FAQs on Stem Cell Injections in Houston for Arthritis, Tendonitis, Ligament Injury

stem cellsStem cell injections have emerged as the breakthrough medication for degenerative musculoskeletal diseases and sports injuries affecting bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. An alternative to yet invasive surgeries, the therapy is an outpatient treatment that saves patients from costly and painful rehabilitation and potential post-operative adverse events. Contrary to palliative surgeries and artificial replacements, the stem cell procedure heals the injury and repairs the damaged tissues enabling a lasting, natural, and faster solution without recurrence of pain and side effects.

What Is Stem Cell Injection for Arthritis, Tendonitis, and Ligament Injury?

The stem cell injection procedure used to treat arthritis, tendonitis, and ligament injury involves injecting mesenchymal stem cells of an adult’s healthy tissues to his or her area of injury or the damaged musculoskeletal part subject to chronic degeneration.

Our body has millions of specialized cells spread across various organs and body parts. It is a natural process that these cells degenerate and regenerate as older ones die and new ones emerge. Stem cells are central to such natural restructuring of the human body, as these cells produce new cells that replace the weaker, degenerated, and less-functional cells.

The stem cell pain management therapy exploits this unique self-healing capability of the human body and targets healing injury and pain in tendons, ligaments, and joints, where degeneration overwhelms regeneration of cells leading to musculoskeletal disorders.

Who Can Benefit From Stem Cell Injection Therapy?

Stem cell injections are a successful treatment for people experiencing pain and other problems due to the following diseases.

  • Chronic hip, knee, and shoulder pain traced to degenerative disorder in ligaments or bones
  • Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint diseases that onsets with age and impacts stem cellssmooth functioning of joints and bone ligaments leading to pain and immobility.
  • Men and women with arthritis or inflammation of joints.
  • Spinal facet joint arthritis pain following breakdown of cartilage in joints of the spine or
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, a disease characterized with chronic joint inflammation and pain
  • Bursitis or inflammation of the soft tissue sac that cushions two joints during movement. It leads to pain in ankle, hip, wrist, knee, and shoulder.
  • Tendonitis or pain in hand, elbow, feet, ankle, and shoulder tendons, which connects muscles to bones, due to inflammation or degeneration. Tennis Elbow and Achilles Tendonitis are two prominent forms of sports injuries.
  • Patelofemoral pain syndrome where one feels pain and discomfort whenever the patella or back of the kneecap comes into contact with the femur. It is also known as Runner’s Knee disorder.
  • Chondromalacia or softening of the cartilage that leads to regular inflammation of the patella.
  • Meniscus Injury, a painful and debilitating knee injury caused by tearing of knee’s fibro-cartilage strips.
  • Baker’s cyst or tightness feeling in the knee
  • Tear or sprain in anterior, medial, and posterior cruciate ligaments
  • Enthesopathy or pain due to disorder in bone attachments
  • Any type or orthopedic or musculoskeletal pain caused by tissue degeneration

What Are Stem Cells? How Do Houston Pain Doctors Extract Them?

Stem cells are responsible for rebuilding and regeneration in the human body. Adult stem cells are undefined by origin and can easily be replicated to produce specialized cells to maintain the regeneration process and repair injured tissues.

Doctors at a Houston pain clinic extract “mesenchymal” stem cells from the bone marrow located in the curved superior border of the ilium, the upper and widest hip bone. The skin and the bone are numbed using anesthetic drug and liquid marrow is obtained from the bone cortex through a syringe. The procedure is painless and does not have any side effect.

What is the Procedure for Stem Cell Injections for Arthritis, Tendonitis, Ligament Injury?

Once the multipotent “mesenchymal” stem cells are obtained, the liquid marrow is immediately processed for injection. This procedure takes about half an hour, with the hip area being numbed significantly to minimize discomfort.

Another option for stem cell material is adipose tissue. This procedure also produces concentrated stem cells, but it does take a couple hours.pain procedure

A third option is amniotic derived stem cells. These are obtained from consenting donors after a scheduled c-section. The material is processed at an FDA regulated lab.

None of these treatments involve any fetal tissue or embryonic stem cells.

Do I Need Any Post-Procedure Care?

The procedure is an outpatient treatment and does not require any special care. However, if the stem cell therapy is used to heal ankles, knees, hips, or similar weight-bearing joints, it is advisable to avoid excess weight bearing for two days. At the same time, it is important to practice gentle protected movements while evading forceful activities.

What Are The Benefits Over Conventional Treatment?

Stem cell injections for arthritis, tendonitis, and ligament injury have a number of advantages over conventional surgery or other pain management procedures. Mesenchymal cells are found to replicate themselves into bone, cartilage, and fat cells easily. It helps with regeneration of tissues, which in turn accelerates the healing and replaces the degenerative cells.

With stem cell therapy, patients may avoid invasive surgical interventions, life-long medications, and intense and painful rehab. The biggest benefit is that it reinforces the body’s own repairing process without any foreign intervention, such as knee replacement, that has potential complications.

Is There Any Side Effects of Stem Cell Injections for Arthritis, Tendonitis, Ligament Injury?

Headache HoustonAs stem cells are extracted from the patient, the procedure does not create any risk of genetic disease transmission or rejection. Localized soreness and discomfort are the most common adverse effects that wither within 48 hours. The amniotic stem cell procedure has never been shown to create a host versus graft issue – it’s an immunologically privileged tissue.

Potential complications, including pain, nerve damage, and infection, may arise when the extraction and injection process is handled without adequate expertise. Patients taking “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications” are likely to have side effects unless advised to stop these drugs at least a few weeks prior to the therapy.

What is the Success Rate?

The stem cell injection therapy becomes effective within six to eight weeks of the procedure administration. As many as 400 studies have found the procedure effective for arthritis, tendonitis, and ligament injury, according to the ClinicalTrials.gov website. Researchers have attested 80 to 85 percent improvement in arthritic knee and injured shoulder following the treatment. Sever conditions may require a repeat course within one to three years.

A single injection increases the cartilage thickness enough to bring significant improvement in men and women with grade 3 and 4 arthritis within 24 months. (Koh et al. Mesenchymal stem cell injections improve symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Arthroscopy. 29(4);2013:748-755.)

The data presented at 2014 Las Vegas symposium of Orthobiologic Institute recognizes that stem cell injections lead to

  • 70% improvement in people with rotator cuff injuries within 15 months
  • 80% improvement in men and women with knee osteoarthritis within 12 months
  • 60% improvement in patients with hip arthritis or injured ankles within a year
  • On an average 70% improvement for other joint injuries


  • Jo CH, Lee YG, Shin WH, et al. Intra-Articular Injection of Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Proof-of-Concept Clinical Trial. Stem Cells. 2014 May;32(5):1254-66. doi: 10.1002/stem.1634.
  • Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis with Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells:A Pilot Study. Orozco L, Munar A, Soler R, Alberca M, Soler F, Huguet M, Sentís J, Sánchez A, García-Sancho- J. Transplantation. 2013 May 15.
  • Keerthi N, Chimutengwende-Gordon M, Sanghani A, Khan W. The potential of stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2013 Nov;8(6):444-50.
  • Mesenchymal stem cell-based treatment for cartilage defects in osteoarthritis. Qi Y, Feng G, Yan W. Mol Biol Rep. 2012 May;39(5):5683-9.
  • Regenerative Medicine for Musculoskeletal Disease
  • Kamei G, Kobayashi T, Ohkawa S, Kongcharoensombat W, Adachi N, Takazawa K, Shibuya H, Deie M, Hattori K, Goldberg JL, Ochi M. Articular cartilage repair with magnetic mesenchymal stem cells. Am J Sports Med 2013 Apr 19. [epub ahead of print]