Arthritis affects millions of individuals throughout the U.S. There are several different forms of the condition, including:
- Osteoarthritis, or the general wear of cartilage at the end of joints
- Rheumatoid arthritis, or the autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the joints
These and other types of arthritis can leave joints swollen, painful, and stiff, and may ultimately make it difficult for individuals to complete everyday tasks. Oftentimes, these populations are ideal candidates for stem cell treatments.
Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis
Stem cells are a form of regenerative medicine with distinct characteristics, including the ability to self-renew and give rise to virtually any cell type. They’ve been studied to show results in terms of repairing and replacing damaged tissue, such as cartilage. With regenerative and anti-inflammatory characteristics, they make for an ideal arthritis treatment option.
While the results of stem cell therapy may vary from patient to patient, common improvements include:
- Reduced joint inflammation
- Increased flexibility
- Reduced pain and swelling
- Greater range of motion
- Increased energy levels
The Cost of Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis
Unfortunately, stem cells are not yet covered by health insurance providers yet since it is still considered an experimental procedure. Costs for treatment can start at $5000 and can increase depending on amount of tissue used, quality of stem cell source, administration specialization needs, and how they are sourced. Although the cost of stem cell therapy for arthritis and other conditions may seem high, it’s important to note that this treatment falls within a highly specialized branch of regenerative medicine.
The nature of stem cell preparation is complex and costly. Acquiring and preparing stem cells safely requires stringent quality control measures. Properly collecting, storing, and preparing cells are complex endeavors. Of course, any reputable clinic should have transparent stem cell processes and welcome questions from both prospective and existing patients.
Other Regenerative Medicine Treatments for Arthritis
In addition to stem cell therapy, there are also other regenerative medicine options for arthritis patients to explore. In particular, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) may be a viable option for individuals who aren’t quite ready to try stem cells. PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood: when the platelets are separated, their healing potential is maximized. They can then be strategically administered to joints to support optimal repair and healing. These treatments generally cost less than stem cell therapy and may start around $500.
Another option of regenerative medicine is to administer with exosomes. These tiny vesicles are assembled within the cells and carry sophisticated RNA, playing an important role in intercellular communication. Exosomes can enhance the benefits of stem cell therapy and deliver biological molecules to targeted areas of the body. While they don’t regenerate or repair tissue on their own, they act as the messengers which tell stem cells where to go. This is a specialized form of stem cell treatment which can be done in conjunction with other options or by itself.
This post was written by Becky Palmer, a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for the joints, also known as stem cell therapy for joints! Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.