Can stem cells really replace joint surgery?

Sep 16, 2019

The US Food and Drug Administration has warned against the hype surrounding stem cells and its cure-all aspect, notably the fact that some clinics are offering non-approved stem cell therapy.

A report from Kaiser Health News revealed that a stem cell company has plans to distribute stem cell treatments to several dozen employers, including Meredith Corp and Hy-Vee, and put them as part of their health insurance packages.

Individuals may be required to go to a stem cell clinic to get knee replacements, for example. Many companies offer stem cell therapy as a way to avoid orthopedic surgery since it is cost-effective way to get medical help, but does it really work?

The answer may be confusing, as decisions are largely dependent on advertising, testimonials, anecdotes and information given by daytime talk-show hosts. But the fact is that your decision should be based on objective data and scientific studies.

Unfortunately, such data may not be widely available to those who are looking for it.

One of the US FDA’s functions is to approve the use of medical devices and drugs for public consumption. Then, the organization tracks and follows a product’s progress and may issue recalls or publish adverse effects on dangerous ones. It’s a body of relevant and useful information, one that consumers can lean upon when determining if a product is safe and effective.

Unfortunately, non-biased data are sparse and often do not exist. For example, a particular doctor’s reliability, performance and outcome.

There are online reviews and state medical board platforms for checking on recorded sanctions, but nothing specific, i.e., follow up on how a patient fared after treatment. Or, an orthopedic surgeon may not ever know how his or her patient did ten years after administering treatment for joint pain or a broken bone replacement.

 A well-known treatment doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best or most effective. The same goes for a doctor’s tenure, or an employer deciding that a medical procedure should be included in their employees’ plan.

 Insurers Medicaid and Medicare are equipped to gather data regarding patient outcomes. These firms have the capability to record a patient’s treatment and come back to it years later to check for complications, function and other health markers.

Outcome information is deemed as one of the best methods in finding out the most effective treatment. The Kaiser example above brings to light employees’ struggles in health insurance and expenses. After all, companies should be able to provide health insurance and keep down the costs in the best way for all concerned.

Health Research Institute President David Lind says that employers may be looking for alternatives that haven’t been approved by governing bodies, and by doing so may be exposing them to possible harm. 

It’s said that a patient who’s suffering from excruciating chronic pain won’t have anything to lose, and therefore becomes more susceptible to remedies advertised on TV or from someone they know.

The bottom line is, medical care decisions can still be improved with more data and scientific studies.

We hope this serves you well. 

To your health,

The Healing Miracle Team

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