From what we are seeing around the world, most patients will have some relief of pain around 1-2 months post injection. This will often continue to improve for the first 3-6 months after the stem cell procedure. There are patients who will not get any improvement from this procedure, probably around 10-20%.
This is still a new and experimental treatment, and there have not been a many long-term outcomes studies completed so far. There is some limited data suggesting an ability to regenerate cartilage in joints, but it also appears that whether or not the cartilage regenerates has little correlation with relief of pain. If there is significant spurring and significant loss of the joint space, there is little chance of cartilage regeneration.
Do not believe anyone, or any clinic, that claims that stem cells definitely regrow tissue, or that your pain will definitely be gone. This is false advertisement. While many clinics promise grand results with these injections, the truth is that we as physicians still don’t have the long-term research to support stem cell outcomes. With that said, many of us believe that stem cells “might” help to heal damaged tissue in the body.
Personally I think there is promise with stem cell therapy, and that is why I offer it here at Wake Sports Medicine, however I will never make any false promises or claims to a patient about possible results. If we knew that stem cells definitely regenerated meniscus or cartilage than insurance would cover it, as it would be cheaper than surgery.