Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica is committed to providing the highest quality of care to every patient.  The goal of treating osteoarthritis of the knee, using a patient’s own stem cells, is to stimulate self healing and improve the patient’s function and quality of life.1-8

Why patients with osteoarthritis of the knee are choosing stem cell transplantation instead of surgery:

  • Stem cell transplantation promotes self-healing
  • Stem cell transplantation is less invasive than surgery
  • Stem cell transplantation is a more “natural” treatment without the use of plastic or metal
  • After stem cell transplantation patients recover quicker

A stem cell transplant can reduce the symptoms of OA including; improving range of motion, reducing inflammation, reducing stiffness, and potentially delaying or eliminating the need for surgery, allowing patients to fully engage in the activities they enjoy.

What is osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis arthritis of the knee occurs when the cartilage, which acts a cushion, wears away.  As the cartilage wears away there is less shock absorption and the bones will begin to rub more closely against each other; the result is pain, swelling, stiffness, and in later stages of the disease, the formation of bones spurs, and bone on bone contact.  As the swelling, stiffness, and pain increases you may find yourself minimizing your movement, effectively worsening the problem.  Reduced movement can increase the amount of muscle that is wasting away, and laxity of the ligament which, will reduce the strength and stability of the knee.

Why should I consider stem cell therapy?

Conventional non-surgical treatments treat the symptoms, but not the underlying disease, and may have serious adverse events associated with long term use. Knee replacement surgery is the only FDA approved treatment that can provide a long-term solution, but there can be serious surgical related complications. Complete recovery from knee surgery can take up to one year. You can usually resume normal activity after 6 weeks, but it can take 3 months to 1 year for the pain and inflammation to subside.

The risks of the surgical procedure include:

  • Blood clots
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Infection
  • Nerve and other tissue damage
  • Implant fracture
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Nerve damage
  • Osteolysis (your body’s reaction to the plastic or metal)
  • Bleeding and pain

How does stem cell therapy improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee?

Stem cells support self-healing of the knee joint cartilage. Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs with gradual change to the immune system, cartilage is damaged, bone structure is remodeled, and a chronic inflammation of the synovium develops. Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to regulate the immune system response, inhibit inflammation, stimulate blood vessel growth, repair tissue, and stimulate self-regeneration of the cartilage.

The stem cells and platelet-rich plasma are easily harvested from the patient. These stem cells are specific to the patient, ensuring the patient will not reject the cells. The entire procedure is relatively quick and most patients are up and walking with assistance within 24 hours.  Patients will experience minimal discomfort, and depending on the job, most can return to work in 1-2 weeks. If the patient performs a desk job, he or she may return after only a few days.1,5,9

What type of stem cells are used?

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses autologous mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Autologous means the stem cells are collected from the recipient so the risk of rejection is virtually eliminated. Mesenchymal stem cells are one type of adult stem cells that are found in a variety of tissues including; adipose tissue, lung, bone marrow, and blood. Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.

How are the stem cells collected?

A team of stem cell experts developed an FDA approved method and protocol for harvesting and isolating adipose derived stem cells for autologous reimplantation and it is this method that is utilized by the experts at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute The collection and use of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of embryos and for this reason, more U.S. federal funding is being spent on stem cell research.

How are the stem cells administered?

Stem cells are administered directly into the affected joint or in areas immediately surrounding the injury.

About the Stem Cells Transplant Institute

Costa Rica has one of the best healthcare systems in world and is ranked among the highest for medical tourism. Using the most advanced technologies, the team of experts at The Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes in the potential of stem cell therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis. We are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient.



[1] Uth K., Dimitar T, Stem cell application for osteoarthritis in the knee joint: A mini review. World J Stem Cells 2014; 6(5): 629-636
2.Barry FP, Murphy JM. Mesenchymal stem cells: clinical applications and biological characterization. Int J BiochemCell Biol 2004; 36: 568-584 [PMID: 15010324 DOI: 10.1016/j.biocel.2003.11.001]3. Davatchi F, Abdollahi BS, Mohyeddin M, Shahram F, Nikbin B. Mesenchymal stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis.Preliminary report of four patients. Int J RheumDis 2011; 14: 211-215 [PMID: 21518322 DOI: 10.1111/j.1756-185X.2011.01599.x]4. Vinatier C, Bouffi C, Merceron C, Gordeladze J, BrondelloJM, Jorgensen C, Weiss P, Guicheux J, Noël D. Cartilagetissue engineering: towards a biomaterial-assisted mesenchymalstem cell therapy. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther 2009; 4:318-329 [PMID: 19804369]5. Murphy JM, Dixon K, Beck S, Fabian D, Feldman A, BarryF. Reduced chondrogenic and adipogenic activity of mesenchymalstem cells from patients with advanced osteoarthritis.Arthritis Rheum 2002; 46: 704-713 [PMID: 11920406 DOI:10.1002/art.10118]6. Koelling S, Miosge N. Stem cell therapy for cartilage regenerationin osteoarthritis. Expert Opin Biol Ther 2009; 9:1399-1405 [PMID: 19793003 DOI: 10.1517/14712590903246370]7. Mobasheri A, Csaki C, Clutterbuck AL, Rahmanzadeh M,Shakibaei M. Mesenchymal stem cells in connective tissueengineering and regenerative medicine: applications incartilage repair and osteoarthritis therapy. Histol Histopathol2009; 24: 347-366 [PMID: 19130405]8. Nöth U, Steinert AF, Tuan RS. Technology insight: adultmesenchymal stem cells for osteoarthritis therapy. Nat ClinPract Rheumatol 2008; 4: 371-380 [PMID: 18477997 DOI:10.1038/ncprheum0816]9. Wolfstadt JI, Cole BJ, Ogilvie-Harris DJ, Viswanathan S,Chahal J. Current Concepts: The Role of Mesenchymal StemCells in the Management of Knee Osteoarthritis. SportsHealth: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 2014

For more information

Send us your messages

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)



Your Message