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“STEM CELLS” Facts vs. Hype

Tulsa Bone & Joint is on the cutting edge of “stem cell” therapy. Patients can rest assured that our physicians take an honest, direct approach to this treatment. 

While “stem cells” are an exciting medical breakthrough, the treatment is not yet covered by insurance since it is not FDA approved. Our physicians are upfront about that fact and about sharing with a patient how effective they expect the biologics therapy to be.

“Stem cell” injections are never a cure for arthritis, for example.

“I believe these biologic injections are here to stay, and we will have more indications for orthopedic use as more research emerges,” says Tony Jabbour, MD. “We strive at Tulsa Bone & Joint to have honest discussions with our patients based on scientific proof.”

Dr. Jabbour has used “stem cells” (Autologous Conditioned Plasma or ACP) to treat pain in his own knees, but he is careful to point out that the treatment is not an arthritis cure. ACP has been proven to decrease knee arthritis inflammation in an FDA-sanctioned study.  ACP is still not covered by insurance.

“There is also lots of misinformation regarding what is truly a “stem cell” (bone marrow, fat) versus growth factor injections (platelet rich plasma – PRP, ACP, or concentrated amniotic fluid). We are extremely cautious on when to recommend them. PRP has been shown in a peer-reviewed study to treat chronic tendon problems such as Tennis Elbow. PRP is still not covered by insurance.

Be careful if someone is pushing you hard to pay thousands of dollars in their office or at a so-called seminar. Most claims regarding knee arthritis, at these seminars, have not been confirmed to be cures. The graphics on some marketing videos or lectures can be dazzling. Please get your doctor to stick to the facts. They need to be honest about this still being an investigational treatment without FDA approval, and not covered by insurance. Be cautious if your medical information and indications source is from Facebook, or other social media.

The physicians at Tulsa Bone & Joint who practice “stem cell” therapy believe there is a place for such treatments, but that they need to be conducted in a safe, professional and ethical manner. 

“We first determine if established, insurance covered, standard practices of medical care have been exhausted before moving on to these treatments,” says Keith Stanley, MD. “We would advise patients who pursue these treatments to do so through physicians (MD or DO) who can clearly establish this as a part of their specific medical practice.”

Dr. Stanley cautions patients exploring the possibility of biologics treatments to be wary of medical practices that are trying to sell a special package to make a quick dollar. “Your treatments should be through a legitimate practice in orthopedics and sports medicine.”

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with one of our credentialed physicians to discuss the possibility of stem cell treatments, call 918-392-1400.

  • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
  • aana
  • American Medical Association
  • Tulsa County Medical Society
  • The University of Tulsa