How can Bone Marrow-derived Cells Treat Disc Disease     

How can Bone Marrow-derived Cells Treat Disc Disease     

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.[1]

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.[2] 

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.




Fat-derived Cell based therapy: What it is and How it is Used

Fat-derived Cell based therapy: What it is and How it is Used

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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FREE Webinar: Cell Therapy vs. Surgery for Knee Joint Pain

FREE Webinar: Cell Therapy vs. Surgery for Knee Joint Pain

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.

The Power of Cell Based Therapy

The Power of Cell Based Therapy

You may recall from your high school biology class that cells are referred to as the “building blocks of life”.  When your body becomes injured or worn out, these building blocks break down leading to pain and loss of function.  Yet, cellular therapy is the carpenter that repairs and replaces these broken cells and tissues.

Cell based therapy harnesses the powerful healing capabilities of cells in your body to repair damaged tissues and restore health. These are innovative therapies are based on concepts and scientific evidence that has emerged over the recent decades. 

The world-renowned Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Mayo Clinic works closely with the Human Cellular Therapy Laboratories at campuses in Minnesota, Florida and Arizona to develop cellular therapies for more than a dozen medical conditions.  These include ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), cancer, diabetes and orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease [i].  San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group is the premier regenerative medical center in San Diego providing therapies for orthopedic conditions.  Drs. Christopher Rogers and Mary A. Ambach are recognized leaders in this field for their expertise in this exciting new medical specialty.  Together, they have developed an extensive record of using Cell Based therapies to treat thousands of patients suffering from conditions such as painful arthritis or debilitating lower back pain.  Many of these patients thought they had exhausted all of their treatment options and were concerned about resigning to a life of pain.

Cell Based therapies has given them a new lease on life.

All of the treatments offered at the San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group are FDA-compliant and based on sound scientific evidence.  We only use cells that are derived from the patient’s own body and processed in our state of the art laboratory using FDA-approved devices and methods.  We do not use any donor stem cell products because these have not been tested for safety or efficacy.

These regenerative treatments contain restorative cells that are derived from a patient’s own blood, fat or bone marrow tissues. They help jump start the body’s own natural healing processes by encouraging the growth of healthy new cells and tissues to replace those that are injured or degenerated.

Dr. Christopher Rogers currently serves on the board of directors for the American College of Regenerative Medicine and has published and lectured extensively at national medical conferences on spine care, sports medicine, regenerative medicine and musculoskeletal ultrasound.  He regularly teaches courses on regenerative cellular therapy throughout the country, including at the Regenerative Medicine Training Institute, the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation and the Orthobiologic Institute.

Dr. Mary A. Ambach is a clinical instructor at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and also serves as a clinical instructor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, clinical assistant professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Western University of Health Sciences and an associate professor at the Southern California University Sports Medicine Program.  She has authored several published articles and book chapters in Regenerative Medicine and is actively involved in clinical research studying the effects of bone marrow-derived cells and platelet rich plasma for the treatment of low back pain due to degenerative disc disease.

Platelet rich plasma and other cell based therapies represent some of the most exciting advances seen in medicine in recent years.  They offer patients options not previously available for conditions that were not previously treatable without surgery.  Patients should do their homework and get the facts about how these treatments may help them to alleviate pain and restore a healthy, active life. 



Cell Based Therapy for Neck Pain

Cell Based Therapy for Neck Pain

Whether as a result of injury or age related wear-and-tear, pain in the neck can be more than just a saying: it can be debilitating.

According to the Mayo Clinic, neck pain is the fourth leading cause of disability in the United States.  Most episodes of acute neck pain will resolve without treatment, but almost half of the people with neck pain will suffer from recurrent episodes.[i] The good news for these patients is that science and technology are working together to help physicians identify the source of neck pain and offer new options for long-lasting relief.

Identifying the Source of Neck Pain

Advancements in imaging have allowed physicians to get a better look at the intricate details of the spine. This enables them to see the different structures in the cervical spine (neck) more clearly and can help them identify the source of chronic, unresolved neck pain.

Common sources of chronic neck pain include the following:

  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis of the spine can lead to degeneration that is associated with the normal wear and tear of joints, discs and bones in the spine as people age.  The arthritis can lead to bone spurs that can make movement of the neck painful and create narrowing of the space around the spinal nerves and spinal cord; a condition called spinal stenosis.
  • Cervical Facet Joint Dysfunction: The facet joints are the small joints that connect the individual bones in the neck called the vertebrae. These joints allow for movement of the neck and provide stability of the spine. When these joints become inflamed, injured, or get out of alignment, neck pain, stiffness and reduced mobility may result.
  • Herniated Discs: The discs are gel filled structures that act as cushion or shock absorbers between the vertebral bones in your spine.  They consist of a strong outer layer that protects the disc’s gel-like interior.  If the outer layer weakens or tears, the disc may protrude into the spinal canal and affect nearby nerves, causing neck pain, arm pain or muscle spasm.

There are many other causes of neck pain including nerve and spinal cord problems, fracture and non-spine sources like tumor. It is important that your physician perform a comprehensive evaluation of your medical history and physical examination to give you an appropriate diagnosis for your neck pain.

Cellular Treatments that Help Resolve Neck Pain Naturally

Most cases of neck pain can be resolved with physical therapy, activity modification and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.  Lifestyle improvements such as maintaining proper posture and avoiding prolonged neck bending from the use of mobile devices (ie., “text neck”) are also helpful.

When neck pain persists, spine specialists can offer a number of options for long-lasting pain relief.  Orthobiologics are cells and substances derived from cells that are naturally found in the body and have the ability to heal injured tissues.  These cellular products are providing new options for treating stubborn neck pain.

·  Platelet Rich Plasma puts the healing properties of the patient’s own blood to work in repairing damaged joints and helping with nerve pain. The platelets in the blood release growth factors and proteins that promote tissue repair, while the plasma carries the hormones, electrolytes and nutrients required to nourish cells during the healing process. PRP treatments should be customized to the particular individual and their injury in order to be effective.

·  Cell based therapies use a patient’s own bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue derived cells. These cells are comprised of adult stem cells and many other healing cells. They produce molecules that direct other cells in the area to form new blood vessels, decrease inflammation, awaken other stem cells and encourage formation of new healthy tissues. Stem cells are special cells that have the unique ability to develop into the specific kind of cell needed, whether that be a tendon, ligament, cartilage or bone cell.  Skilled regenerative medicine practitioners use highly specialized processes to prepare these cells that are then delivered directly to the injured area to stimulate healing.

·   Prolotherapy (Proliferative Therapy) uses dextrose and other natural substances that are injected into a chronically injured ligament, nerves or joint in order to help the body jump start its own natural healing response.

Applying Proven Treatments to Neck Pain

Regenerative medicine specialists have been using orthobiologics in the past decade with great success to treat other orthopedic conditions, including knee arthritis, back pain, tennis elbow, tendon tears and more.

A select few qualified physicians are now applying their experience to put these powerful sources of healing to work to address neck pain. To ensure maximum safety and efficacy, patients considering orthobiologic treatments for chronic neck pain should take note of the following important points:

  • Cells are derived from your own body:  Regenerative products that come from your own body (autologous) have been proven to be safe and effective in peer-reviewed research. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently does not allow the use of donor stem cell products derived from amniotic fluid or other fetal tissues to treat orthopedic conditions since they have not been proven in safety and efficacy. These products also pose a risk of disease transmission or immune reaction. Moreover, these donor tissues do not to contain living stem cells, as opposed to what is claimed by the companies that market these products.
  • Customized treatment: The best outcomes occur when your own cells and platelet rich plasma are prepared using the most advanced protocols to create a treatment that is customized to your specific injury.
  • Targeted delivery:  To maximize effectiveness, these regenerative treatments should be delivered under image guidance with fluoroscopy (x-ray) or ultrasound to ensure precise delivery to the injured area.  Only physicians with fellowship training in advanced image guided procedures are certified to perform these procedures.
  • Expert physicians: If you are considering regenerative medicine for the treatment of your spine condition, seek a board-certified physician who specializes in treating orthopedic injuries and has advanced training in regenerative medicine.  These physicians are best suited to obtain the best results employing the latest research, technology and safety protocols.

Since orthobiologic treatments for neck pain are relatively new within the field of regenerative medicine, patients need to ask the right questions and research the appropriate physicians to deliver the best care.

Drs. Christopher J. Rogers and Mary A. Ambach of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group together have successfully treated thousands of patients with cell-based therapies for more than three decades. They are published authors and stem cell researchers who were chosen to participate in a first of its kind, FDA-approved clinical trial to treat knee osteoarthritis. The SDOMG facility in Carlsbad contains the most advanced Regenerative Medicine technology in San Diego and offers same day treatments with the highest level of safety, efficacy and patient satisfaction.



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