Intra-articular application of mesenchymal stem cells

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Intra-articular application of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) is a procedure in which MSCs are directly injected into the joint cavity (intra-articularly). Mesenchymal stem cells are a type of cells present in the body that have the ability for self-renewal and differentiation into various types of cells.

This therapy is used for the treatment of cartilage damage and other joint-related issues. Mesenchymal stem cells are believed to have the potential to stimulate tissue regeneration and repair in the joint.


Candidates for intra-articular application of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) typically include individuals who have: Degenerative joint diseases: patients with degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, who experience symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and reduced joint mobility. Sports-related joint injuries: athletes or active individuals who have suffered joint injuries, such as cartilage or meniscus damage. Inflammatory joint diseases: individuals with inflammatory joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, who have joint inflammation and related symptoms. Non-responsive to conservative treatments: patients who have tried conservative treatment methods such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroid injections but have not experienced significant improvement. It is important to note that the final decision regarding candidacy for intra-articular MSC application is made by a qualified healthcare professional after a thorough evaluation of the patient's specific condition, medical history, and diagnostic tests.


The preparation for intra-articular application of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) typically involves the following steps: Evaluation and consultation: you will have a thorough evaluation by a medical professional to assess your condition and determine if you are a suitable candidate for the procedure. this may include a physical examination, medical history review, and imaging tests. Consent and discussion: the procedure and its potential risks, benefits, and expected outcomes will be explained to you in detail. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide informed consent for the treatment. Donor selection or cell harvesting: in some cases, if autologous (your own) MSCs are not used, the MSCs may be obtained from a suitable donor or a lab culture. The selection and screening of the donor cells, or the preparation of your cells, will be performed by medical guidelines. Pre-procedural instructions: you may receive specific instructions regarding any necessary pre-procedural preparations, such as fasting requirements, medication adjustments, or lifestyle modifications. It is important to follow these instructions closely.


Preparation of mesenchymal stem cells: Mesenchymal stem cells can be isolated from various sources, such as bone marrow, adipose tissue, or other tissues. They are then cultured in the laboratory to obtain a larger number of cells before being injected into the joint. Patient preparation: Prior to the application, the patient will be examined to determine if this therapy is suitable for their condition. Depending on the patient's medical history, additional tests or evaluations may be required. Injection of mesenchymal stem cells: After preparation, mesenchymal stem cells are injected directly into the joint cavity. This injection is typically performed under the supervision of a medical professional, such as an orthopaedic surgeon or rheumatologist. Monitoring and rehabilitation: After the injection, the patient will be monitored to track progress and evaluate the outcomes of the therapy. In some cases, rehabilitation exercises and physical therapy may be recommended to improve joint function and achieve better recovery.


Regarding the recovery and duration, the specifics can vary depending on various factors, including the individual patient, the underlying condition being treated, and the treatment protocol employed. Generally, the recovery process after the intra-articular application of MSCs involves the following: Post-procedure monitoring: after the application, you may be observed for a period of time to ensure there are no immediate complications or adverse reactions. Rehabilitation and follow-up care: depending on the recommendations of your healthcare provider, you may undergo rehabilitation exercises or physical therapy to aid in the recovery and optimize the benefits of the treatment. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your care plan. Timeframe for improvement: the timeframe for improvement can vary and is highly individualized. Some patients may experience noticeable improvements in their symptoms within weeks, while for others, it may take several months. Full recovery, if achievable, may take even longer.


Follow post-procedural care instructions: this may include restrictions on certain activities, medications to be taken, or wound care guidelines. It is crucial to strictly adhere to the provided instructions. Avoidance of strenuous activities: during the recovery period, it is generally recommended to avoid activities that may put excessive stress on the treated joint. Your healthcare provider will provide specific guidance regarding activity restrictions. Regular follow-up and communication: attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider and communicate any concerns or changes in symptoms promptly. Adhere to any additional precautions advised by your healthcare provider: depending on your specific situation, there may be additional precautions or recommendations to follow. These could include lifestyle modifications, dietary guidelines, or medication adjustments.

Ivana, Patient Coordinator

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Ivana, ZagrebMed patient coordinator