Stem cell injections may relieve arthritis pain
ATLANTA, Ga. – Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center is offering a cutting edge stem cell treatment for Osteoarthritis (OA). The procedure involves extracting stem cell blood from the bone marrow in a patient's hip, removing the plasma, concentrating the remaining fluid in a centrifuge, and then injecting the concoction directly into the damaged joint. Because the material is a patient's own, there is little chance the body will reject it. Kenneth Mautner, an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at Emory University School of Medicine, is excited by the stem cell therapy. "There are only so many non-surgical options that are available," says Mautner. "In the past we've done cortical steroid injections, which can give shortterm relief for pain, but oftentimes the pain comes back, and it actually can worsen the problem over time." Stem cells have the ability to develop into many different kinds of cells the body uses, such as new cartilage. "We hope that by placing an abundance of those cells directly in the area that's deficient, healthier cells will grow." Osteoarthritis is one of the oldest and most common forms of arthritis, and is characterized by an erosion of the protective cartilage in joints. As cartilage wears down, bones can rub against one another causing pain, stiffness and a loss of mobility. Loadbearing joints such as the knees and hips are often the first to feel the ravages of the disease. While the exact cause of OA is not known, factors such as age, obesity, injury and genetics all play a role in its progression.