Treating Elbow Pain with Adult Stem Cells


One of the most common orthopedic injuries we see at Performance Rehabilitation & Integrated Medicine is golfer’s and tennis elbow. Obviously, both of these conditions commonly arise from their respective sports for which they are named, however in clinical practice this is not always the case. Tennis elbow presents with pain and/or weakness in the muscle group on the outside of the elbow (lateral side) and golfers elbow on the inside (medial side). Medically, both of theses conditions are known as elbow tendonitis affecting some 7 million Americans each year.

Treatment Options:

Traditionally, the medical treatment included non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory, oral medication (NSAID’s), cortisone injections, physical therapy and home management. Physicians and therapists alike recognize that there is limited success with treatment and have welcomed the advancements in Stem Cell Therapy. Until recently, if a patient failed conservative treatment, their only option was a surgical release of the tendon and debridement, which has limited success.

Stem Cell Therapy for Elbow Pain:

Adult stem cell therapy is an exciting new treatment that is offering non-surgical, orthopedic solutions to otherwise potentially surgical conditions. Adult stem cell therapies are the wave of the future for treating chronic, unresponsive tendon conditions.

Stem Cell Therapy is quite simple.  Adult stem cells are obtained directly from the patient in a simple, pain-free procedure done in-office and reintroduced back to the patient (analogous), during a same-day one-hour procedure. Adult stem cells are different than the controversial embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cell procedures are FDA-cleared and safe for human application.

Adult Stem Cells are undifferentiated, special cells found in bone marrow (hip and lower leg) and adipose tissue (buttock and abdomen fat) which have been proven to repair and regenerate chronic tendon damage when grafted to the injured site, under the aid of ultrasound-guided imaging. Since tendon tissue has poor vascularity with limited healing compounds, stem cell injections are typically followed up with one or more Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) procedures. It is believed that Platelet Rich Plasma is the catalyst of the regenerative process by “turning on” growth factors and bio-active proteins that are essential for complete healing.

A common metaphor I use with patients to help explain the process is the stem cells are the lawn seed and the Platelet Rich Plasma is the fertilizer. Both are essential for the complete repair and healing of tissue. It is essential that the patient understands that the procedures described above are to repair and regenerate injured or degenerated tissue. Results are seen in 1-3 months and the patient does not typically experience immediate relief of symptoms. We encourage our patients to undergo 4-8 weeks of physical therapy after stem cell therapy to regain full strength, function and return to an active lifestyle.

Contact Us:

If you are experiencing Elbow Pain, call and schedule an appointment to discuss it with one of our doctors at 908-754-1960.

About the Author:

Joseph Mejia D.O., F.A.A.P.M.&R, Is a graduate of the University of Michigan and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. Dr. Mejia received his Fellowship Training in Interventional Pain Management from the University of Medicine and Dentistry. He has advanced training in Regenerative Medicine and is the Medical Director and Partner of Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.


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