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HomeBlogPain ManagementStem Cell Treatment for Knee Pain is an Alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery

Stem Cell Treatment for Knee Pain is an Alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery

It’s a pretty simple fact. According to reports, over half of adults in the United States will develop osteoarthritis in one or both knees in their lifetime. This a statistic that’s even more pronounced in older adults, and unfortunately chronic knee pain has the ability to severely limit activity in older adults when they crave mobility the most — during retirement years.

Knee osteoarthritis occurs in older adults when cartilage in the knee begins to deteriorate, causing the padding between the knee and joints to break down. This condition can make even the most simple task such as getting out of a chair a difficult and painful process.

The most common and permanent treatment for knee osteoarthritis has become knee replacement surgery, or arthroplasty. Orthopedic surgeons perform over 600,000 knee replacements in the United States annually.

Arthroplasty can include partial or full knee replacement and involves one to two hour invasive surgery in which patients receive anesthesia followed by a three to four day stay in the hospital and months of physical therapy to return to full mobility. A high percentage of patients report a return to a normal or improved activity level, but knee replacement surgery can be a difficult and frustrating process. Fortunately there are developing alternatives to knee replacement surgery.

Stem Cell Treatment for Knee Pain

Stem cell research dates its origins back to the early 1980s. However, human treatment with stem cells did not begin until 2010 when a patient with a spinal injury received human embryonic stem cells as part of a trial in California. Today, stem cells are used successfully in a variety of treatments, including knee osteoarthritis.


Candidates for stem cell treatment for knee pain are patients who suffer cartilage injury from debilitating conditions, like osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Patients suffering knee pain from overuse and trauma may also be suitable candidates for stem cell treatment.

Stem cell treatment for knee pain is done by injecting a patient’s own harvested stem cells to stimulate the body to repair and replace damaged tissue joint or soft tissue around the knee structure. This is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in an out-patient facility like the Twin Cities Pain & Regenerative Medicine office located in Edina, Minnesota. This procedure normally requires no hospital visits and patients report seeing relief and a return to normal activity in as little as just a few weeks, instead of months.

Knee Replacement Surgery vs. Stem Cell Treatment: What are the risks?

Naturally, with any invasive surgery there are a host of risks. When it comes to knee replacement surgery those risks include anesthesia complications, infection, blood clots, nerve and artery damage, allergic reaction or rejection of implants used to rebuild the knee. The risks associated with stem cell treatment for knee pain are a fraction of those associated with surgery. Essentially the biggest risk is infection in the stem cell extraction in injection sites.

Is Stem Cell Treatment for Knee Pain Right for Me?

Not everyone who is experiencing knee pain for any reason is a candidate for stem cell treatment. The best way to determine if you are a candidate is to make an appointment to be evaluated by our own team of stem cell treatment specialists. Your evaluation will include a complete physical examination and any associated xRays or MRIs to get a complete picture of your knee structure.

To talk to a specialist at Twin Cities Pain & Regenerative Medicine, simply contact us via our online form or call our office at 612-483-9683.

Stem cell therapy does not work for everyone. At this time, the FDA has not approved it as a treatment for musculoskeletal conditions.

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