is to maintain and repair the injured tissue or regenerate degenerated tissues.

Adult stem cells are found in the highest concentration in adipose (fat) tissue and in bone marrow. Beyond what is used for harvesting, stem cells are also found in blood, skin, muscles, and organs.

Adipose tissue provides the largest volume of adult stem cells (1,000 to 2,000 times the number of cells per volume found in bone marrow) and contains numerous other regenerative cells that are critical to the healing process. Stem cells derived from adipose fat tissue have been shown to be a much better source for the repair of cartilage degeneration, as they have demonstrated superior ability to differentiate into cartilage.

Amniotic fluid contains a mixture of regenerative cells and growth factors obtained from the amniotic fluid as well as the amniotic membrane. They can develop into various tissue types including skin, cartilage, cardiac tissue, nerves, muscle, and bone.

Umbilical cord blood is obtained from a licensed certified tissue bank. Every processed product is carefully analyzed in a federally registered tissue bank.

How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?

Adult stem cells are the basis of all the regenerative and restorative medical treatments offered at Regenerative Cell Institute. High density activated platelet rich plasma and stem cells are rich in growth factors essential for healing. These growth factors, in turn, have the regenerative capacity necessary to regulate and facilitate the natural healing process of injured tissues.

Regenerative cells are obtained from patient’s own blood, fat, or bone marrow. Dr. Santos uses a variety of extraction techniques based on each patient’s medical condition and needs. This outpatient procedure is completed in our office and the extraction and stem cell processing is done the same day as the regenerative medical procedure.

Once extracted, the patient’s blood is processed in Regenerative Cell Institute’s proprietary protocol to obtain high density activated platelets that are primed to heal. Bone marrow extractions are completed under local anesthesia while fat stem cell extractions and fat transfer procedures require mini liposuction. Though some extraction procedures require local anesthetic, most have minimal discomfort.

Once the regenerative cells are obtained, processed through the centrifuge, and primed via our proprietary processing protocol, they are ready for injection. Injections are performed using advanced imaging guidance (ultrasound and/or fluoroscopy) to ensure safety, accuracy, and optimal results. The regenerative cells are injected directly into the damaged tissues or injured joints. Typically, the entire procedure lasts 1-3 hours, depending on the complexity of harvesting the stem cells, and almost all procedures are completed in a single office visit.

Is Stem Cell Therapy Safe?

Yes! While any medical procedure has inherent risks, stem cell therapy serves as a safe alternative to traditional surgery, steroid injections, and aesthetic procedures.

By using adult stem cells from a patient’s own adipose (fat) tissue and bone marrow, or from a tested, trusted donor source, the body accepts the new tissue as its own, thereby eliminating the risk of rejection. There is also little or no risk of contracting a transmittable infectious disease as stem cells are either harvested from the patient’s own body or from rigorously tested donor sources.

With regard to traditional surgery, the risks associated with joint replacement, hip replacement, spinal fusions, and joint surgery are also avoided as stem cell therapy does not carry an increased risk of heart attack in the first month post-op, as these procedures do. There is also no need for general anesthesia so those risks are also eliminated.

While there is a minimal risk of infection when liposuction is used for fat collection and at the injection site for both bone marrow donation and reinjection, these risks are minimized by giving prophylactic antibiotics.

What to Expect

Since most procedures are completed in a single office visit and involve minimal discomfort, patients are generally able to resume normal activity and/or return to work the following day. For pain management, orthopedic, and joint pain treatments, patients may experience minimal pain or discomfort as the stem cells work to regenerate; pain relief usually occurs within a few weeks and continues to improve over months. Occasionally, joint and spinal pain management patients may require 2 injections, 2 – 3 months apart.

What are the Commonly Treated Conditions?

Commonly treated conditions include:

  • Arthritic Joints
  • Sports Injuries
  • Neck and Back Pain
  • Tendonitis
  • Ligament and Meniscal Tears
  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Injuries
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Non-healing Fractures
  • Joint Instability
  • Degenerative Spinal Discs
  • Herniated Discs
  • Plantar Fasciitis

Other Applications Include:

  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Sexual Wellness
  • Facial Rejuvenation
  • Hand Rejuvenation
  • Aesthetic Procedures

Am I a Candidate for Stem Cell Therapy?

Dr. Santos personally evaluates each patient at the Regenerative Cell Institutes of Las Vegas and Mason City. During a one-on-one consultation, he evaluates each candidate’s condition and body composition to determine whether stem cell therapy is the proper course of care. At this initial appointment, candidates undergo a physical examination and Dr. Santos reviews any appropriate imaging (x-ray and/or MRI). Upon his review, he then designs a personalized treatment plan to achieve optimal results.

Regenerative Cell Institute offers consultations at both of our locations so please contact us to schedule your appointment!

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