A consultation with a medical director will follow the receipt of the data required on our referral form. During that 10-15 minute phone consultation, the prospect's suitability will be assessed. We will need to understand the nature of the problem to be treated, as well as any pertinent past medical issues. We will make sure there are proper indications for performing the procedure and for entering the patient in one of our trials.
Any X-rays will need to be sent to us prior to that interaction. We expect that our affiliate physicians will often be the referring physician, so much of the necessary work up will likely already be accomplished.
As these treatments are still considered experimental, insurance coverage for payment is not an option.
The cost of the procedure varies depending on the amount of cells harvested, as well as the methods and locations of deployment.
Our office staff will discuss pricing details after the initial consultation.
Once you have discussed your condition with our team and we have determined that you are a good candidate for treatment, we will set up your appointment in the office. You will meet with the doctor to discuss the procedure and then we will begin.
This is not an invasive procedure and we ensure that you are quite comfortable throughout the process. To start off, you will lay on your belly so that a small portion of your lower back can be cleaned and prepped.
There is no need to give general anesthesia or sedation for the procedure, which allows for quick recovery after the sample is collected. The entire collection process should only take 20 minutes.
Our team will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area where we will extract the adipose tissue used to harvest the mesenchymal stem cells.
These incisions will be no more than 4mm long and will occur on each side of the spinal column in your lower back area. We will collect 60cc's of adipose tissue through liposuction that will yield 15-40 million mesenchymal stem cells.
At this point, you are released to relax and stay in the waiting area or go grab a cup of coffee as our team proceeds with the preparation of the sample. This part of the process should take approximately 1 hour.
There are millions of stem cells in the sample collected. Our team must go through a sophisticated process of separating out the stem cells to be used in the treatment procedure.
Every stem cell collected is extremely valuable - so much so that we count every single one of them. This allows us to be very precise in our treatment process.
We will administer 1/3 of the 30-100 million harvested stem cells through an I.V. When stem cells are introduced to the body intravenously, they have exemplary anti-inflamatory attributes.
When it is applicable, we will then inject the remaining 2/3 of the 30-100 million stem cells directly into the affected body area that is in need.
By participating in this treatment protocol, you are contributing invaluable information to the science of stem cell research. Upon completion of the treatment you will be contacted by Cell Surgical Network (CSN) representatives at defined intervals to collect feedback on the results you are experiencing.
Q. What sorts of specialists are involved in this practice?
A: We have multiple types of specialists involved in this Northern California Stem Cell Treatment Center. They include orthopedic surgeons, pain medicine specialists, hair transplant experts, and wound care specialists to name a few. These physicians will help direct the harvested stem cells into the appropriate location as well as to delineate which patients might benefit from this therapy. In addition, the specialist will often follow up with these patients after the procedure takes place.
Q. How is eligibility decided?
A: The physicians and the medical director at the Northern California Stem Cell Treatment Center will be the ones who decide whether or not a patient is eligible. It will be very important that patients have certain medical characteristics in order to benefit from the procedure.
Q. Does having cancer a disqualify me in the use of stem cells?
A: Stem cell therapy is thought to be safe, not affecting patients with cancer. We, however, are unlikely to treat a patient with the stem cells that has widespread cancer.
Q. Who are the best candidates for stem cell treatments?
A: Patients who suffer from a disease in which traditional medical practices have not found great solutions for may be candidates for stem cell treatments. In particular, young patients who are advised that their orthopedic or back ailments require invasive surgery may be candidates for the regeneration and revitalization that can occur with stem cell treatments. Others with diseases such as autoimmune problems, for which traditional medicine has not come up with very many excellent therapies, may also be candidates.
Q. How do adult stem cells work?
A: The cells that are harvested and delivered are called progenitor or multi-potent cells. These cells have the ability to transform into different types of cells within the human body. In particular, we believe that these cells can be transformed into cartilage, bone, and fatty cells. The transformation of these cells into new cell lines may allow patients to heal the areas where these types of tissue are lacking. In addition, there appears to be excellent anti-inflammatory properties and healing properties from the solutions “used” around the stem cells that enable the cells already present in the treatment location to function better.
Q. Do you use embryonic stem cells?
A: No. In no way will any embryonic stem cells be used. The only stem cells that would be used are from the patient himself. These are called autologous stem cells, meaning that these cells are derived from the patient into whom they will be given.
Q. Are these procedures FDA approved?
A: This procedure is not FDA approved and cannot be FDA approved because it does not involve anything other than a person’s own tissue. The FDA does not approve or disapprove of any procedures like this, because it is a type of operation that they have no domain over. Instead, this is a procedure in which the person’s own cells are transferred in a concentrated form into an area where he or she may need them.
Q. How are the cells deployed?
A: All of our patients will have some of their cells given to them in an intravenous fashion. That is, the cells will be mixed with saline solution and be delivered through an IV to the patient. In addition, if the patient has a local process such as a bad knee, shoulder, back, or wound, some of the cells will be saved and injected directly into the affected area.
Q. Will some treatments need to be done more than once?
A: Occasionally, there may be some conditions in which the patient may need more than one treatment in order to improve. As these therapies are still being studied, the exact number and nature of this procedure will be difficult to determine other than in an individual manner.
Q. How long will it take to see improvement?
A. The anti-inflammatory qualities of the stem cells may begin to improve the patient’s condition within the first month or two. Longer term or permanent regeneration of tissue can take up to a year.