Spinal disease and conditions affects millions of Americans. Many aging people suffer from spinal arthritis, degenerative disc disease, lumbar spondylosis, and failed back surgery syndrome. Orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, and pain management specialists are now using adipose-derived stem cell therapy to treat spinal disorders. Stromal vascular fraction (SVF) is the adipose solution that contains endothelial progenitor cells, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and growth factors.
Stromal vascular fraction of adipose tissue is derived from lipoaspirate, which is the fluid obtained from liposuction of the fat tissue. The adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) are plentiful in fat tissue, and SVF with ADSCs can be used in many spinal and orthopedic applications without side effects.
Around 25% of Americans have some type of low back pain. In the U.S., back pain is the fifth most common reason people visit the doctor. In a recent clinical study, chronic back pain increased by 6.3% from 1992 to 2006.
Patients are reporting significant improvement, and many clinical studies have documented this. The patient’s reports of 50% or greater pain relief are relatively consistent in the clinical studies. In one survey, 3 years after stem cell therapy for arthritis, 61% of men and 53% of women showed the overall level of improvement. After 3 treatments, the efficacy rate was 68%. In a recent clinical study, patients had 50% improvement in pain and functional scores at 2-years post stem cell injection into intervertebral discs.
You will meet with the pain management specialist before your procedure for a consultation. Be sure to notify the doctor of all medications and supplements you are taking. Certain agents that thin the blood or interfere with the stem cell procedure must be held beforehand for a few days. The doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical examination, and take additional imaging scans.
The adipose tissue is obtained via liposuction. After you are positioned on the procedure table, a nurse places an IV catheter in your arm to administer fluids and sedation. The targeted area (abdomen, chin, arm, thigh, or buttock) is cleaned with an antiseptic solution. The doctor numbs the region with a local anesthetic. Inserting a special cannula, the fat tissue is gently suctioned into the cannula in liquid form. The incision is closed using Steri-Strips or a Band-Aid. The solution is concentrated and processed in the laboratory before being implanted in the spine, injected into the disc, or administered through intravenous transfusion.