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Has any one heard about stem cell injections for Disc Degeneration?

TneitzelTTneitzel Posts: 39
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
So I have a family friend who recently returned from Colorado and had stem cell injection in his knee for loss of cartilidge. Having my two failed spine surgeries and chronic pain, trying everything to avoid a fusion (being as how I am only 22 years old). I had him ask some questions about these injections for discs. He said that the doctor told him that they cannot do them for discs in the United states because they have to grow the cells or something? However they do them in the Cayman Islands, and will most likely be doing them in the US withing five years. I am just wondering is anyone on here has tried these or at least looked into them. It costs 200 bucks just to have an over the phone consult with the doctor while he reviews your MRI. I think if there were any chance of these working for me I would much rather do them than a anterior/posterior fusion ( which is what they want to do on me in a year if I am not feeling better)...Sorry not quite to that point yet. I anyone has any light they could shed on this or and experiences with these please let me know, Thanks. Tom Tom.


  • I only heard of it done outside the states as you said, But sounds a litle extreme just to try to avoid a fusion on your lower back.

    I know many who had fusion at a young age and are doing fine so why go to such extreme measure instead of having the fusion if thats whats needed?

    I see you already had micro surgery and such so yes usualy when all that fails is when fusion has to take place to stop the shifting of your spine.

    Even if the stem cell was to help the disc if your spine is not stabe you would probably end up with fusion after spending who knows how much$$$$$ over seas and spine would sfill continue to shift as you described,

    Good luck,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • fusions in young people (less than thirty) dont work more than they do. I have had multiple surgeons tell me that. That is the reason why I am not apt to go right ahead and get THE MOST INVASIVE SPINE SURGERY there is. That is why I am looking into other options. Also if in theory they stem cells brought life back to the disc then that would fix the instability of the spine. Im not saying that is my only option but a spinal fusion being as young as I am is my absolutely LAST option. Sorry I'm not to excited about getting my stomach cut open, my guts moved around and also having a five inch incision on my back too, with no guarantee of that even actually working \....I'm good. I do like this site, I have got alot of helpful input out of it but one thing I do not like is how so many people are so pro fusions. I think that fusion surgeries should be done as an absolute last resort. When you have absolutely exshausted all other options. Especially in my case being only 22. Plus, Alexhurting, according to your signature, it doesn't seem like you have had too much luck with fusions (sorry to hear about that) but then why are you recommending them to others?
  • I think it's performed strictly on an experimental basis in the U.S., and in July Texas Governor Rick Perry had his own stem cells injected. If you type "Gov. Rick Perry's spinal fusion/spinal stem cell implant" into the search box, as I just did, you'll come up with some websites about that. Best wishes, and keep us posted. Love 'n >:D<, Ess
  • Im 22 also and on my 2nd surgery. Im 10 days out and if this surgery doesnt work its on to a fusion. I feel just like you in NOT wanting to have a fusion. Its depressing and a very last resort. I would def. try stem cells if that was given to me as an option! I hope you dont have to have a fusion. I was told with as you as i am if I get a fusion now my odds for more level fused is almost a certain thing. :(
  • A few years ago, I read about a biomed firm somewhere near the San Jose/San Francisco area working on cell technology for spinal discs. It was all experimental of course. Can't remember the firm's name -sorry-.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Any Canadians here, specifically from Ontario?

  • iv had a fusion ,long time ago ,id go for the stem cell thing if i could have it first,lot lot less pain full.
  • I contacted the people in Colorado. They cannot do anything for people with extruded herniation or tears in the Annulus. I understand your concerns about fusion. However, i just wanted to share my experience with you. I am 26 and three months post op fusion. MIS TLIF. I feel 10x better then pre surgery. I am working out and doing many things i could not before. I have had a great recovery so far and hopefully it will continue. Does having a fusion give you a higher chance of the disc above going? Sure and it probably will if you spend everyday doing manual labor of bending and lifting. Otherwise you might be able to modify a few things and be very happy and normal. Just wanted to add something positive.
  • no facts, just my opinion..... i would try the stem cell thing in a heartbeat. no hesitation.
  • would not want to go with experimental solution that is not approved in US (or at least a more reliable health system than the carribean). Just an opinion, don't mean to offend.

    Have you seen a Physiatrist? They tend to treat the entire muskular/skelatal system for pain. You can even ask them about stem cell.

    On the flip side, I do understand you wanting to avoid a fusion unless it's the last option. I'm 42 and doing the same. I am not where I want to be and had a torn/ruptured annulus and very little disc left at L5S1 (2 microdiscetomies). I have no feeling in my left buttocks, back thigh or foot to outer toe. I think the nerve is damage. My goal is to reduce the chronic pain. I just started seeing a Physiatrist per recommendation from my GP and NS b/c they are both very conservative and don't want to fuse me at my 'young' age of 42 unless there are no other options. Now, that being said, I may not be in as much pain as you are.

    Fusions can be done through smaller incisions these dys but it is still a BIG surgery.

    Anyhow, have you discussed this option with a reputable surgeon in the states? get their opinion? Ultimately it is your choice but you want to think through the implications if somethign goes wrong and make sure you have a doctor here that will help you.

    Good luck.
  • Tneitzel said:
    fusions in young people (less than thirty) dont work more than they do. I have had multiple surgeons tell me that.
    Did they tell you why fusions don't work so well in people under 30? Is it just because the risk of other discs failing? or somthing else?
    I'm 24 with a degenerated was herniated L5-s1 disc but the other discs are fine and lately Ive been thinking about a fusion alot more serouisly
  • So I have read through this thread. I am so excited about the future medical advances for the spine. As you can see from my picture... I know a little about fusions. I have never heard that fusions in younger ages didn't work as well. I'm not saying that isn't true or medically researched, but I have not heard that. My first fusion was age 9... it was a multilevel fusion from around T2-L3(ish), honestly don't remember the levels. That fusion went VERY well. In fact I was fused in just a few months, totally, at all levels. I will say that I have had a massive revision of that fusion and a continuation of fusions down to S1 at age 32.... and at the 6 month mark my doctor said he gave me a "C"...lol, that I had started fusing, but he had hoped I would have been further along. I go back in 6 weeks for the year mark to see how the fusion is doing. Maybe there is just something about the years 20-29 and not necessarily "young" or maybe I'm just an exception.... don't know I do think you are wise to consider other options outside of fusions as they are major surgeries. I think they should only be done in cases where you can no longer stand the pain (and since you are researching other options, you are at least tolerating the pain currently) or like in my case where the issues were going to put me in a wheel chair soon if I did not get my spine re-stabilized. I'm hoping the Stem Cells show to be safe and effective enough for the FDA to approve them because I believe they could do so much good for people (especially those in their 20's/30's) who like me were told, "They have the back of an 80 year old."....lol, **as I side note I have seen this 80yo comment many times on this forum and heard if myself from quite a few docs and always wonder... why 80? why do they really like to use the number 80?** My two cents, although I think you are wise for looking into all options, and you clearly aren't ready for a fusion just yet, I'd try to wait until the stem cell treatment is FDA approved. I know there have been times the FDA has approved faulty meds, and I also know that Tylenol would NOT be approved by the new FDA standards, but it is "grandfathered" in... I've been told that by several doctors actually... so the FDA isn't perfect, but it is what we have. Anyways, this forum isn't about judging each other, its about encouraging each other. I wish the best of luck in deciding what is right for you. If it does come down to the fusion, I promise... there is life after, and a great life at that... but I'm hoping for your sake you find a more conservative treatment that gives you the relief you need. It will be interesting to follow you on your journey so keep us posted!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • CampqueenCCampqueen Posts: 2
    edited 06/21/2015 - 8:45 AM
    My son had stem cell injections a week ago in two lower bulging disc. So far no improvement. Reason for injections: he has been in numbing pain for almost three years. Started with a stress fracture and then numbing on his right side from buttocks all the way down to half his right foot. Fingers crossed that the stem cell injections will work.
  • ignis627iignis627 Ormond Beach, FlPosts: 1
    Please, could you update on how did your son do after his stem cell injection sometime about June or July 2015, Thank You in advance
  • rossrross Detroit MichiganPosts: 21
    Hi Camp Queen
    I am hinking about a sem cell injection ofr a lower disc. How did your son turn out. Did the  disc regress back into its space
  • it has been several years, but if you are still on this site, wondering how you are doing? I agree with everything you said on you previous post. 
    I had L5  S1 fusion almost 2 years ago, at the age of 39, and it did not fuse! I think I am allergic to the metal, and want it removed. However because my back did not fuse, no doctor will do it.
    Curious how your research on stem cell worked out. and do you know anything about human growth hormones, to stimulate bone growth?
    Hope your doing well.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Hello YMG

    This is an old discussion created by a member no longer on the forum so I am closing it.

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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