Why Choose Us?

At Wake Sports Medicine we focus entirely on non-surgical and minimally invasive treatments to relieve pain, promote healing, rehabilitate, and prevent future injuries. We also strongly feel that the key to a long and healthy lifestyle is to stay active, and we make every attempt to return patients to the recreational and competitive activities that they enjoy.

What is Stem Cell Therapy used for?

Stem Cell Therapy injections are used for painful joints due to arthritis, or injury. They are also ideal for chronic tendonitis or cartilage defects. Stem Cell Therapy is a non-invasive (non-surgical) treatment option. The goal is to provide long-lasting relief from chronic joint pain. All injections are performed using ultrasound guidance to ensure proper placement of the stem cells. Dr. Kanaan received specialized training in ultrasound guidance during his fellowship at Duke and is one of only a handful of providers in the area to offer injections under ultrasound guidance.

Who is a good candidate for Stem Cell Therapy?

In general, if you have tried other treatments, such as physical therapy, prior surgery, steroid injections, or viscosupplementation, and not experienced any relief, Stem Cell Therapy is likely a good treatment option for you.

Who is NOT a good candidate for Stem Cell Therapy?

  • Patient with active cancers
  • Certain other malignancies or blood borne diseases that you are being treated for
  • Patient with any current infection
  • Patient who uses a high dose of blood thinners
  • Prior abdominal surgeries (may be a problem)
  • Any patient in poor general health

What areas do you treat with Stem Cell Therapy?

We most often use stem cell therapy for larger joints, such as hips, knees, and shoulders, but we also treat ankles, feet, hands, and tendons. Stem cell treatment is also an option for chronic tendon issues that have been resistant to other treatments. NOTE: We do not treat any neck or spinal conditions with stem cell therapy.

What kind of Stem Cells do you use?

Bone marrow and adipose (fat) tissue are the two sources of stem cells that we use (we perform about 95% adipose injections and 5% bone marrow currently). This is very important. Many clinics are advertising stem cell injections, but are using amniotic stem cells (called an allograft). These are not only of lower quality, but they also carry a small risk of infection. If you are considering a stem cell therapy procedure, you should always use your own stem cells, and not someone else’s cells.

What is the Stem Cell Therapy process like?

It is a same day procedure that takes about 60 min from start to finish. If you are flying, you may fly home the same day, but there will be increased pain/discomfort after the procedure. If you are driving, you should have a driver, as there can be some mild to moderate discomfort in the first few hours following the procedure.
Typically we do one stem cell injection, followed up 6 weeks later with a platelet rich plasma injection. If you are coming in from out of town, this will be taken into consideration and may be modified. Our protocol is continually evolving, so this is ultimately decided on a case-by-case basis.

For adipose (fat) tissue stem cell therapy, lipoaspirates are obtained from the abdomen or “love handle” area through a quick liposuction procedure. The gentle liposuction takes a few minutes, and the whole time in the office is an estimated 60 minutes.

Does Stem Cell Therapy work?

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.

What is the cost?

The cost of this treatment is determined by what particular injections are being performed. The cost can vary but is estimated as low as $700.00, and as high as $5000.00- 6000.00. The average cost is generally in the $2000.00-$3000.00 range.

Stem Cell therapy is not covered by your insurance company. If you decide you want to explore this treatment option, we can discuss what is most cost-effective for you.

I am interested. What is the next step?

If you live within 2-3 hours of Raleigh, NC, we will schedule a consultation for an appointment to review your radiology films (x-rays), conduct a physical exam, and determine if you are a good candidate or not. The phone number to schedule is 919-719-2270. Please let the operator know you are scheduling a “Consult for Stem Cells”.

If you live more than 2-3 hours away we can sometimes perform the initial consult by phone or with the help of telemedicine (a virtual consult).

If the consult is not in person, please fax us the following:

  • Recent x-rays, no more than a few months old, are required.
  • Recent MRI if available, no more than a few months old
  • Medical records (only pertaining to your injury that you are seeking treatment for)

Send the info to:
Wake Sports Medicine, Dr. Kanaan
Fax Number: 919-719-2271