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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?
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  • 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
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  • 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.
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