This article is about the Stem cell therapy cost for Spine and Joints possibly being cheaper than “out of pocket” costs in spite of carrying insurance.
One of my patient Brenda who was suffering from knee pain for many years. She spent less money on her stem cell treatment for her knee pain when compared to the the “out of pocket” insurance costs. Despite spending a lot of her own money on traditional treatments, she continued to suffer. She failed physical therapy, medications and multiple injections. She said she underwent at least 20-25 knee injections which gave her only short term relief. Brenda estimates that she may have spent anywhere between $5000 to $7000. Finally she decided to have bone marrow stem cell procedure which gave her significant pain relief. Not only she is extremely satisfied with this one time treatment, this therapy cost her less than what she spend from her pocket on traditional therapy.
To summarize, she spend less money from her pocket for stem cell therapy and got superior pain relief. This concept applies to all patients suffering from spine pain or pain from any joint. This article is food for thought. Do you want to spend money on conventional therapy or stem cell therapy? Its your hard earned money and most importantly its your health. Brenda chose wisely. See her story in the video below.
Knee Pain is common.
Painful knee arthritis occurs in 10% men and 13% in women aged 60 years or older. The number of people affected with knee arthritis is likely to increase due to the aging of the population. Some studies estimated the lifetime risk of developing symptomatic knee OA to be about 40% in men and 47% in women. Women not only are more likely to have knee arthritis than men, they also have more severe form of it.
Traditional treatment for Knee Pain.
As described by Osteoarthritis Research Society International, the treatment of knee arthritis varies from simple measures like diet, excercise, braces and TENS units to medications like tylenol, oral/topical NSAIDS[advil, motrin, voltaren etc], opioid pain killers[vicodin, percocet etc]. Most patients also undergo one or multiple rounds of Physical Therapy. Injection therapy with hyaluronic acid and steroids are also commonly used. Unfortunately, most patients do not get enough relief with these treatments.
Knee Replacement may not be the answer.
The only option left for these patients suffering from knee arthritis is knee replacement. Although many patients do well, some patients continue to have pain. According to one study, up to 10% of these patients require a second surgery. Complications range from life threatening lung clots to serious adverse events like bleeding requiring blood transfusions and knee infections. Persistent pain and stiffness are also commonly seen. Additionally, cost is also an issue. The average cost is estimated to be around $50000. Although insurance pays most of it, many patients end up paying 10-20% of these costs. Patients also need to undergo extensive physical therapy after the surgery. Because of all these issues, many patients are looking at alternatives to surgery.
Stem cell transplants in the knee joint seems to be promising.
Although, there are not a lot of studies, existing studies reveal excellent patient outcomes with no serious complications. Many physicians who perform these procedures report high success rates. However, this treatment is not covered by insurance and patients have to pay from their pocket. The cost ranges from $5000 to $7000. To get the best cost effective care, finding the right clinic is very important.
Out of pocket costs for traditional therapy add up quickly and can be more expensive than stem cell therapy cost for spine and joints.
In spite of having insurance, patient’s financial responsibility is increasing over the years. Traditional non-surgical and surgical treatment of knee arthritis is unfortunately expensive and the failure rate is high. If you add up the costs for the copays and deductibles for long term medications, office visits, multiple procedures and hospital bills, the total expense easily would run into thousands of dollars. Sadly, despite spending thousands of dollars, many patients do not get the pain relief they are seeking. Interestingly, the stem cell therapy, in most cases is cheaper than out of pocket costs of conventional treatment and the results seem to be long-lasting.
I am not suggesting that patients with chronic knee pain jump to stem cells. All I am saying is do not relentlessly pursue traditional treatments even though they are not helping. Some patients will benefit from these treatments. They should continue with them. But if they fail, you should definitely consider stem cells before total knee replacement. Just like Brenda, who realised that the stem cell therapy cost for spine and joints is cheaper than “out of pocket” insurance cost.
Although I was discussing mainly about knee pain and the out of pocket insurance costs, these concepts apply to any spine and joint pain.
Dr. Sairam Atluri is a pioneer of stem cell therapy in the Cincinnati area. He is one of the very few in the country performing intra-discal and subchondral injections to treat back pain and joint pain. He gives national talks and teaches other physicians about stem cell therapy. He is also a co-editor of one of the largest textbooks about regenerative medicine. Dr. Atluri is part of the team which wrote the ASIPP guidelines for stem cells to treat back pain. He is one of the few in the area to be certified in Regenerative Medicine by American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians [ASIPP].