Stem cell therapy harnesses your body’s natural healing ability by using stem cells to treat musculoskeletal injuries and conditions like arthritis and soft tissue injuries. The New England Stem Cell Institute is a national leader and pioneer in stem cell therapy. Dr. Paul Tortland and Dr. Jeffrey LaVallee were the first doctors in New England and among the first in the United States to do stem cell-based treatments. All the stem cell-based treatments that they perform use cells from your OWN body, typically derived from bone marrow or fat. Today, they still lead the way, offering an unsurpassed level of skill and expertise.
We began performing bone marrow-derived stem cell treatments in 2008 and fat-derived stem cell treatments in 2009 – the first in New England for both and among the first in the entire country. Few practices in the country have our level of skill and experience with these therapies.
Stem cells are naturally occurring cells in the body that have the potential to turn into other types of cells and body tissues. They also serve an important signaling functioning, recruiting other stem cells to the target area and triggering nearby cells to begin the repair process. In fact, most scientists think that this messenger activity is the main way that stem cells work.
Contrary to what most people think, including most physicians, stem cells do NOT work their magic by differentiating into new tissue. Instead, they largely act as high-powered messengers that signal other cells--including other dormant stem cells--in and around the damaged tissue to turn on and begin the healing process.
It’s important to note that currently there is no such thing as a pure stem cell treatment. Whether derived from bone marrow or fat, the solution that gets injected contains many types of cells, not just stem cells. It also contains healing proteins and growth factors. It’s a total package of stem cells, other cells, and the associated proteins and growth factors that are involved in the healing response.
While the use of stem cells is gaining in popularity, it’s important to note that not all stem cell treatments are the same. How the stem cells are obtained and how they’re processed can have a major impact on effectiveness. In addition, even the best stem cell products will be minimally effective if not administered properly. At the New England Stem Cell Institute, we use the latest technology to harvest your stem cells to ensure the highest quality product. We also perform all of our injections under direct ultrasound guidance so you can be assured of the safest, most accurate, and most effective treatment.
The doctors at the New England Stem Cell Institute use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for treatment. The cells are obtained from either your own bone marrow or your fat using gentle, minimally invasive techniques right in the office. We do not use embryonic stem cells.
These adult stem cells have the exceptional ability to help direct the healing of cartilage, tendon, ligament, muscle, nerve, bone, skin, and fat cells — virtually every type of tissue except blood cells.
Cells from both bone marrow and fat have been shown to have excellent healing potential. Whether we use cells from fat or from bone marrow depends on several factors including your age and the nature of the injury being treated.
Many clinics are advertising “stem cell” treatments using products derived from human amnion, placenta, or umbilical cord blood. However, independent testing has proven that NONE of these products contain ANY live, viable stem cells. Period. While some of these products can be useful in certain regenerative medicine applications, they are NOT “stem cell” treatments!
Your doctor at the New England Stem Cell Institute can harvest cells, including stem cells, from your bone marrow using a local anesthetic and a revolutionary device that reduces the time it takes to extract the stem cells. After the area is fully numbed with anesthetic, a special needle is inserted into the back of your hip in an area where the bone marrow is packed with regenerative cells. The marrow cells are drawn into a syringe, at which point they’re ready to inject. The entire process of harvesting the cells, from preparation to injection, takes less than 15 minutes.
To harvest regenerative cells and stem cells from your body fat, our doctors at the New England Stem Cell Institute first numb the skin with a local anesthetic, insert a thin wand into the targeted fat, and inject a solution containing sterile water and anesthetic. This numbs up the fat so the harvesting process is painless. It also softens the fat to help make it easier to draw out.
After the numbing solution sits in the fat layer for 15-20 minutes, your doctor inserts a different wand into the fat and gently suctions it out.
The harvested fat is then processed on-site while you wait (about 10-15 minutes). The processing breaks the fat up into microscopic-sized particles that not only makes it easy to inject into a damaged area, but the processing also helps release the regenerative cells and stem cells so they can begin to work. From the start of the procedure to your injection, the entire process takes about 60-80 minutes.
Once your stem cells are harvested, they’re injected directly into the damaged tissues using ultrasound or fluoroscopic X-ray imaging to guide the needle. All treatments are done right in the office using local anesthetic. For those people who are more anxious about getting the treatment, we offer nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) during the procedure for a small additional fee. This is completely safe and very effective at calming any lingering nerves.
Stem cell-based treatments can be used to address most types of bone and soft tissue injuries, such as:
If you suffer from ongoing pain and slow-healing tissues, call the New England Stem Cell Institute or request an appointment online to learn if you’re a good candidate for stem cell-based treatment.