Finding an injury clinic specializing in stem cell therapy and regenerative orthopedics, and then vetting each one can be difficult and overwhelming. So many patients are exhausted, and simply tired of being in pain. While they want to get results quickly, they also want to make sure the time and money spent on each procedure will be spent on the strongest products that provide the best results.
Unfortunately, there are clinics relying on the buzz of products and procedures that sound cutting edge or more powerful, but in reality, are overpriced at their best and a low-quality experience at their worst. Instead of focusing on proper vetting and training, many clinics spend much of their time and energy on marketing a product that sounds good, even if it does not give the best results.
So, how can you tell if you’ve found the right physician for the job – and why are we the ones to help you vet them?
At the Albano Clinic, we want you to experience the relief that is well worth your hard-earned time and money. Open communication and trust are important to us, and at the end of the day, we just don’t want you to be fooled.
Physicians like Dr. Joe Albano and his team at the Albano Clinic are passionate about creating holistic, customized treatment plans to relieve pain and promote healing. We are a Salt Lake injury clinic that strives to stay up-to-date on advancements and improvements in regenerative orthopedics but puts the focus on both thoroughly training and vetting our staff, and ensuring safety, accuracy, and real results for our patients.
Our goal is to help you make informed decisions about your health. We want to help you understand what is happening in your body and exactly how certain treatment types can make a difference. We only prescribe procedures that are right for you, then perform them with the utmost care, excellence, and precision.
Since Dr. Albano started doing these procedures in 2007, we’ve seen myriads of patients experience real pain relief and get their lives back!
The beauty of stem cells is that they can adapt to what your body needs. When carefully targeted into an injured area, stem cell injections accelerate the body’s natural healing process, relieving pain and, in some cases, regenerating lost or damaged tissue. These procedures are noninvasive and leave room for future treatments should you need them.
So, back to the question at hand: how can you tell the difference between a provider offering real, effective stem cell therapy, and a provider who is acting as a modern-day “snake oil” salesman?
Here are 3 steps to help you distinguish between true scientific terms and “buzzwords,” when searching for a physician or getting a consultation.
1. Understand the two types of stem cells.
Autologous stem cells come from the patient’s own body. In the office, they are harvested from two different areas of healthy tissue: Fat and bone marrow. Allogeneic stem cells come from outside the patient’s body. These cells contain healthy growth factors that boost your body’s natural healing mechanisms. They are gathered from amniotic fluid, exosomes, placental tissue, and umbilical cord tissue or umbilical cord blood. These types of tissue are typically discarded after a normal birth and are gathered safely and ethically.
2. Understand when stem cells are living, and when they are not.
If you see a clinic or physician advertising “living” stem cell treatments, this should raise a red flag in your mind. Stem cells are living when they are freshly harvested. When a physician harvests autologous stem cells from your own body, these cells are living.
The issue arises when clinics advertise “new” or “living” allogeneic stem cells from sources like amniotic fluid, placental cells, or umbilical cord fluid. While these “stem cells in a jar” offer an attractive alternative to harvesting your own, they just don’t exist. These allogeneic stem cells have plenty of merit due to growth factors, but they are not “fresh” tissue and have no living stem cells. Once these cells are harvested, they must be tested for infectious disease, preserved, and transported, leading to stem cell death and no “living” stem cells by the time a doctor uses them in a patient. No matter what you are told by the salesman, they are not alive. We have tested many products and the literature arrives at the same conclusion.
Understanding these practical limitations can help you make informed decisions about providers and keep you from accidentally overpaying for a “living” stem cell procedure and wind up with the oil of a snake instead.
3. Understand that each type of stem cell product has its own merit, and can be used in combination for the best results.
Some clinics may market amniotic stem cells as more “poignant,” “cutting edge,” or “higher strength” than other types since they are younger. And who wouldn’t want the more active stem cells of a baby? But if the stem cells are not alive, they are certainly not stronger.
Each type of tissue has its benefits. The amniotic fluid that has been processed retains growth factors and cytokines that can still powerfully promote healing in injuries. Your blood (Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP) is full of growth factors and easy to harvest, while bone marrow and fat hold the highest count of stem cells.
Most often, physicians will prescribe a combination of these stem cells that suit each patient’s specific level of damage and personal situation. The focus should be less about what is the “latest” or “strongest,” and more about the precision and personalization of the procedure.
4. Understand how your physician will ensure that the stem cells go into the correct location.
Ask your physician how he will ensure that these expensive stem cells are injected into the correct location. The physician should use some sort of guidance, such as ultrasound or fluoroscopy. Some physicians will say that they don’t need to use guidance. The literature says otherwise. Even very experienced physicians will not put an unguided injection into the correct location 100% of the time. (This number can be as low as 30% in difficult joints!) Do you want to ensure that your investment of time and money will actually get to the correct place? Then insist on guidance from an experienced physician.
If this information sparks curiosity or questions, let us continue the conversation. Get answers to your questions and talk to an expert who really cares by scheduling a consultation with the Albano Clinic today! We welcome curiosity and desire to build mutual trust.
Don’t be fooled into wasting your time and money by paying more for “living” stem cells. These practitioners and businesses may not be what they seem.
Use this information to begin asking good questions and find a physician who will give you the best care! Thrive with your newfound knowledge of not only how stem cell therapy actually works, but also what is best for you and your body.