Stem cells are basic human cells that have the potential to give rise to different types of cells in the body. They are simple or undifferentiated cells.
Stem cells help create new cells in healthy tissues and can help repair tissues in structures that are injured or damaged. They are the basis for the specific cell types that make up each of the organs in the body.
When stem cells divide, they create progenitor cells. Unlike stem cells, progenitor cells can develop into cells with more specialized functions, such as brain cells, red blood cells, or of particular interest to orthopedic surgeons, specialized tissue components such as bone or cartilage.
Orthopedic surgeons have focused on mesenchymal stem cells. Unlike embryonic stem cells, these mesenchymal stem cells are obtained from living adult tissues.
Bone marrow stromal cells are mesenchymal stem cells that, in the right environment, can differentiate into cells that are part of the musculoskeletal system. They can help form trabecular bone, tendons, articular cartilage, ligaments, and part of the bone marrow.
At this point, stem cells in orthopedic procedures are still in an experimental phase. Most of the procedures are performed in research centers as part of controlled clinical trials.
Stem cell procedures are used to treat bone fractures and when these fail to join, the regeneration of arthritic articular cartilage in the joints, ligaments or tendons, and the replacement of degenerative vertebral discs.
In cartilage repair, amniotic membrane has been used to fill chondral defects (cartilage defects) with promising results in experimental lambs. The amniotic membrane is a source of stem cells.
Even this is in the early stages of research and there are already some positive results out there in terms of osteoarthritis (Attrition) although nothing conclusive.
Cultured stem cells can also produce tumors if the study is not protocolized in such a way that we may not yet know how to correctly induce them to produce the adequate tissue that is needed in all cases.
There are few studies of stem cells contained in the bone marrow that relate to cartilage regeneration, however the horizon is promising.
In the studies there are those that take advantage of the stem cells that are already in the bone and are called mesenchymal cells of the bone marrow and it is in this field where there is more experience since their isolation or cuktivo is not required. cartilage injuries use a paste made in the operating room from a sample of normal cartilage that is ground and applied to the injuries. This technique that has been an aid to these types of injuries was implemented and devised by Dr. Kevin Stone from the United States and has given good results in small injuries.