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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What to expect the day of the procedure

Our goal is to make the procedure comfortable with minimal pain.

The complete stem cell procedure takes about 2 hours. It is not painful, but rather patients describe the overall process as moderately uncomfortable. We will attempt to make the procedure as pain-free as possible.

Medications will be prescribed prior to the procedure to be taken before and after to reduce discomfort and anxiety, along with IV sedatives.

What medications can I take before and after?

Abstain or minimize NSAIDs 10 days prior to the procedure.

Minimize NSAIDs for 14 days after the procedure.

Tylenol can be taken as needed.

Pain management medications will be prescribed and a prescription will be placed in your post of kit

Turmeric is not well studied at this time. However, this has NSAID properties through Cox-2 inhibition, and is recommended that you refrain from turmeric like NSAIDs.

No reliable data is present with medical marijuana currently to report.

Aspirin, Plavix, and other blood thinners please consult directly; pros and cons need to be considered.

Normal vitamins and supplements can be taken.

Will the area of adipose harvesting be painful?

Often, this is the major complaint after the procedure. This can be rather uncomfortable for 2-7 days. It is more of a “discomfort” as described by most patients. An abdominal binder is included in your post op care kit, specially formulated for each patient. This binder should be worn for 5-7 almost to reduce unwanted cosmetic outcomes.

How Should I care for the two small incisions?

Two small incisions will be made for the adipose harvesting. These are small, about 0.5-1cm in length. However, this is the major possible source of infection, so make sure to take proper care of the incision until they heal. Healing should be complete in 3-5 days. These sites will drain both tumescent fluid and small amounts of blood for about 24 hours after the procedure. Change the bandages as need. The vast majority of fluid is the tumescent. These will need to be changed a couple times the first 24 hours. After about 24 hours the draining should reduce substantially or totally. Keep the bandage on for 3-5 days or until the incisions are totally healed. No need to change the bandage if they appear clean and dry.

Bandages are given to you to take home in your personalized post op kit.

Can I shower or bathe afterwards?

Yes. The bandages that are used are a special material called tagaderm. This is basically a Gortex material creating a water barrier. Do not immerse in water, such as, swimming, hot tub, bath, etc. until the incision have closed completely.

Will the joint or body part injected be painful?

This goes one of two ways:

30% of patients describe and report moderate discomfort and moderate pain for less than a week, which dissapates each day.

The remaining 70% of patients report moderate discomfort and pain for about 2 weeks. Most patients state the evening of the procedure and the following day are the most painful days. Patients are able to walk and function normally immediately after the procedure, albeit with some discomfort. Typically, it is recommended to take about 5-7days off of work if you are concerned to error on caution.

Hips are the major exception to be noted. Hip procedures often are quite painful for 1 week and pain will persist about 2-4 weeks. Dr. Otten will discuss this further with you for your individual case.

Can I Ice post procedure?

Yes, but minimize. There is emerging data that icing may reduce an initial cytokine response needed to get the maximal effects and benefits of your stem cell procedure.

If bruising occurs, should I be concerned?

This is common to occur in the adipose harvesting site, typically the abdomen. Don’t be alarmed, this is harmless and does not have consequences. Arnica gels an oral supplements have been clinically shown to reduce the time of bruising and this can be taken if you wish.

What restrictions or instructions should I adhere to after the procedure?

There are no major restrictions with the exception of pain. If something is painful, obviously don’t do it. That being said, once the initial discomfort from the procedure subsides is it crucial to treat your new stem cells properly. The new stem cells are very similar to an octopus. They form sticky “legs” that attach to sites of injury to regenerate new tissue. These can be forcefully sheered off and will not reattach in most cases. With that analogy, here are some of the most common take home points to maximize your benefits:

Keep your body moving; a body in motion wants to stay in motion.

Do not pound or load the joint/tendon/muscle aggressively for 6-8 weeks. For example, if you are a runner, do not run for 6-8 weeks, instead, cross-train in the water, use the elliptical/rowing machine, bike, etc.

Light to moderate activity is need to mobilize and activity the stem cells for the first 6-8 weeks.

Pool activities are always encouraged and recommended. Water is a resistant exercise building muscle, flexibility and strength without major trauma.

Light eccentric or isotonic strengthening is encouraged. Always take your muscles to fatigue, this builds lean, high metabolic muscle.

Yoga, Pilates and other body weight work outs are highly encouraged.

How long with the benefits last?

In most reported literature and my clinical experience:

3-10 years in arthritic or chronic conditions, depending upon the severity

Virtually permanent improvements in ligament/tendon and muscle injuries

Acute injuries can be potentially reversed if the procedure is performed with 6 months of the injury

Stem cells have been radio-tagged in clinical studies and have been found to be active and viable for 12 months. That is, the stem cells are alive and regenerating new tissue for about one year.

The first 3-4 months will be the most dramatic improvements with a more gradual improvement experienced the remaining 8-9 months.

What possible complication can occur?

As with any medical procedure potential side effects or adverse events are possible. CELLAXYS uses IV antibiotics before all major procedures to reduce the potential of infection. “Single use” equipment is used for each procedure, our clinic does not reuse medical equipment. All major procedures are performed in our Joint Commissions on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAHO) approved procedure suite in sterile fashion. We also encourage the use of “autologous transplants” (your own blood, bone marrow, fat tissue, etc.) to minimize the risk of side effect potentials.

What does stem cell therapy do?

Stem cell or cell-based therapy helps diseased, injured, or dysfunctional tissues repair more quickly. The process involves using the patient’s own stem cells, concentrating them, and reinjecting them into the injury site.

At CELLAXYS, we perform two types of cell-based therapies: Minimally Manipulated Adipose Tissue Transplant (MMAT), where the surgeon extracts healthy cells from the adipose (fat) tissues, and Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMAC), where the doctor harvests highly concentrated cells from the bone marrow.

What are the side effects of stem cell therapy?

When performed by a board-certified surgeon, stem cell therapy doesn’t pose any side effects. However, they may cause a few short-term side effects, such as headache, low-grade fever, fatigue, nausea, and chills. These effects are usually temporary and vary from person to person. Some patients may not experience any side effects at all.

Is stem cell therapy painful?

Stem cell therapy is a less painful alternative to surgery. The doctor uses anesthesia to numb the area before the procedure, so patients usually experience a pinch when the injection is inserted. If the patient still experiences pain during the process, the surgeon will use the numbing medication again whenever needed.

Does stem cell therapy last a lifetime?

After the stem cell procedure, the injected stem cells continue to grow and repair in the injury area for a year. However, the patient begins experiencing relief a few weeks after the procedure. The procedure’s effects typically last a few months to multiple years, depending on the injury’s severity, the type of treatment, and the patient’s condition.

How are stem cells extracted and injected?

During stem cell therapy, the stem cells are either extracted from the adipose (fat) tissues or the bone marrow at the right donor area. Once the cells are harvested, they are sent to the centrifuge to concentrate and separate from other materials. These stem cells are then inserted into the injury area through an injection.

Is stem cell therapy risky?

Stem cell therapy generally poses no risks as the doctor uses the patient’s own cells. However, it’s only possible when the procedure is approved and performed by board-certified surgeons. In the case of an unqualified team, stem cell therapy can result in some issues, such as headache, fever, and nausea.

What can stem cell therapy treat?

Stem cell therapy can treat various issues, including type 1 diabetes, heart diseases, spine injuries, strokes, joint and musculoskeletal problems, osteoarthritis, cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, burns, Parkinson’s disease, and more. The procedure is usually painless and non-invasive and is considered one of the best alternatives for surgery.

How long does it take to rest after stem cell therapy?

Patients must rest for one to two days after the stem cell therapy or until they feel ready to continue their daily activities. It’s recommended to stay away from extensive workouts and start physical therapy with a professional.

What not to do after stem cell treatment?

You should rest and avoid heavy lifting and extensive workouts immediately after stem cell treatment. Instead, wait a few days until the pain and swelling are gone, and your wound heals completely. You must not walk for more than 30 minutes at once for the first two days after the process. If you want to bathe, you can do so without submerging your entire body in water for at least two days. Don’t take any medicine that’s unprescribed by your doctor.

What is platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) used for?

PRP is primarily used to treat spine, sports, and orthopedic-related injuries, but it is also helpful in promoting hair growth. Athletes have been opting for it for decades, as it is non-invasive and less painful than surgical treatments. Not only that, PRP also has a very short recovery time. This procedure also treats soft tissue or tendon injuries, including tennis elbow, knee tendonitis, knee replacement, shoulder injuries, and more.

How long do platelet-rich plasma injections last?

The results of PRP injections usually last for years, depending on the type of treatment you went for, your issue, and the condition. Some people require multiple sessions for complete healing, while others can see their desired results in one or two sittings. The results typically vary from person to person.  

What are the side effects of PRP?

PRP is generally a safe procedure that doesn’t cause serious side effects in the patients when performed by a professional team of surgeons. Some people may experience mild symptoms of discomfort, such as soreness and bruising, especially at the injury site. Since PRP injections use the patient’s own blood plasma and cells, there are little to no risks of an allergic reaction that come with other injectables like corticosteroids.

Is PRP treatment safe?

PRP has been a popular treatment for spine, orthopedic, and sports-related injuries for decades. So, there is no doubt that it is a safe treatment. The doctor doesn’t use foreign cells or medications in this procedure, which usually results in risks and complications. Instead, the injections are made of the patient’s own cells and tissues, so there is no need to worry about their safety.

How painful is PRP?

PRP is a less painful treatment option for musculoskeletal, sports, and spine-related injuries. The surgeon may use anesthesia before and during the procedure to minimize the pain even more. However, patients may feel slight discomfort and different levels of bruising and swelling, depending on the type, location, and extent of the injections used.

What is the success rate of PRP injections?

PRP injections have a success rate of around 90%, which is impressive considering the minimum pain and quick recovery this treatment offers. In a study, PRP treatment was used on patients with knee osteoarthritis. They reported reduced pain and function improvement way quicker than those treated with placebo injections.

Who is not a good candidate for PRP?

PRP is a safe procedure for everyone except those suffering from severe underlying medical conditions like Hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, or any type of blood cancer. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also consult their doctor before going for PRP.

How many sessions does PRP treatment take?

PRP treatments typically require three to five sessions to show their effects, depending on the issue you’re getting treated. These sessions are usually weeks apart to allow the injections enough time to enhance the success rate. Depending on your healing and recovery, the surgeon may advise the patient to come for a single maintenance procedure about once or twice a year.

Is PRP treatment better than surgery?

PRP treatment is a super effective alternative for those who want to avoid surgery. The procedure targets the patient’s own tissues and uses them to heal the injured muscles and cells before they make the situation even worse. PRP is also non-invasive and less painful than surgery.

What should you not do after PRP?

You should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for at least two to three days after the PRP procedure. It’s also best to not consume alcohol and smoke for at least three days. These things can interrupt your healing process and may even reduce their effectiveness. Just talk to your doctor and follow their post-procedure guidelines.

How can I speed up my PRP recovery?

You can speed up your PRP recovery by implementing your surgeon’s instructions at home. They include eating a diet filled with green vegetables, staying hydrated, and increasing the intake of B vitamins. You must also avoid smoking, alcohol consumption, drugs, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as all of them can delay your recovery.

What is regenerative medicine?

Regenerative medicine focuses on creating new treatments and using them to heal organs and tissues quickly with less pain. This technology uses the patient’s own cells and tissues to restore function lost due to aging or any physical trauma, disease, or damage. The two most popular regenerative medicine treatments are cell-based or stem cell therapies and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.

What can regenerative medicine cure?

Regenerative medicine can cure many conditions, ranging from tissue and ligament injuries like arthritis and torn muscles to neurological problems like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The procedure can replace neurons that spinal cord injuries damage and even produce insulin to treat diabetes. They are primarily helpful for sports and spine-related injuries and for treating hair loss.

What are the benefits of regenerative medicine?

The primary benefit of regenerative medicine is that it is the best alternative for surgeries. Both cell-based therapies and PRP therapy are less painful and non-invasive than surgical procedures that prevent pain efficiently. Their recovery time is also quicker; you may not need medications afterward. Regenerative medicine procedures are also less risky as the doctor uses your own cells for the procedures.

How successful is regenerative medicine?

Regenerative medicine is believed to be 90% effective in treating musculoskeletal and neurological problems in patients with different conditions. The treatment shows results within a few weeks or months after the treatment.

How safe are regenerative medicine treatments?

Regenerative medicine treatments are generally safe with minimal risks. However, they may cause a few side effects in some patients, such as headache, dizziness, fatigue, and soreness. In some patients, the effects can be even more severe; the cells can grow into dangerous tumors and unusual cell types. These risks can be prevented by performing the procedure under a professional’s supervision.

What is the recovery time for regenerative medicine?

Most patients come at ease in the first six weeks after the procedure. The regenerative medicine treatment keeps working inside your body for up to six months to give you continual benefits and improvements. The total recovery duration varies from patient to patient, the type of treatment you opted for, and your current condition. Stay in touch with your surgeon throughout to shorten your recovery.

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