Stem cell therapy can raise quite a few questions in a person’s mind, and one of the most common is, “What do all those medical terms mean?” As with any medical therapy, there can be terms that are uncommon and phrases that don’t make sense until a doctor explains them. As an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Pettine has explained countless medical terms to his patients, helping them better understand what’s going on with their bodies, and to help them feel more at ease before a surgery or injection. With stem cell therapy, it can be beneficial to understand the basic terms associated with the procedure. In this blog, we’ll cover some of those terms.

Stem Cell

The term “stem cell” can refer to a number of cells within the human body, including hematopoietic, mesenchymal, and endothelial cells. All stem cells have the ability to self-replicate and create an identical copy of themselves, and can also form cells that mature and grow into tissue and organ cells throughout the body. These abilities are what make them so important to regenerative medicine.

Adult Stem Cells

There are many questions and concerns regarding embryonic stem cells, and that’s what makes adult stem cells a better choice for regenerative therapy. These cells are found in various reservoirs throughout the human body, and they are used to repair tissue and help the body heal from injury. Through bone marrow aspiration, these adult cells are gathered and then injected into the injury site – they’re your own cells being put back into your own body.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of adult stem cells found mostly in the bone marrow of the human body. MSCs have shown potential for helping heal injuries throughout the body, including shoulder, hip, and spinal conditions. For more information on MSCs, visit our blog on “Understanding Mesenchymal Stem Cells.”

Autologous Therapy

The word “autologous” means “derived from the same individual,” or “involving one individual as both donor and recipient.” In autologous stem cell therapy, this means that the patient is both the donor and recipient of the MSCs. Donor cells can raise a number of concerns, and by gathering the cells from a patient’s own bone marrow and injecting them back into the injured site, the possibility of rejection or complications can be reduced.

dreamstime_xxl_54754169Understanding stem cells can seem like a challenge, but with the right approach and a knowledgeable doctor, you can begin to comprehend what the aspiration, injection, and therapeutic processes entail. Instead of feeling hesitant about pursuing stem cell treatment, or being unsure about whether or not it’s the right course of action, you can make an informed decision regarding your body.

If you’d like to know more about stem cells and the benefits they can offer as an alternative to orthopedic surgery, contact Dr. Pettine today. He will explain the basic concept of the therapy, how the process has evolved over the years, and how the cells can help with your condition.