Stem Cell Injections

Stem cell injections are a treatment option that may be recommended to treat several different orthopedic conditions and injuries. Though the use of biologic therapies like stem cells is a relatively new form of treatment, it has been shown to be effective for certain conditions.

When using injections like stem cells to treat an orthopedic condition, it is highly recommended that you see a board certified orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Hanzlik. There are many different types of clinics that offer stem cell injections, but many are not board certified and do not have the specialized training needed to accurately diagnose a condition or injury, which is critical to developing an effective treatment plan. When Dr. Hanzlik recommends stem cell injections, they are typically done alongside other treatment methods to ensure that patients receive maximum benefits.

Since stem cell injections are cutting-edge orthopedic treatment, you may have several questions before pursuing this treatment. Below are some of the most common questions patients have about stem cell injections.

What are stem cell injections?

Stem cells are cells that have the ability to develop into other types of cells. With this in mind, the goal of stem cell injections is to promote healing by harvesting and injecting stem cells into an area of injury. Since stem cells have the ability to develop into other types of cells, by injecting the stem cells into damaged tissue, they can generate new tissue cells to help the injury heal more quickly.

Though stem cells can be harvested from different sources, Dr. Hanzlik uses stem cells harvested from the patient’s own bone marrow or fat cells.

What conditions can be treated with stem cell injections?

Stem cell injections can be effective in treating several orthopedic conditions, including:

  • Arthritis - Arthritis wears down the cartilage that protects the joints and prevents the bones from rubbing against each other. Injecting stem cells into areas of cartilage damage may help to repair cartilage damage and reduce inflammation in the joint. This can, in turn, help patients avoid or delay the need for more invasive procedures like joint replacement.
  • Tendonitis - Tendonitis occurs when the tendons, the tissue that connects our muscles to our bones, becomes inflamed due to an injury or overuse. Tendonitis can occur throughout the body; common forms of tendonitis include tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, Achilles tendonitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, and jumper’s knee. Injecting stem cells into the inflamed tendon can help to reduce inflammation and lead to a quicker recovery.
  • Ligament injuries - Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect the bones in a joint, supporting and stabilizing the joint. Ligaments can stretch out or tear with sports activity or other injuries, leading to inflammation and joint instability. Ligament injuries may occur in the knees, elbows, ankles, or shoulders. Stem cell injections can help reduce inflammation associated with ligament injuries and promote quicker healing.

Dr. Hanzlik often uses stem cell injections alongside other treatments, including surgery, to help promote quicker healing.

How are stem cell injections administered?

Stem cell injections are administered in Dr. Hanzlik’s office. First, bone marrow or fat cells are taken from the patient. These cells are then placed in a special machine that selects and separates the stem cells from the other materials. The stem cells are then prepared and re-injected into the affected areas. Patients only need to receive one stem cell injection to see results.

Are there any potential side effects or drawbacks to stem cell injections? 

Stem cell injections are relatively low-risk, especially when compared with other, more invasive, procedures. There are generally no negative side effects with stem cell injections.

With that said, because stem cell injections are such a new treatment option, insurance companies will not cover it. Though it can be a very effective and minimally invasive option, patients typically have to pay out-of-pocket for stem cell injections.

Is there any downtime afterward?

Dr. Hanzlik recommends partial weight-bearing on the joint right after receiving the shot, but there is no extended downtime after stem cell injections.

When do you see results from stem cell injections?

Patients typically begin to see improvement within 3-6 weeks after receiving a stem cell injection, and continue to see improvement over 3-6 months.

Stem Cell Injections in Oregon City & Tualatin, OR

Dr. Shane Hanzlik is one of the few board certified orthopedic surgeons in the Portland area offering stem cell injections. Dr. Hanzlik has the specialized training necessary to ensure an accurate diagnosis before treatment options are discussed. When it is beneficial to the patient, he recommends stem cell injections as a potential modality in the patient’s treatment plan. Dr. Hanzlik often uses stem cell injections alongside other treatments and procedures to enhance the benefits of treatment and improve the recovery process. If you would like to learn more about stem cell injections or schedule an appointment with Dr. Hanzlik, please call our office at (503) 214-1101 or request an appointment via our convenient online form.