The bones of the spine called vertebrae are separated by shock-absorbing discs that act as a cushion. These discs have a strong cartilaginous outer portion and a gel-like inner core. When these discs begin to break down from either age or injury, they can result in disc bulging or what is also known as disc herniation. The discs can also tear, decrease in height or dry out. These changes in the discs can cause pain and pressure on nearby nerves ( radiculopathy). They can also cause degeneration of nearby facet joints and narrowing of the canal (spinal stenosis).
Degenerative disc disease often occurs as part of the aging process. By age 40, it is estimated that 40 percent of the population will have some degree of degenerative disc disease and by age 80, that percentage doubles.
Symptoms from degenerative disc include neck pain, back pain, muscle spasms or radiating pain to the arms or legs. Pain is typically worse with bending forward or prolonged sitting.
The current standard treatment for degenerative or herniated discs includes physical therapy, medications, injection therapy, and surgery. These aim to provide symptomatic relief of the pain but most do not improve the pathology or reverse the degenerative process.
Treatment with Bone marrow-derived cells has introduced a unique approach to alleviate pain and improve function by restoring and repairing tissue injury.
What is Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC)?
The body’s bone marrow possesses unique properties that help the body heal itself naturally. It contains important therapeutic cells, growth factors and proteins that stimulate the body’s natural ability to improve circulation, decrease inflammation and heal injured tissues.
It also contains adult stem cells called Mesenchymal stem cells. These stem cells have the special ability to renew themselves and differentiate into bone, tendon, cartilage and muscle cells. These make them an ideal therapy for treating orthopedic injuries such as tendon tears, worn cartilage, and degenerated disc disease.
Bone marrow-derived cells have been shown to stimulate disc cell proliferation, increase disc support tissue, increase disc hydration, decrease inflammation, and support tissue healing.
How Effective is BMAC?
A study published by International Orthopedics reported the results of 26 patients suffering from degenerative disc disease and were candidates for major surgery such as spinal fusion or total disc replacement who underwent BMAC therapy to their discs. Three years later, 73% of these patients showed improvement in pain, 70% showed improvement in function, and 75% avoided surgery.
A systematic review of seven clinical trials with a total of 97 patients and up to 72 months follow-up concluded that treatment with Bone Marrow-derived cells intradiscally showed significant improvement in pain and function with low re-injection or complication rates.
BMAC therapy is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that does not require hospitalization or lengthy rehabilitation. Patients are generally able to begin physical therapy and gradual resumption of their daily activities within a week.
For patients who suffer from chronic low back pain from degenerative disc disease and failed standard conservative therapy, BMAC therapy performed by an experienced regenerative medicine specialist can provide an innovative, non-surgical treatment solution. Schedule a consultation with our renowned regenerative medicine physicians to see if you are a candidate for these therapies before considering spinal surgery.
Drs. Christopher J. Rogers and Mary A. Ambach of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group together have successfully treated hundreds of patients with BMAC and other cell-based treatments for more than three decades. They have published authors and stem cell researchers. Their FDA-compliant facility in Carlsbad contains the most advanced Regenerative Medicine technology in San Diego and offers same-day treatments with the highest level of safety and efficacy.
Like many things in life, when it comes to body fat moderation is key. Your body needs fat tissue to help its vital systems including the cardiovascular, endocrine, reproductive and central nervous systems, function properly. But too much body fat is harmful and can lead to increased risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.
Now, regenerative medicine specialists are putting fat’s natural healing abilities to work to address common orthopedic conditions such as joint and tendon injuries.
What is Micro-fragmented Adipose Tissue?
Fat or adipose tissue is rich in healing cells like mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs, growth factors and other proteins that can assist in healing tissues. Innovative procedures, like Lipogems® uses the body’s own fat with a patented system that processes and resizes the adipose tissue. A small amount of fat is collected from the buttocks, abdomen or “love handles.” There is minimal manipulation of the tissue with no enzymatic digestion or addition of other biological or pharmacological agents.
The processed tissue is called Micro-fragmented Adipose Tissue (MFAT) and it is injected into injured areas using imaging guidance to help provide cushion and support the healing of damaged tissues. The entire procedure is performed in a doctor’s clinic without the need for sedation.
What Are the Outcomes for Lipogems®?
There are more than 70 research studies published in the peer-reviewed medical literature using this treatment with up to 3 years of follow-up. More than 90 percent of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group patients who underwent Lipogems® experienced significant relief with the treatment and were able to resume normal, pain-free physical activity. More than 35,000 procedures are performed worldwide with a low rate of minor complications and no major complications reported. There is no risk of rejection and low risk of infection since you are using your own tissue. Individual outcomes vary based on the extent of the injury or damage as well as the patient’s overall health and fitness levels.
Fat-derived cell based therapies is a great non-surgical treatment option for patients with orthopedic injuries or conditions who failed standard therapies. Learn more about these therapies here and here. Schedule a consultation with our innovative Regenerative Medicine doctors to determine if you are a good candidate for these treatments.
Drs. Christopher J. Rogers and Mary A. Ambach of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group together have successfully treated thousands of patients with Lipogems® and other cell-based treatments for more than three decades. They are published authors and stem cell researchers. Their facility in Carlsbad contains the most advanced Regenerative Medicine technology in San Diego and offers same-day treatments with the highest level of safety and efficacy.
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Live Question and Answer session with Regenerative Experts
Topic: Joint Cartilage Damage
Date and Time: June 2, 2021. 12:30 PT
Watch the recording of this session below in which SDOMG physician experts answered questions on this common joint problem, joint cartilage damage.
The intervertebral discs are gel filled structures in the spine that act as cushion in between the vertebral bones. Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a common condition that results from wear and tear of the intervertebral discs. As we age, the discs deteriorate due to repetitive stress, increased load, and decrease in blood flow and nutrition to the discs. Degenerative changes in the discs include: annular tear (tear in the outer fibrous ring of the disc), herniation or bulge, decrease in height, drying out, stiffness and bone spurs.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
The symptoms of degenerative disc disease are dependent on the disc that is involved and changes in the surrounding spinal structures as a result of, or associated with the degeneration. The most common symptom of degenerative disc disease is a continuous deep pain in the neck, midback or low back that occasionally flares up to a more intense, disabling pain. The episodes can last for a few days or several weeks, and typically recurs. The baseline pain is variable in individuals and can range from almost no pain, nagging ache or severe pain.
The pain typically gets worse with prolonged sitting, standing and walking. Twisting and bending the spine, or carrying heavy loads can also aggravate the pain in the back. Prolonged tilting of the head down while reading or working on the computer can worsen neck pain.
The pain can refer to the buttocks and hips when the lumbar spine is involved, or to the shoulder blade region when the cervical spine is involved. When the degenerated disc compresses or irritates the nearby spinal nerves, radiating pain can be felt in the buttocks, hips, legs and feet (lumbar disc degeneration); or in the shoudler, arm and hand (cervical disc degeneration). Individuals with disc problems can also experience muscle tightness or muscle spasms.
It is not uncommon to see degenerative changes in the spinal imaging of patients over 60 years old. Majority of these patients will not present with symptoms.These imaging findings must be interpreted in the context of the patient’s clinical condition.
Treatment Options for Degenerative Disc Disease
Nonsurgical Treatments Options
Majority of patients who develop symptoms from degenerative disc disease respond well to conservative treatments without the need for surgical intervention.
- Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) decrease the symptoms of pain and inflammation associated with this condition. Analgesic medications or muscle relaxants can be helpful when the symptoms are severe. Medications to decrease nerve-related pain, called “sciatica” in the lumbar spine, can also be beneficial.
- Physical Therapy: Therapeutic exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles, improve spinal alignment, flexibility and stability, are critical in healing the spine. A physical therapist can help teach proper exercises and educate on activity modifications to help prevent recurrence of symptoms and injuries.
- Regenerative Treatments: These are innovative, non-surgical treatments using cells from your own body to heal and repair orthopedic conditions. These cell therapies, called Platelet-rich plasma and Cell-based Therapies derived from Bone Marrow, have been shown to help treat spinal conditions and provide long-term relief.
Surgical Treatment Options
Surgery is an option when all conservative treatment options have failed, when there is severe, debilitating pain that interferes with daily function, or when there is worsening neurologic function. These surgeries may involve the removal of a bulging portion of the disc (discectomy), removal of a portion of the bone in the spinal canal (laminectomy), replacing the degenerated disc with an artificial disc, or spinal fusion.
For help with your back pain and degenerative disc disease, please contact the experts at San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Center.
How do you decide when to proceed with surgery vs. biologics for knee pain due to osteoarthritis, ligament, or meniscus injuries? When should you consider Cell-Based Therapies like PRP, Bone marrow, or Fat Derived Stem Cell treatments for Knee Joint Problems? Join us and learn from experts in the field of Regenerative Medicine!
We are excited to have an International Guest Speaker, Dr. William Murrell, join us for this webinar. He is an Orthopedic Surgeon who is active in developing innovative technology in the field of Regenerative Medicine. He will provide a valuable perspective as a surgeon using these Cell therapies in treating knee pain.
- Date and Time : April 21, 2021. 12 pm PT
- Speaker(s): Dr. Chris Rogers and Dr. Mary A. Ambach featuring our Guest Speaker: Dr. William Murrell
Dr. Christopher Rogers is one of the world’s leading experts in orthopedic regenerative medicine and a renowned speaker at national medical conferences. He has developed new approaches for the treatment of tendon injuries, osteoarthritis, and disc degeneration which provide a safe and viable alternative to surgery.
Dr. Mary Ambach specializes in non-surgical orthopedics, regenerative therapies, and interventional pain management. As a key thought leader in the field of Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Ambach conducts research, trains physicians, and lectures at international medical conferences.
Dr. William Murrell is a Board Certified Orthopaedic surgeon with a sub-specialty in orthopaedic sports medicine and regenerative medicine. He is well recognized in the field of regenerative medicine and is active in clinical research collaborating with experts around the world.