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Our Process 2018-09-28T04:16:03+00:00

Our Process

Want to know what it’s like to treat with Native Stem Cell? We outline the process below so you know what to expect!

1.) Initial Consultation

One of the major advantages with the services Native Stem Cell provides is that your care is always guided by a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon from start to finish. This begins with your first consultation and is especially important in gaining the best results for your arthritis and other orthopedic injuries. Treatment of these difficult to manage musculoskeletal problems sometimes requires complex orthopedic decision making and a keen understanding of the best combination and timing of orthopedic treatments with biologic treatments such as stem cells, PRP or others. Dr. Crawford spends time reviewing your medical history, imaging such as x-rays, MRIs and CT scans, and performs a physical exam.

Then, just as importantly, you and Dr. Crawford will discuss your lifestyle, activity levels and treatment goals to determine the best path forward. For many patients with arthritis, a stem cell injection is a simple and effective treatment. Other patients have more complex cases, underlying injuries that can’t be fixed with stem cells, or injuries and goals that require an approach that incorporates traditional orthopedic treatment with these newer biologic approaches. Remember–If a doctor tells you a stem cell injection can heal all of your aches and pains without knowing your history and underlying musculoskeletal issues, it is probably too good to be true. Dr. Crawford will be the first to tell you if he doesn’t believe stem cells will help your condition and will make sure to help you find a better treatment option.

2.) Stem Cell (BMAC) and/or PRP Injection

Stem Cell (BMAC Injection)
Patients are welcome to come to their initial consult ready to have their injection that day if they and Dr.Crawford decide that is their best treatment option. If you think you may want to have your procedure the same day as your consultation, please let our staff know when you schedule your appointment. Other patients schedule their injection for a future date.

The stem cell injection is an in-office procedure that takes about an hour, start to finish. It is done using a local anesthetic, so you can drive yourself to and from the appointment if desired. The procedure begins with Dr. Crawford withdrawing a small amount of bone marrow from the upper shin bone. Bone marrow is one of the richest sources of stem cells in your body and we put that bone marrow through a process of filtering, centrifuging and concentrating, in order to isolate and concentrate those stem cells for reinjection into your arthritic joint.

We know the bone marrow harvest sounds scary! Don’t worry, it takes about five minutes, it is done under local anesthetic and there is little to no pain. Some patients report an odd feeling of pressure and many don’t feel a thing and are shocked by how easy it is.

After the concentration process is complete, your stem cells are prepared for reinjection into your joint. For certain types of injections, especially hip injections, Dr. Crawford will perform the injection using imaging guidance to make sure the stem cells are delivered to the joint.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection
Depending on your condition and Dr. Crawford’s assessment, you may elect to have a PRP procedure either in conjunction with your stem cell injection, or as a stand-alone procedure. The PRP process starts with a simple blood draw, then the blood is processed and prepared for injection into the joint or affected area. The whole process only takes about 30 minutes start to finish and is nearly painless.

3.) Follow Up and Tracking

For specific instructions about what to do and not do after your stem cell injection, please click here.

After your stem cell injection, the waiting begins. Stem cells can help regrow cartilage for at least six months and possibly as long as a year or longer. There can be ups and downs along the way, and we will be available to help guide your treatment so you get the best possible results from your injection. Remember, we are trying to undo decades of wear and tear!

We will work with you along two paths after your injection. The first is continued maintenance and treatment of your condition through guidance on medications, physical therapy, activity levels and additional treatments that can augment your stem cell injection. To this end we will schedule out a series of follow-up phone call check-ins to go over your progress and guide your recovery. When needed, we will schedule follow-ups with Dr. Crawford to go over complex cases or new injuries.

The second path is to collect your data and results to add to our ever growing database of results. You will receive simple, secure emails at set intervals a few times throughout your first year and your responses will help us quantify your results and add to the growing research done on the effectiveness and best practices in stem cell procedures. Our data collections process uses a combination of standard orthopedic scoring for osteoarthritis as well as custom built questions designed specifically for stem cell and PRP procedures. The combination of these two approaches allows us to help you get the best results while advancing the young field of orthobiologic interventions.

4.) Physical Therapy & Other Therapies

Each patient’s healing timeline and recovery process is different and we make sure to guide you on what to do and when.

Physical therapy is often recommended sometime between 4 and 8 weeks after your stem cell injection. Often, because of the change in your gait, posture and the loss of muscle that comes with dealing with the years of pain from arthritis, physical therapy is the best way to maximize the effects of your stem cell injection.

Patients often consider other treatments including medications, laser therapies, microvibrations and many other natural treatments in order to get the best possible results. We will be here every step of the way and Dr. Crawford can help you make decisions about what alternative therapies to add and when.

5.) Results

Every patient’s results are different and we spend a great amount of time working with you for the year after your treatment and even longer if necessary. We are invested in your individual results because we want the best for you, and we collect broad data on all our patients in order to help build a body of work that can inform future treatment and our own individualized process. Dr. Crawford and many other physicians and researchers believe orthobiologics will be a mainstay of orthopedic treatment into the future and we are glad to be a part of developing the best practices for the field.