Do you have an injured ligament in your knee? Injuries like a torn ACL or MCL can leave you on the bench for months, if not longer. Traditionally, the go-to treatment for this sort of injury was surgery. While surgery is still performed in many cases, there is now an alternative to consider: stem cell treatment. A doctor can inject stem cells into the injured tissue. They will differentiate into ligament cells, healing the tear or other damage. So, is stem cell treatment a good choice for your injured knee ligament? Consider these pros and cons to help you decide.
Pro: You're not introducing foreign substances to your body.
There's no risk of an allergic reaction or rejection with stem cell treatment. The stem cells that are used will be your own. They will be removed from your own bone marrow, sterilized, and then injected into your knee. Most patients get good results, but even if you don't get outstanding results, you won't be any worse off than you were before the procedure.
Con: Not all insurance plans cover it.
Stem cell therapy has been around for a while, but some insurance companies still classify it as a new or experimental procedure, and they may not fully cover it. If your insurance refuses to pay for this treatment, your doctor may be able to appeal this decision, but there are no guarantees that the insurance company will change its mind.
Pro: The recovery time is very short.
Surgery to repair your knee requires a good amount of recovery time — weeks, if not months. Stem cell treatment comes with almost no recovery time. While your knee will take time to heal from the initial injury after the stem cells are injected, you will not be healing from the stem cell treatment itself. There are no incisions; the needle prick is quite small.
Con: Not all orthopedic surgeons offer the procedure.
Your current orthopedist may not offer stem cell treatment. They may have to send you to a specialized practice, which could be a good drive away since this is a fairly niche procedure. This could mean planning for travel or some extra time off from work.
If your insurance covers it and you're able to find a provider nearby, stem cell treatment can be a great choice for knee ligament injuries. It's less invasive than surgery, and the healing time is much shorter. Contact a clinic that offers knee pain stem cell treatment for more info.