Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis - An Alternative to Surgery


Can osteoarthritis be treated without surgery?

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA), one of the most common forms of arthritis, is caused by the natural deterioration of joints leading to bone friction, which makes movement painful.

Traditional Osteoarthritis Treatments

Two of the most common treatment options, medicine and surgery, still have their drawbacks. Pain medications in palliative care often leave patients with peptic ulcers, while joint replacement surgery often requires a repeat operation every 10 years and prevents patients from performing many physical activities that require joint bending.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells function as backup cells for the body. Apart from their ability to replace old and damaged cells with healthy, powerful ones, stem cells also release anti-inflammatory chemicals and slow the deterioration of neighboring cells, helping them regain strength.


Stem Cells and Knee Joint

Since their discovery, Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have been successfully used to relieve osteoarthritis pain. Several international medical journals have reported various positive results of stem cell therapy: strengthening of patients’ joints, reduced dependence on medications, and decreased urgency to undergo joint replacement surgery.


Additional Notes:

  • Stem cell injections for both knees on the same day is possible in some cases, depending on the opinion of the physician
  • It is safe to resume physical activities without overusing the knee joints during the first month after the treatment
  • Slight pain and stiffness in the joints are normal within the first week after the injection. It is safe to take OTC pain medications and the symptoms should subside within one week.


• Woo-Suk Lee, Hwan Jin Kim, Kang-Il Kim, Gi Boem Kim, and Wook Jin. Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis: A Phase IIb Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial, Stem Cells Translational Medicine (2019):8:504-511

• Thana Turajane, Ukrit Chaveewanakorn, Warachaya Fongsarun, Jongjate Aojanepong and Konstantinos I. Papadopoulos, Avoidance of Total Knee Arthroplasty in Early Osteoarthritis of the Knee with IntraArticular Implantation of Autologous Activated Peripheral Blood Stem Cells versus Hyaluronic Acid: A Randomised Controlled Trial with Differential Effects of Growth Factor Addition, Stem Cells International (2017):1-1