Stem Cell Therapy Vs Spinal Fusion - Which Is Better?
Stem Cell Therapy Vs Spinal Fusion - Which Is Better?

Stem Cell Therapy Vs Spinal Fusion – Which Is Better?

Stem cell therapy has gained attention worldwide for its therapeutic effects and capability to prevent the need for surgery for orthopedic-related conditions. It is a type of regenerative medicine that utilizes the healthy stem cells from your body or a donor’s body to promote tissue repair and healing. The stem cells reach the specific injured tissues and differentiate into specialized cells that comprise the target tissue to promote recovery.

The origin or cause of spine pain is often difficult to identify, except in cases of accidents, which lead to inappropriate treatments and unnecessary complications. When traditional therapies like physiotherapy and medications fail to provide relief, orthopedic doctors suggest surgery as the only option.

Both stem cell therapy and spinal fusion surgery are used for treating spinal damage and have their own sets of pros and cons. This article is a comparative guide to help you figure out the ideal treatment for your spine condition.


Table of Contents:

Spinal Fusion Surgery – An Overview

Spinal fusion surgery is a surgical procedure done to join two or more vertebrae in the spine to improve spinal stability and relieve pain. Orthopedic surgeons recommend spinal fusion when there is a fracture or injury in the spine bone, Spondylolisthesis, abnormal curvatures, or unstable spine due to a tumor or infection. Among all the reasons, Spondylolisthesis is very common, for which spinal fusion surgery is necessary. It is a critical condition where one vertebra slips out of place on top of another vertebra. It usually happens in the lower back, resulting in chronic back pain, sensory loss, and numbness.

In spinal fusion, the surgeon makes an incision in the spine region and uses bone grafts to link two or more vertebrae so that they combine and heal into a single bone. The surgery aims to restore spine stability and relieve pain during motion. It eliminates motion between two or more vertebrae and prevents stretching of surrounding nerves, ligaments, and muscles.


Advantages Of Spinal Fusion Surgery

Although spinal fusion is a complicated procedure, it offers distinct benefits to patients suffering from spine conditions and helps improve their quality of life.

  • The surgery is intended to improve stability in the spine by locking motion between the adjacent affected bones or vertebrae. It ensures spinal flexibility with a comfortable range of motion among the unaffected vertebrae, thus allowing the spine to carry out various physical activities.
  • Spinal fusion effectively reshapes the spine’s abnormal curvature when it curves sideways. It can help correct spinal deformities caused by conditions like scoliosis.
  • The surgery helps deal with spinal weakness and instability resulting from severe spine arthritis due to excessive motion between two bones.

Read Also: Is Stem Cell Therapy A Cure For Neurodegenerative Diseases?


Risks and Complications of Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion has several risks and complications during the procedure and post-recovery. The complications range from minor issues that can be quickly resolved to severe ones requiring necessary interventions.

  • Spinal infusion poses the risk of infection post-operation, leading to pain, swelling, and excessive drainage at the surgical site.
  • Nerve damage during surgery is widespread, and this can result in pain, numbness, loss of sensation, and weakness in the lower back and legs.
  • Other possible complications post-surgery include poor wound healing, blood clots, and pain at the grafting site.
  • After the surgery, patients can experience complications, such as non-union of the fused vertebrae, which results in persistent pain in the back, leg, and foot.


Stem Cell Therapy – An Overview

Stem cells are undifferentiated immature cells found in the human body that can transform into a specific cell type and aid in tissue regeneration. Stem cell treatment for back pain promotes recovery from spinal damage caused by herniated or degenerative discs, sports injuries, accidents, etc.

The stem cell therapy process starts with stem cell harvesting either from the patient’s bone marrow or the donor’s. The harvested stem cells are concentrated in a clinical laboratory to prepare for injection, which is then introduced into the patient’s body. Stem cells can be injected intravenously or directly into the degenerate disc to start the healing process.


How Does Stem Cell Therapy Help Manage Back Pain?

The newly infused stem cells reach the target site and rapidly self-divide and self-renew into cartilage cells to replace the damaged tissues in the spinal disc. They release growth factors and promote tissue regeneration, allowing the damaged vertebrae to heal. Mesenchymal stem cell therapy using human umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells facilitates the formation of new blood vessels. It modulates a healthy surrounding cellular environment, enhancing the innate healing process.

Stem cells possess immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, which alleviate pain and inflammation. Over a few months, stem cell therapy completely repairs the damaged tissues, significantly improving spine stability and reducing pain.


Read Also: Stem Cell Basics: What They Are And How Do They Work


Advantages of Stem Cell Treatment in Spinal Damage

Multiple research and clinical studies show that stem cell interventions are effective for back pain and spinal cord injury are effective. Although this area of medical science is continuously being studied, the research results have been promising so far. The key benefits of stem cell therapy are as follows:

  • Stem cell administration is minimally invasive and causes minimum pain and discomfort. Unlike spinal fusion, no incision or cut is required to inject the stem cells into the injured site. It is done either intravenously or through spinal injections.
  • There is minimal chance of complications or side effects for stem cell therapy compared to traditional surgeries or spinal fusion.
  • The time required to complete stem cell therapy is much shorter than surgeries and is done without general anesthesia.
  • Stem cell therapy requires minimal recovery time, as patients can return home the same day. It also saves the costs of lengthy hospital stays and post-operative medications.
  • Stem cell therapy promotes the natural healing of damaged tissues in the spinal cord and doesn’t take the support of artificial implants to stabilize the spine. Hence, it is safer and less complicated than spinal fusion.

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Risks Associated With Stem Cell Therapy

Some risks exist despite the potential advantages of stem cell treatment for back pain and spinal damage.

  • Like any other medical treatment, stem cell therapy can have minor and short-term side effects, such as allergies or infections.
  • Patients might experience mild pain, swelling, redness, or rash at the injection site.
  • There is a chance of cell rejection by the patient’s immune system. However, mesenchymal stem cells collected from human umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells can help avoid this risk because these are new cells collected after healthy births and have zero risk of cell rejection.
  • Since stem cells can differentiate and multiply infinitely to form various cell types, it can lead to tumor formation.

Can Stem Cell Therapy Prevent the Need for Spinal Fusion Surgery?

Spinal fusion has been the most common treatment for degenerated discs, spinal cord injuries, and disc-related pain. The surgery relieves back pain by restricting motion in the affected vertebrae. However, current evidence in stem cell research suggests that it could create a paradigm shift in treating disc-related pain, providing necessary cellular support for tissue regeneration.

Stem cell therapy promotes back pain recovery by changing the disc environment with healthy cells. Statistics show that stem cells can significantly elevate the disc height between vertebrae and enhance spine stability. With more and more patients seeking less invasive, safe, and uncomplicated treatment procedures, stem cell therapy might serve as the best alternative to spinal fusion surgery, which is invasive, complicated, and has potential side effects.


Is Stem Cell Treatment The Right Choice For Me?

If you are experiencing persistent back pain with no signs of improvement after physiotherapy and medications, stem cell therapy is your probable solution. Back pain or spinal damage caused by degenerative disc disease, accidents, or sports-related injury can be treated using mesenchymal stem cells from human umbilical cord tissue. It can lead to sustainable relief from pain. The injected stem cells stimulate the body’s natural healing power and regenerate healthier and new tissues in the injured discs to eliminate pain.

Unfortunately, not all patients with spinal cord injury are suitable for stem cell therapy. The patient’s age, past medical conditions, and pre-existing diseases are critical factors in qualifying for treatment.


Premier Stem Cell Center In Mexico

Life Altering Stem Cell Therapy Institute offers safe and innovative therapies focusing on an integrated and patient-centered recovery approach. Our accredited facility adheres to international medical standards. Its team of highly qualified and certified stem cell specialists ensures that every patient has a comfortable stem cell therapy experience.

In addition to healing back pain, stem cell therapy is also a helpful treatment option for autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders, age-induced health problems, and many more.

Book a consultation today to learn more about stem cell therapy, the procedure, and how it may help you treat your condition.

Lead a healthier life with our advanced stem cell therapy.