In our last blog, we discussed the benefits that stem cell therapy can have on those who are 65 or older. As an alternative to surgery, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can provide a quicker recovery time and improved pain relief, but each patient’s situation is different. As an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Pettine has treated many patients, and his experience and expertise allowed him to decide what course of treatment was best for each person. Whereas 20 to 30 years ago, spinal fusion or joint replacement surgery may have been the only option, now stem cells have opened up an entirely new avenue of treatment choices. After one year, the hope is that the patient will have experienced significant results and seen a dramatic improvement in their pain levels. If 70 percent of patients who are treated are 70 percent better in one year, that opens up all new possibilities for stem cell treatments!

Where Can There Be Improvements?

While 70 percent is a great threshold, what improvements can there be to push that number to 80, 90, or 100 percent? Surgeons such as Dr. Pettine are constantly researching and learning how to improve stem cell therapy and discover new ways to treat hip, knee, and other joint pain. When stem cells were first used, there were countless questions surrounding how they were gathered, whether donor cells were safe, and how beneficial therapy would actually be. Over the years, improvements have been made as doctors have learned more about MSCs and other types of stem cells. Dr. Pettine has been involved in multiple Food and Drug Administration (FDA) studies involving stem cells, as well as studies centered on artificial disc replacement and alternatives to spinal fusion. The hope is that while 70 percent of people are 70 percent better after one year, some day 100 percent of people will be 100 percent better.

Weighing Your Options

If you’re dealing with severe pain or limited mobility, you could be faced with making the decision between traditional surgery and stem cell therapy. Weighing your options can be tough, but with the guidance of an experienced doctor like Dr. Pettine, he can help you understand the factors involved with both courses of treatment. He will be forthright and honest about what recovery will entail following therapy, and what sort of results he expects to see. Above all, he wants you to feel confident in your decision and understand that he has your best interests at heart.