A Baylor College of Medicine professor touts a fat-derived stem cell injection as a nonsurgical option to help provide relief from sports-related injuries.

“With this treatment, I can tackle a number of non-operative sports and musculoskeletal injuries,” says Dr Prathap Jayaram, director of regenerative sports medicine and assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor, in a news story from the college.

“Some patients who may be candidates for a stem cell-derived injection are those with partial tears of a rotator cuff and knee osteoarthritis. There is an increasing body of evidence to support regenerative strategies that are beneficial for patients with joint and tendon injuries.”

Stem cells are gathered from either the patient’s fat or bone marrow. Unlike the bone marrow stem cell therapy, which has been available for some time, the fat-derived stem cell therapy can be easily gathered from an individual using minimally invasive techniques with minimal side effects.

“This treatment helps modulate the inflammatory profile in the joints and optimizing one’s regenerative potential to help alleviate pain and improve function,” Jayaram adds, in the news story.

Patients will often try repeated steroid injections. However, Jayaram notes that over time, steroid injections can be more degenerative than regenerative at the tissue level and are not the best long-term option.

“Certainly, steroids still have a place, and I still inject steroids for acute pain where it’s indicated, but I don’t use it as a long-term strategy,” he suggests.

Patients also should have tailored physical therapy to complement this treatment, Jayaram advises.

“There are specific rehab protocols that go along with these cell-derived injection strategies, and they are both mutually reinforcing,” he states.

[Source: Baylor College of Medicine]