Stem Cell Therapy for Joint Pain Relief

  • The recent advance in regenerative medicine is the use of stem cells. Stem cells are harvested from the bone marrow or adipose(fat). They are the cells the body uses to repair and replace injured and damaged tissue. Stem cells are waiting in the bone marrow and fat for signals to activate them to come out because healing is needed. We typically have a small amount of circulating stem cells to do the random repairs of every day injuries.
  • At San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine, when we perform Platelet Rich Plasma treatments, the cascade of healing that the platelets start ultimately leads to the calling of the stem cells through growth factors and other chemical signals to come to the area and finish the tissue repair.
  • Now we are able to harvest the stem cells and place them into the tissue we want to repair.
  • Let’s look at the history of Regenerative Medicine. Initially, 100 years ago, prolotherapy was used to start a healing reaction in the injured tissue.
  • One hundred years later in the early 2000’s, we started isolating platelets and injecting them as a platelet rich plasma concentrate directly into the area we wanted to heal. We have found PRP to be about 10 times stronger than prolotherapy and more durable as far as long term results. PRP now has been used for joint healing and to regenerate collagen in the face.
  • Now we have the ability to harvest stem cells and inject them into the tissues to get even greater healing. We use bone marrow cells because they are easier to obtain and process. They also have many different stem cells within the aspirate to do the job of healing. The actual harvesting is much less uncomfortable compared to adipose.
  • We use the stem cells in 2 different ways. One is to inject the bone marrow concentrate into the joints to be regenerated similar to PRP. It is a potent healer of the joint tissues including cartilage. This is done in conjunction with PRP because inside the joint, PRP is needed to activate the stem cells. The other use of the stem cells is to harvest them and then give them back IV. We do this in patients who want to deliver the stem cells throughout their body through the blood. Remember, we have a small number of circulating stem cells in the blood. By giving them IV, we can increase that number of circulating stem cells to repair wherever they are needed.
  • In our office, we do what we call Total Stem Cell Therapy™ when we perform joint treatments. This consists of both of the above procedures in one sitting. When doing joint treatments, we harvest the bone marrow from the posterior pelvis. This is then processed and the lighter stem cells are injected into the joint with PRP. We then take the remaining stem cells and return them to the body in an IV. This way we are not losing any potential healing. This has proven to be a great combination.

Stem Cell vs Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for Knee Pain


We charge $2000 for the Total Stem Cell Treatment™ per joint. Doing 2 joints at one sitting is $3000.
We charge $1200 for the IV administration of the bone marrow aspirate.
Please call (619) 670-8028 with any questions.