Top 10 FAQs for Stem Cell Therapy

Dr. Atluri
Dr. Atluri

Dr. Atluri is a pioneer of stem cell research. He has helped hundreds of patients in his stem cell clinic in Cincinnati, OH and has over 10+ years experience with extensive stem cell research.

Table of Contents

1. How Long Do Stem Cell Injections Last?

The average patient receives 5-10 years of pain relief from stem cell therapy.  We have even seen some clinical trials of up to 15 years of pain relief. 

For back pain, clinical trials have shown that even after 5 years, back pain hasn’t returned. For knee pain, the relief persisted even after 12 years in one study and 15 years in another study. 

We have been doing this procedure for many years. Patients who respond to this procedure have long-term pain relief. So far it is very rare that we have to repeat the procedure as it lasts for a long time.


2. How Long is the Downtime After Stem Cell Therapy?

We recommend that you take one week off work after the procedure. Additionally, for one month you should have restricted activity in the area where the stem cells are injected.  Patients are expected to have a significant increase in pain for 1 week after the procedure. We use strong painkillers during this time to help with this pain. After one week the pain gradually gets better. You will notice pain relief anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months.  Typically we provide a brace to protect the area from excessive activity.


3. What is the Success Rate of Stem Cell Therapy?

Many Clinical trials are showing a success rate of 70-80% of patients seeing significant pain relief. We are also seeing similar results in our patients. Some of the patients we treat can be challenging as these patients have seen multiple doctors, had multiple treatments performed, and medications prescribed. Through all of these past attempts to resolve their pain, they’re still having a tremendous amount of pain.

However, when these patients come to us for pain relief using stem cells, they are seeing outstanding results because of the following reasons:

  • We have a special extraction technique that allows us to get more stem cells from your hip bone than anyone else. We are routinely gathering at least 3 times the number of stem cells than what is reported in the published clinical trials. More stem cells mean better results.
  • We inject all the structures which are causing your pain. To treat back pain, the discs have to be injected as they are the primary source of pain. Secondary sources of pain like the facet joints need to be addressed as well to maximize pain relief. To treat knee pain, depending on the severity of arthritis, the bone, joint, and tendons may need to be injected. Only physicians with special training and expertise can administer these procedures. These injections are performed with precision using either an X-ray or Ultrasound machine.
  • Dr.Atluri is one the most experienced in the country to do this procedure. He has written a textbook about stem cell procedures and published many articles in medical journals. He trains other physicians.


4. How to Get the Best Value in Stem Cell Therapy?

There are 3 ways to tell if you are getting the right stem cell treatment for the expense you are paying from your pocket. 

  • The procedure must be performed by a physician who is specifically trained in performing the procedure. Additionally, physicians from the following specialties are well-positioned to perform these procedures: 
    • Anesthesiologists
    • Physical medicine and Rehab
    • Radiologists and Orthopedic Surgeons
    • Also, qualified physicians are capable of taking care of any complications that rarely occur.
  • The clinic should be using bone marrow stem cells which are extracted from the patient. Only these cells are allowed by the FDA. For spine and joint pain, most clinical data is from bone marrow stem cells. They have been proven to be safe and effective based on decades of research. Most importantly, they are YOUR cells.
  • The clinic should be owned by the doctors performing the procedure or by a hospital. Generally, clinics owned by business entities and Chiropractors tend to be more focused on profits unlike clinics owned by physicians and hospitals.


5. Why is Stem Cell Therapy Expensive?

The reason why stem cell procedures can be so expensive is because of the doctor’s experience, time, and skill. If the therapy is done right, It takes about 2 hours to perform the stem cell procedure. There is an additional cost for the supplies/equipment/medications needed for isolation and administration of the stem cells.  Also, there are costs for additional personnel like nurses and Radiology technicians.

Although Insurance covers surgical options this may end up being more expensive as we have to factor in the costs of deductibles, copays, additional medications, and physical therapy.


6. Should you get a loan to pay for the procedure?

Since you are paying from the pocket and there is no guarantee for success, currently we recommend getting this procedure only if you can afford it.


7. Does Insurance Cover Stem Cell Therapy?

Unfortunately, insurance does not cover stem cell therapy. Currently, there is no Insurance company that covers the cost of this procedure. Furthermore, even Medicare does not pay for stem cell therapy. Stem cell treatment procedures are paid out-of-pocket by patients. With that being said, at StemCures, we strive to make this therapy as affordable as we can.

Patients seeking better alternatives to traditional treatments have expressed increasing interest in stem cell therapy.


8. Does Insurance Cover Part of the Cost of Stem Cell Therapy?

Although Insurance companies do not pay for the procedure, they do pay for the initial consultations, follow-up visits, MRI scans, and preliminary lab work. 

Many structures can cause pain in the spine or the joint and the MRI can pinpoint which of these structures are causing your pain. All these structures need to be injected to get the best results. Most patients need an MRI prior to the procedure. Fortunately, many Insurance companies pay for the MRI. 

Preliminary lab work is also required to make sure you are an appropriate candidate for stem cell therapy. Fortunately, preliminary lab work is also covered by Insurance.


9. Why Doesn’t Insurance Cover Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy is still considered relatively new technology and the latest advance in the field of medicine. Since it is a novel treatment, it is still not yet accepted as the standard of care. There is clinical evidence in the published medical literature that if this procedure is properly performed, patients receive excellent results for their pain relief. Also, these studies have shown that complications are extremely low.


10. Will Insurance Ever Cover Stem Cell Therapy?

Although there is evidence that this procedure is less invasive, highly effective, and has minimal or no complications, it is still not accepted by the medical field. Although stem cell treatment has gained more and more traction over the last decade and new trials are being added every day, our opinion is that it will never be accepted or it will take many more years. Insurance companies still consider these therapies as experimental and not standard of care. Unfortunately, there are many bad or inexperienced practitioners in the stem cell field who are giving this procedure a bad name. As a result, this will make the acceptance of this procedure much more difficult.

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