Is There an Alternative to Shoulder Replacement?
Shoulder replacement surgery is a major medical procedure offered to patients when non-invasive treatments are no longer effective. While shoulder replacement therapy can improve symptoms and provide the patient with increased function in the shoulder joint, there are some downsides to this procedure.
Many patients are concerned about the long recovery process and the risk of complications. As such, some individuals are seeking alternatives to shoulder replacement surgery. Specifically, some patients turn to stem cell therapy to treat their shoulder osteoarthritis or other chronic joint conditions.
When Is Shoulder Replacement Necessary?
When a patient begins experiencing chronic shoulder pain, such as that caused by osteoarthritis, the condition is generally treated with non-invasive options. This may include ice, rest, oral pain medications, physical therapy, or cortisone injections.
However, severe joint damage will require more invasive treatment, such as shoulder replacement surgery. This treatment is often prescribed to patients suffering from severe osteoarthritis, impacting their quality of life and joint function. It can also potentially treat chronic rotator cuff issues that do not respond to other interventions.
During shoulder replacement surgery, the medical staff uses a two-part implant designed to perform the functions of the natural joint. This is a lengthy and involved procedure that requires surgeons to cut through various connective tissues. As a result, shoulder and other joint replacement surgeries are known for prolonged recovery times.
How Stem Cells Can Benefit Patients with Shoulder Osteoarthritis
Mesenchymal stem cell therapy has been heavily studied to potentially help manage osteoarthritic conditions, including those affecting the shoulder. While more research is necessary, these studies have shown significant promise in the non-surgical treatment of shoulder conditions. Many patients can delay shoulder replacement surgery by several years, and some can avoid it altogether.
MSCs are stem cells that are present in various tissues throughout the human body. Stem cells are generally harvested from bone marrow aspirate, adipose tissue, or the Wharton’s Jelly of umbilical cords for stem cell therapy. Once the raw material is collected, medical staff obtain the stem cells and administer them to the patient’s shoulder.
Over time, these stem cells should actively target inflammation and can facilitate the natural healing process. Stem cells can potentially regenerate damaged tissue, thereby improving function and reducing the severity of symptoms.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions. Click here to learn more.