Stem cells are perhaps nature’s best-kept secret.
Adult stem cells are taken from the patient, and can be used to help in the repair and regeneration of damaged joint tissues and structures. This is a possible treatment for arthritis and cartilage regeneration in the knees and hip.
Stem cell therapy is a relatively new procedure. However, it has created so much interest worldwide that extensive research has been taking place in this field. Animal and human studies have been published that have suggested a safe and favourable response to stem cell therapy in hips, knees and even ankles.
There are two basic forms of stem cell - the embryonic stem cell and adult stem cell. Adult stem cells, which are also known as mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs are of great interest to researchers, scientists and surgeons alike. MSCs are free of the controversy that surrounds the embryonic stem cells and yet have the potential to form new tissues, giving the ability to repair and regenerate tissues such as cartilage and bone more effectively.
MSCs can be found at various locations in the body, including bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat) and peripheral blood. Stem cells are taken directly from the patients.
In joint preservation, one role of stem cells is in the possible treatment of arthritis of the hip and knee joints. This can potentially be accomplished by regeneration of cartilage (gristle). Stem cell therapy may be used in an attempt to encourage regeneration of this gristle layer. The procedure is designed to help preserve the natural hip and knee joints and perhaps to delay or prevent the need for more major operations such as replacement of the hip or knee joint.
Another area of particular interest for stem cell therapy in the hip and knee is to help with the regeneration of dead bone. In a condition called avascular necrosis, or AVN, there is death of a segment of the bone near the joint. This can sometimes progress onwards to become severe arthritis. Early reports of the use of stem cells to regenerate bone in AVN are encouraging.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
The procedure is in the form of arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) of the hip or knee. A single operation is normally required, normally carried out as day-case procedure for knee arthroscopy; most hip arthroscopy patients will have one night’s stay in hospital.
Once the patient is under general anaesthesia, an aspirate of their blood and/or marrow is taken with a special needle. The aspirate is then processed in the operating theatre, and while the patient is still asleep, in order to harvest the stem cells. At the same time the keyhole operation (arthroscopy) is commenced to access the hip or knee joint.
The surgeon uses specialist arthroscopy techniques to prepare the tissue bed so that it is ready to receive the stem cells. The harvested stem cells, alongside a suitable scaffold, are then injected through the same keyholes that are routinely used for the arthroscopy.
Any surgical intervention carries a degree of risk however the surgical procedures used for stem cell therapy are the same as those for routine hip or knee arthroscopy operations. There is a theoretical risk of infection, but this is low and surgery is in any event covered by antibiotic treatment.
As for the stem cells, these are derived from the patient’s own blood or marrow, so there is no risk of rejection or disease transmission.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
You can find us just to the north of Sutton Coldfield, in the rural area between the villages of Mere Green and Aldridge. We're a short 25 minute drive from Birmingham city centre and our main motorway links are the M6, M5 and M42.
We’re just a short taxi ride from Blake Street Rail Station on the Birmingham to Lichfield line.
Little Aston Hall Drive
Main Switchboard: 0121 353 2444
Self-pay treatment enquiries: 0121 580 7119
COVID-19 testing or antibody tests are not available as a standalone service at Spire Little Aston Hospital.