They are all over the place. In newspapers, over the radio, all over the internet, you can now see all kinds of offers for free seminars trying to sign you up as a patient for a stem cell procedure. So many of them, it can be quite confusing and intimidating. Who to trust?
The popularity of stem cell procedures, especially for the treatment of orthopedic conditions, has promoted the sudden appearance of multiple new clinics. All claiming to be experts in this area. But, how to choose? Many of these clinics are now using free seminars as a high pressure sales tactic to recruit new patients. If you choose to attend any of those seminars we would like to simplify matters. We would like to help you sort out the serious providers from the pretenders.
So, we offer you 5 basic questions that you need to ask during these seminars.
The answers to these questions should give you the information you need to make a good choice:
1) Who will be performing the procedure?
One of the new wrinkles in the stem cell treatment arena is the emergence of chiropractic clinics offering these medical services. Obviously, chiropractors are not allowed to perform these procedures, so in most cases they hire Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistants with extremely limited training to perform them.
If you are going to invest a significant amount of money in stem cell treatments, and if you are going to trust your health to a stem cell therapy provider, it is in your best interest to make sure that the procedures are performed by a Board Certified Physician with proper training.
At Regenerative Orthopedic Institute ALL of our procedures are performed by a Board Certified Medical Doctor.
Warning Sign: If the brochure or advertisement for the seminar includes little or no information about who will be treating you, you should exercise extreme caution.
2) What kind of Experience do you have in Regenerative Medicine?
Many of the clinics offering these free seminars have been performing regenerative procedures for a few months to a couple of years at best. Obviously, you want a provider that has extensive experience in the area of Regenerative Medicine.
At Regenerative Orthopedic Institute we have been treating orthopedic conditions with stem cells since 2010. Before then, we had been using Regenerative Medicine techniques like Prolotherapy and Platelet rich Plasma (PRP) for several years.
3) What is the Source of the Stem Cells?
Many clinics are advertising “Stem Cell Treatments” when what they are really using is off the shelf amniotic membrane products. These amniotic membrane products do not contain live cells. All cells are destroyed during processing these products. Go here for further discussion on this topic. As off the shelf products for sale they are regulated by the FDA (medical treatments are not). The FDA has those products approved as acellular matrix products, meaning containing NO live cells. Clinics that advertise these products as “stem cell treatments” are deceiving their patients in what amounts to bait-and-switch scams.
Warning Sign: Any clinic advertising off the shelf products as “Stem Cell Therapy” are not to be trusted. If the stem cells do not come from your own body, it is unlikely that you are receiving any live stem cells.
Other clinics may offer true stem cell therapies, but they use only one source of mesenchymal stem cells, either fat OR bone marrow, rarely both. This limits the options available to the patient.
At Regenerative Orthopedic Institute we use only stem cells that come from the patient’s own body. We have extensive experience using both fat and bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). We have more experience using both kinds of stem cells than pretty much anyone else. Therefore, we know what works best for any patient. This allow us to be able to customize your treatment using the type of MSC that may work best for you. Few clinics in the USA are able to offer this.
4) Are your Procedures Done Using Imaging?
Many clinics perform their injections in standard examining rooms blind, with no imaging guidance. We believe that to obtain the best possible outcomes the injections need to be precise and the stem cells need to be delivered as close as possible to the tissue we are trying to heal and regenerate. To be able to achieve that, you need imaging guidance during the injections.
We explained here why it is essential to use appropriate image guidance when performing regenerative medicine treatments. It takes, again, time and money to get trained and to have the proper equipment (ultrasound and fluoroscopy) to make sure the needle is placed in the precise location where it is needed.
At Regenerative Orthopedic Institute we perform all of our injections in a procedure suite and using either fluoroscopy (a type of live x-ray), or ultrasound, to guarantee that the stem cells are delivered to where they are needed.
Warning Sign: If the clinic does not use imaging guidance during their procedures you may not be getting the stem cells where you need them.
5) What Type of Clinic is this?
Some of this clinics claim to treat a wide variety of disorders like COPD, diabetes, autism, baldness, sexual dysfunction, and pretty much any disease under the sun.
At Regenerative Orthopedic Institute we treat ONLY orthopedic disorders. That is the only thing we do, and we do it well.
So, the next time you attend a seminar for a clinic that wants you to spend $10,000 or more for a chiropractor to hire a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant with little training and experience to do injections on you blind, with no guidance, using products that may not contain any live stem cells; remember that for less than half that price you can get real stem cells from your own body, injected by a Board Certified Physician using proper imaging guidance, at a clinic that specializes in treating just orthopedic conditions.
Do your homework. Next time you go to a stem cell seminar, go prepared with your 5 basic questions. The answers to those questions will help you make a more informed decision about your medical treatment.