“Stem Cells” for the treatment of joint pain and other musculoskeletal conditions has become quite popular. However, despite the mass advertising from many types of healthcare providers, from plastic surgeons, pain clinics and naturopathic physicians, there is no evidence that these preparations have a meaningful impact on ANY musculoskeletal condition. Some studies suggest  clinical improvement but nearly all studies are no better than placebo and are poorly designed. In addition, TRUE stem cell usage remains non-FDA approved in the US and ILLEGAL. Unless cells are cultured and grown (aka MANIPULATED), such as adipose (fat) or bone marrow aspiration, there are not enough true stem cells to produce any effect. Thus taking fat or bone marrow and “spinning it” does not constitute “stem cell” therapy and borderlines on unethical medical treatment unless it is specifically stated, and a contract signed, that states the patient is not receiving a therapeutic level of stem cells and that the use of such autologous tissue is not FDA approved and long term affects are not understood. ALL potential risks must be disclosed including the risks associated with harvest of the tissue, risks of injecting it and the potential risks of negative outcomes such as TUMOR GROWTH. An ethical medical practice will disclose all of these things, and more, and provide patients with accepted literature and FDA status of these tissues. Unless part of an FDA approved study, any medical provider offering these treatments and charging large fees should be met with suspect and questioned. Below are 3 recent reviews and editorials from well respected Orthopedic resources which can provide some insight into this rapidly growing area of medical research and the misuses associated with this technology.

Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis
JBJS Editorial Stemm Cells
Stem Cells in Orthopedics – A Comprehensive Guide for the General Orthopedist – The American Journal