Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is there a difference between stem cells and platelets?

In the context of treatment for tendon problems and the repair of cartilage in joints, there are several differences.

Stem Cells are carried in our bodies and have the potential to form specific cell types such as cartilage, muscle or bone. As adults we carry a small amount of these cells. 

These cells are commonly harvested from the fat in the wall of the abdomen by liposuction and a minor surgical procedure. The cells are extracted by specialised equipment and are "trained" into the specific cell line required in a laboratory culture over a number of days or weeks. The cells are then injected into the area to be treated, commonly also with platelets to “switch them on”. 

The procedure is costly and can usually only be done once.

Platelets are carried in the blood, and stimulate repair in areas of damage and help with the clotting of blood. They carry small packets of "growth factors" that stimulate repair and enrich the cellular environment to promote growth and repair. 

Platelets can be extracted from the blood and concentrated to provide high concentrations of growth factors. This usually requires us to take 100-150mls of blood (less than half a cup). 

We take about 1-2 hours on the day of the procedure to prepare the platelets and super concentrate them.

At these high levels, when we inject the platelets into your area of concern, the normal breakdown of cells is reversed and re-growth is switched back on using your own cells which are naturally present. An environment of growth, repair and regeneration allows the cell structure to return to normal. This reverses the degeneration process present allowing your tendon, ligament or joint cartilage to return to the normal strength and resilience you require for normal function.

We can repeat this as many times as is needed to complete the healing process.

What are the costs involved?

You may qualify for Medicare rebate for part of your initial assessment.

You will need to cover the cost of each treatment as Medicare does not cover costs for treatments with platelets. 

The cost can vary with the type of treatment. You can discuss this by contacting us directly.

How many injections will I need?

You will be required to have an initial clinical evaluation of your problem including appropriate imaging assessment either by ultrasound or MRI. We will also take some blood to check your platelets. We will provide information regarding any preparation you require prior to your first appointment.

If we are treating a tendon or ligament: 

You will usually need 2-3 treatments separated by 4-6 weeks. Occasionally, depending on your own platelets and the degree of damage, you may need 1-2 further treatments also separated by 4-6 weeks. You will also need to undertake an exercise program, available online. In some cases, you may need supervision of your exercises by an appropriate Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist. 

We assess your recovery online and by telephone interview at 6-8 weeks to determine if you need further treatment.

At 12 weeks following treatment we re-assess your response by MRI to ensure complete healing.

If we are treating your knee joint: 

You will usually need 4-6 treatments separated by 4 weeks. Occasionally, depending on your own platelets and the degree of damage, you may need 1-2 further treatments also separated by 4 weeks. You will also need to undertake an exercise program, available online. In some cases, you may need supervision of your exercises by an appropriate Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist. We assess your recovery online and by telephone interview at 6-8 weeks to determine if you need further treatment.

At 12 weeks following treatment we re-assess your response by ultrasound to ensure complete healing.

Does it work? What are the statistics?

We have developed a patient database since 2010 and periodically review our results and techniques. On average, 80% of patients receive an 80% improvement in symptoms at the time of final review, usually 12 weeks after treatment.

Can I go elsewhere for this treatment?

I-MED Radiology Network currently provides this service exclusively at our Hornsby rooms.   For all other procedures and clinic locations please visit www.i-med.com.au

Who will I see?

All treatments are supervised by Dr Sach and his team. Dr Terry Lo, Dr Ursula Ridley and Dr Darrylin Greenberg may also perform your treatments.

Are there any exclusion criteria?

We do not treat completely ruptured tendons or ligaments. We also do not treat knee joints with extensive areas of complete cartilage loss.