Stem cell medicine is still a fairly controversial subject in the United States, but it is becoming a more viable option for people who live with chronic pain that traditional medicine doesn’t seem to help.
A regenerative medicine clinic, Genesis Regenerative Medicine, has opened at 350 S. 333rd St. in Federal Way and is looking to help heal people by using techniques such as platelet-rich plasma or bone marrow stem cell injections.
Dr. David Velling has specialized in pain management for two decades in his private practice, The Pain Center of Western Washington. He is excited to open this new branch, Genesis Regenerative Medicine, to patients in the region.
The first step in the process is a consultation to determine if this type of treatment is the best option. Typically, Velling suggests this course of action should be the last after traditional medicine options.
The first treatment Velling typically does for patients is called platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP therapy.
This non-surgical treatment uses the body’s own blood plasma and platelets to encourage healing in the afflicted areas.
This treatment is not for everyone, Velling said. It’s typically used for patients who experience acute and chronic pain from an injury or osteoarthritis.
“With treatments like this, you want to start with the least invasive first,” Velling said.
If these treatments don’t yield desired results, or if there is a different issue a patient is experiencing, then treatment with stem cells from bone marrow, amniotic or adipose (fat) tissue may be done, Velling said.
Some patients are unable to use their own tissue as part of their treatment, Velling said. This is where amniotic tissue would come in, since this tissue typically comes from another person.
“It can take anywhere from six weeks to four months to see improvement after these treatments,” said Velling, noting that this is completely normal and expected with non-traditional treatments.
These treatments may not work for everyone because sometimes people’s conditions have progressed too far. However, a lot of patients do show the expected progress over a two to three month period, Velling said.
“As long as it’s done for the right problem, for the right patient, the likelihood of a good outcome is very high,” he said.
This type of treatment isn’t typically covered by insurance, so patients can expect it to cost anywhere from $800 to $10,000 depending on the procedure.
Angela MacLeod, practice manager for the clinic, said they are excited to take on more patients and bring them healing.
The clinic also offers payment plans if patients are unable to pay the entire amount upfront.