STEM CELLS IN SPINE SURGERY
By KENNETH K. HANSRAJ, MD CHIEF OF SPINE SURGERY NEW YORK SPINE SURGERY & REHABILITATION MEDICINE NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Spine surgeons are embracing advanced biologic technologies in an attempt to help millions of people achieve a better outcome in spine surgery. These new technologies may be complicated to understand, partly because the contribution of different types of cells has not been definitively identified.
The key stem cells used in spine surgery are the mesenchymal stem cells, the endothelial progenitor cells, and the hematopoietic stem cells.
Studies suggest that stem cell augmentation of spinal fusion surgery is equivalent to the gold standard for iliac crest bone graft in posterolateral fusion models. There is evidence of safety and feasibility in the injectable treatment of DDD with autologous BMC that indicates a favorable outcome of mesenchymal cell concentration on discogenic pain reduction.
The use of adult stem cells is an innovation that promises fewer complications and improved function in patients who are demographically suitable for stem cell therapy.