4 Questions When Considering Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is a regenerative medicine that seeks to promote the ability of tissue that is dead, dysfunctional, or otherwise injured the ability to repair itself using stem cells or their derivative. Various applications exist, ranging from addressing joint pain to potentially supplanting the need for full organ transplants, it’s no wonder the treatment and its possibilities have many in the medical field excited. Trials are already underway that explore applications in treating multiple sclerosisheart failure, and more.  We will review the 4 critical questions when considering stem cell therapy.

While it’s certainly an exciting field, it’s important that anyone considering receiving stem cell therapy, whether they’re working with a hospital or a private clinic like ThriveMD, to address their own medical issues, ask questions to make sure it’s the right call for them.

Questions When Considering Stem Cell Therapy 1024x683 - 4 Questions When Considering Stem Cell Therapy
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

1  What kind of scientific evidence supports this as an appropriate intervention for my condition?

There are a wide number of clinics offering stem cell therapy today, and many promises the treatment will be the cure to a wide number of ailments. However, just because the marketing promises the treatment is appropriate doesn’t mean there’s scientific proof to back the claim. 

Before agreeing to stem cell therapy for your condition, ask your doctor about available scientific research. This doesn’t mean a series of scientific charts or a pamphlet that includes a great deal of scientific-sounding jargon. You should be looking for studies that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. If your doctor can’t offer this kind of backing, you may want to explore other options to compare costs and risks.

2 Is this treatment part of a formal clinical trial?

Because some applications of stem cell therapy do not yet have scientific backing, some clinics offer access to the therapy as part of a “trial.” It’s important that you clarify whether your treatment falls into such a category. If it does, you should be sure to thoroughly read over the paperwork provided and ask questions before signing any documentation. 

3  What are the potential risks, benefits, and side effects involved?

As is true of any medical treatment, you should not agree to stem cell therapy without fully understanding what is involved. Some applications may potentially result in fevers, headaches, chills, or flushing. Depending on the application, the risks can be even more severe. In some cases involving injections in the eye, for instance, patients have had their retinas detach. It’s important to know what you’re getting into and the potential side affects of Stem Cell Therapy.

Stem Cell Therapy 1024x678 - 4 Questions When Considering Stem Cell Therapy
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

It’s also important to collect this information so you can more effectively compare your options. Almost all medical interventions carry some kind of risk. When making a decision about the right type of intervention for yourself, more information is always better.

4 What experience do you have using this treatment for this specific condition, and what were the results?

Because stem cell therapy is relatively new compared to some kinds of medical interventions, not everyone in the field has a great deal of experience. It’s important when considering a medical practitioner that you know exactly how well-versed they are on the technique and what their track record is with it to date. While patient testimonials are certainly great inserts for a doctor’s marketing materials, you’ll want to ask for hard numbers to back up the experience they’re describing.

A reputable doctor will provide this information upfront, but the internet can be helpful in this vetting process, as well. From consumer review sites to the FDA website, you can often find details about doctors who talk a big talk but have a tattered reputation. Whenever possible, you should compare stem cell therapy providers using such information to determine which might be the best bet for you.