03 Oct Stem Cell Therapy is a Non-Surgical Treatment Alternative for Scoliosis
Scoliosis affects a small percentage of children and adults but can lead to life long complications and pain. It may eventually require surgery to completely repair the spine and prevent the disease from progressing. Stem cell therapy is a recent addition in the treatment regimen for scoliosis. Recent studies had success in regenerating bone growth along the spine, realigning the curvature and alleviating pain.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. A person with scoliosis will have a C- or S-shaped curve in their spine visible in an x-ray. It can affect any part of the spine, but the most common regions are at the level of the chest and the lower back. While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown. The most common form of scoliosis appears in an adolescent. About 3% of adolescents have scoliosis. It is known as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It can affect children from the age of 10 years. Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some spine deformities continue to get more severe as children grow. Severe scoliosis can be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly.
Children who have mild scoliosis are monitored closely, usually with X-rays, to see if the curve is getting worse. In many cases, no treatment is necessary. Some children will need to wear a brace to stop the curve from worsening. Casting instead of bracing is sometimes used for infantile scoliosis to help the infant’s spine to go back to its normal position as it grows. This can be done with a cast made of plaster of Paris. The cast is attached to the outside of the patient’s body and will be worn at all times. Because the infant is growing rapidly, the cast is changed regularly. Others may need surgery to keep scoliosis from worsening and to straighten severe cases of scoliosis. Doctors don’t know what causes the most common type of scoliosis — although it appears to involve hereditary factors, because the disorder tends to run in families.
How Can Stem Cell Therapy Treat Scoliosis Symptoms?
The FDA as a treatment for scoliosis has recently cleared stem cells. Stem cells are taken from bone marrow tissue of the patient with scoliosis. The stem cells are able to produce new bone cells to help the support growth along the spine. This new growth helps stabilize the spine and allows it to grow in the proper direction. Rods and screws helped to guide the new bone growth into a straighter alignment. In one clinical study, a patient’s spinal curve was reduced by 50%, and there was also a reduction in daily pain. Stem cell therapy is an amazing new tool in regenerative medicine with many different uses. This therapy may be the answer for patients looking to avoid invasive surgeries that may not work.