Your body’s own stem cells are the most potent healing cells we have in our bodies. While they are found in small amounts circulating in our blood stream, their two primary storage areas are the bone marrow and adipose tissue (fat). The concept behind using your own Stem Cells to heal areas of injury is simple – find the cells, concentrate them in a syringe, and inject them where you want them to go. This is accomplished by harvesting some cells from one of the main stores, fat or bone marrow. Many factors need to be considered when choosing which store you want to use.
At The Michigan Center for Regenerative Medicine, we utilize the bone marrow stores because 1) those cells work better for the types of conditions we treat, and 2) the FDA has recently placed restrictions on the techniques for isolating fat cells and we practice within full compliance with the FDA. While a bone marrow aspiration procedure sounds painful, it really isn’t. I have had my Stem Cells harvested from my bone marrow, and the procedure is virtually painless. The harvested cells are then isolated in our lab using a centrifuge and flow cytometer to get the highest concentration of cells possible. The Stem Cells are then placed in a syringe and are re-introduced into the targeted tissue on the same day.
All procedures are done under either fluoroscopic (x-ray) or ultrasound guidance to assure precise location of the Stem Cell delivery. The entire procedure takes about 2 hours from the time you show up until the time you leave. Most procedures are done using only local anesthetic (Lidocaine), but IV sedation (being put to sleep) is available if needed.