RANDALL F. DRYER, M.D.
TOP RATED U.S. SPINE SURGEON
Results So Far: Stem Cell Therapy and Spine Surgery Help
Feb 20, 2017
A spinal injury, even a minor one, can have massive and widespread effects on an individual’s life. For example, if the injury causes you to have trouble bending over, that means something as simple as tying your own shoes become a lengthy endeavor and holding your new grandchild can be as painful as it is wonderful. At Central Texas Spine Institute, we know just how much impact even a minor spine or neck injury can have. We strive to stay on top of the best techniques and processes so we can help you heal as fully as possible. As we discussed in a previous blog post, one of the most promising newer techniques for healing spinal injuries involves using stem cell therapy. As research continues worldwide, we are coming to see just how much potential stem cell therapy has for healing spinal injuries.
Spinal Injuries are Complicated
The advancements happening in stem cell research and therapy are a huge stride forward when it comes to spine and neck injuries because it offers something back and neck surgery cannot fully help. What makes a spinal column injury so complex and complicated to fix is because of one simple (and unfortunate) fact: the spinal cord doesn’t heal.
When the spinal cord is injured, the body’s responses to try to protect the area include an inflammatory response that causes the spinal cord’s nerve axioms to retract. Once that happens, the scar tissue comes in and prevents healthy cells from bridging the gap across the damaged area. What this means, in laymen’s terms, is that the lasting effects of a spinal injury happen because the damaged nerve endings can no longer carry messages from the brain to all areas of the body and the body does not have a way to reconnect those damaged connections.
Stem Cell Therapy
This is what is so very exciting about the research results of stem cell therapy for spine injuries. According to this article from Medscape, orthopedic surgeons and researchers have been looking for ways to use stem cells to successfully bridge the gap left when the nerves retreat in a spinal injury. In a study conducted in Brazil, patients with no movement or feeling below the waist all regained sensation in their legs and some regained a bit of movement. A similar study in India shows how stem cell therapy helped bridge those connections enough that some patients were able to walk assisted after several months of therapy.
As stem cell therapy is still a relatively new technique for healing spinal injuries, the technology and processes are still evolving and are not without some risks. However, as studies continue across the globe, those risks will lessen.
If you need back or neck surgery, call Central Texas Spine Institute today to schedule a consultation. Our orthopedic surgeon will work with you individually to develop the best course of treatment for your injury, whether that is spine surgery, physical therapy, or a combination of options. Schedule today!