We get it. Deciding on a treatment option for your injury can be overwhelming. This list will help you understand the pros and cons of Stem Cell Therapy and traditional surgery. It shows examples of what to expect from each type of procedure and teaches you how to find out which one is right for you.
Pros of Stem Cell Therapy
- Shorter Recovery Time
A traditional surgery can take months to heal and even longer for the patient to feel back to normal. With Stem Cell Therapy, your procedure pain will be back to baseline in about two weeks! Full results of Stem Cell Therapy continue to show up over time, but, depending on the procedure, patients can get back to normal life just a few days after the procedure.
- No Overnight Stays
Stem Cell Therapy is an outpatient procedure, meaning that you will arrive and return home on the same day. There are no extra charges or inconveniences from a night’s stay at the hospital. We recommend having a friend or family member drive to and from any regenerative procedure (like Stem Cell Therapy), but after that, patients should bounce back quickly.
- No scarring
Many major surgeries can leave necessary, but irreversible scars. Stem Cell Therapy uses precise injections to accelerate the body’s healing process and sometimes very small incisions. No big cutting needed!
- Fewer Risks
On rare occasions, surgery can result in serious complications. With more variables comes more risk of issues like blood loss or infection. These issues occur in a very small percentage of patients, but if there is an effective option that further minimizes major complications, it should be considered. Regenerative procedures, by nature, involve much less risk.
- Less Discomfort
Stem Cell Therapy is much more comfortable than surgery. For instance, anesthesia is not used in many regenerative procedures, so nausea, vomiting, or any other negative reactions that come with it can be avoided. Sore throat, thirst, and the general restlessness often experienced post-surgery are also not a problem. Besides some discomfort during the blood draw and injection, along with some pain immediately following the procedure, regenerative patients have less pain for a shorter duration.
- Keeps Options Open
If the injury persists or pain returns over time, patients can repeat Stem Cell Therapy or try other regenerative procedures and still see improvement. If pain persists after a major surgery, treatment options become more limited. Many solutions involve removing the damaged area altogether or replacing it with artificial components.
Pros of Surgery
- Insurance Coverage… Maybe.
Most insurance companies will cover the cost of medically necessary surgeries. Depending on the plan, this might be a good thing for a person who need surgery.
But what does “cover” mean?
This means first, that a pre-authorization is required. The physician’s office contacts the insurance company to ask whether or not they can proceed with the planned surgery.
Then your deductible comes into play. In today’s world, this number is getting higher and higher. You pay for 100% of everything up to the amount of your deductible. (For example, $8,000 is not unusual.)
Now, patients must consider the copay. This is a certain dollar amount and/or percentage paid for each visit. (For example, a copay could be $25 for an office visit with a primary care physician, but $75 for a specialist and $250 for an ER visit. But those are not the only payments. In a common 80/20 split, your insurance pays 80% and you pay 20%.) The cost of this copay is in addition to the cost of the deductible.
At this point, your out of pocket max enters the picture. Again, patients pay up to this amount, in addition to the deductible and copay costs.
There may be also differences in coverage for different categories of treatment. For example, psychiatric treatment will often have an entirely separate deductible, copay, and out of pocket max than other treatments. Thankfully, this is not an issue with orthopedic procedures.
There may also be entirely separate deductible, copay, and out of pocket max for screening procedures, compared to treatments. This would come into play with a screening colonoscopy as opposed to a colonoscopy done to look for polyps. Again, this should not be an issue with orthopedic procedures.
So, after paying the deductible, copay and out of pocket max, is the surgery now “covered.?” But wait! There’s more! The provider you chose is not “In-Network!” Now you start all over with less “coverage” for the deductible, copay, and out of pocket max.
As you can see, insurance coverage can add up to more than you think! Not all plans are created equal and some patients may find great coverage with their current plan. Patients should be sure to check and never assume that “coverage” means that you don’t have to pay anything or much! An educated consumer is the best consumer.
Before checking off insurance as a “pro” for a specific case, patients should try to get the most accurate cost of their portion of the proposed procedure. This may prove difficult since there is often a range given of what may be owed.
For more information on the cost of Stem Cell Therapy, read “Breaking Down Cost of Stem Cell Therapy, Insurance, and Financing.”
- Fixes for Irreversible Issues
Of course, procedures like a heart bypass or appendectomy can only be treated with surgery, but even injuries like a full-thickness full-width tear in a rotator cuff will most likely have to undergo an invasive procedure in order to be reattached. The ability to have surgery is a definite “pro” in this case. Stem Cell Therapy can assist and even speed up the healing process, but with a full-thickness full-width tear, patients need to take significant action. Patients should consult a trusted doctor to find out which procedure is truly right for them.
The pros of Stem Cell Therapy greatly outweigh any cons. With a shorter recovery time, no scarring, and fewer risks, regenerative medicine has become a life-changing option for patients across Salt Lake City (and the world!)
The Albano Clinic is committed to understanding your individual case and walking you through a customized treatment plan that will meet your needs. We want to get you back to what you love by helping you move better, feel better, and live better! Let us help you discover if Stem Cell Therapy is right for you.
We invite you to schedule a consultation online or by calling (385) 220-9009.