Date of Award
Director of Thesis
Dr. Christine Pellegrini
Dr. Darin Faller
Introduction: Osteoarthritis plagues around 27 million Americans. Stem cell injections are a new method of treatment that could potentially cure this by regenerating cartilage in joints. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the perceived effectiveness of stem cells at regenerating cartilage in joints, specifically the knees, hips, and shoulders. Methods: Participants were recruited via social media, forums, and from healthcare clinics that offer stem cell treatments. They were asked to complete a survey focusing primarily on the treatment protocol and how the injured joint felt post-stem cell injection. Frequencies were calculated to describe problematic joints, treatment history, and perceived effectiveness of the stem cell therapy. Results: Twenty-nine people participated in the study. Most were white (93.1%), non-Hispanic or Latino (96.6%), and struggling with an injury due at least in part to degeneration (58.6%). Sixty-six percent were female and 48.3% were between 61 and 75 years old. Fifty-five percent of participants received the injection in the knee, 13% in the shoulder, 8% in the back and 11% in the hip. Most had tried at least one other treatment such as physical therapy unsuccessfully prior. Eighty-three percent of people followed a protocol or schedule from their doctor, which included stem cells with other therapies like platelet rich plasma. Overall, 77% reported success with the stem cell treatment and 72% of the participants would recommend stem cell injections to someone with a similar injury to themselves. Conclusion: Stem cells were perceived to be beneficial for the majority of participants in the study. This study was performed on a small scale so conclusions about effectiveness in general cannot be made. Future studies should examine cartilage regeneration for a longer time and on a larger scale with assessments, including an x-ray or MRI. The evaluations should be performed both prior to and after the stem cell injection.
Merrill, Delaney Marie, "Perceived Effectiveness of Stem Cell Injections in Adults with Joint Injuries" (2020). Senior Theses. 317.