Stem Cells With Surgery

For many patients suffering with injuries and conditions that are orthopaedic in nature, regenerative medicine utilizing the patient’s own adult stem cells has been the answer they’ve been seeking. For some, it’s the alternative to having surgery. For others, stem cells have been introduced in conjunction with surgery, in an effort to improve the results of the surgery and reduce down time following the procedure.

For back, hip, shoulder, ankle, and knee procedures, the findings have been exciting for surgeons, as they work to improve success rates of necessary but more invasive surgical procedures.

According to research noted in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery:

“More than one million knee arthroscopy procedures are performed annually in the U.S., of which, the majority are for the surgical repair or partial excision of meniscal tears.”

This same journal noted that, “Unfortunately, the failure rate of approximately 20 to 24 % has not substantially changed even with the advent of all-inside surgical techniques.”

Board Certified orthopedic surgeon Kevin Darr, who is currently involved in 5 independent review board approved studies utilizing mesenchymal stem cells to treat various musculoskeletal disorders, says of his experiences, “Mesenchymal stem cells can not only improve the outcome of patients who have had a meniscectomy, but also who have a meniscetomy in the presence of osteoarthritis (OA).”


Darr cites the science of regenerative medicine: “Mesenchymal stem cells are multi-potent stromal (connective tissue) cells of mesodermal origin that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including articular cartilage and meniscal tissue.”

What exactly does that mean for those of us who work outside of medicine?

“The reason patients are improving is due to the fact that stem cells decrease the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and are nourishing existing cartilage cells, allowing the cells the potential to repair,” Darr explains. “The stem cells can also differentiate into new cartilage cells.”

Studies like Darr’s have become increasingly popular, as the numbers of adults facing pain and decreased mobility from osteoarthritis continue to climb. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the United States, OA affects 26.9 million adults aged 25 and older.

What’s more, Darr’s research is showing that some OA patients can potentially avoid a surgical procedure with injections of mesenchymal stem cells. Some 93% of patients report some improvement with pain and function and one year after the treatment, patients average 72% improvement in pain and 50% improvement in function.

For his research, Dr. Darr uses a protocol common in orthopedic stem cell procedures.

“Patients receive 3 injections on the day of the procedure, which include platelet-rich plasma (PRP), adipose derived stem cells, and bone marrow stem cells. The patients follow-up at 6 weeks, 18 weeks, and 1 year. The bone marrow and adipose stem cells are not repeated, however the patient may receive a PRP injection at the 6 week and 18 week follow-up, depending on level of improvement.”


Did you know stem cells are being used for Erectile Dysfunction and Peyronie’s Disease?

Information courtesy of – Adult Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Delivered Via Intra-Articular Injection to the Knee Following Partial Medial Meniscectomy.