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What is Cellular Therapy?

Cellular Therapy, previously known as “stem cell therapy”, uses the patient’s own tissue/cells to augment local healing processes. Previous studies have shown that these progenitor cells influence healing by decreasing inflammation and pain. It is generally accepted that these positive clinical effects are achieved by chemical messages (growth factors, exosomes, mediators) released from the cells at the site of injection

What is the procedure?

Cellular Therapy

Patients schedule at least a 60-minute visit with their practitioner, either in a clinic procedure room or in the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC). After local anesthesia is given, blood, adipose tissue (fat) or bone marrow is harvested via minimally invasive techniques and is then further processed in the room to increase the concentration of cells. This processed tissue is the injected back into the patient at the area of interest typically under image guidance (ultrasound or fluoroscopy). Adipose tissue is typically harvested via liposuction techniques from the abdomen or thigh, or it is harvested from the knee via arthroscopy. Bone marrow is harvested from the iliac crest (hip).

We monitor patients after the procedure until they are walking, and only light activity should be planned for the day of the procedure. Patients undergoing a liposuction procedure will wear an abdominal support brace for approximately 4 days. Some local pain, tenderness and/or bruising can be experienced at the tissue harvest site or in the area of the injection over 7-10 days. The use of anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), blood thinners, fish oils and other supplements are discouraged for 4 weeks after the procedure (certain exceptions apply; please consult your physician).

What are the different types of cellular therapy treatments?

Cell/tissue procedures are typically categorized by the method of tissue processing

  • Lipogems: The Lipogems procedure produces micronized fat particles that can be used for Orthopedic procedures. The process takes fat tissue collected via liposuction and washes and resizes the fat particles to improve the effectiveness of the cells.
  • AdiPrep: AdiPrep isolates oils and lipids from fat using a proprietary lipid barrier disc technology built into the processing system. The system then concentrates fat tissue samples to deliver a graft with high cell counts while significantly reducing excess fluid. The resulting purified adipose concentrate can then be used for clinical procedures.
  • BMA-C: Bone marrow aspiration is performed via minimally invasive needles that are placed into the Iliac crest bone (hip). The bone marrow that is collected is low in nucleated cells so cell concentration via centrifuge increases the number of useable cells for orthopedic procedures.

Will this be covered by my insurance?

Generally, insurance does not cover the cost of cellular therapy. Cash paying price is:
For one or more treatment areas = $5,000

  • University of Arizona
  • Cal Poly Pomona
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • U.S. Ski & Snowboard
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • Stanford University
  • Biological Association
  • AANA Advancing the Scope