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Stem Cell Therapy Helping NBA Athletes With Joint Inflammation, Irritation

CBS Local Sports—October 11, 2017

In an interview with CBS Local Sports, HSS sports medicine surgeon Riley J. Williams III, MD explained how he uses stem cell therapy to treat NBA athletes with joint inflammation and soft-tissue injuries. Dr. Williams found that the human body has high levels of stem cells stored in fat, which can be extracted to treat those injuries.

These cells, called pericytes, are used by Dr. Williams to resolve inflammation or irritation in athletes.

The article noted that cortisone is a common option for treatment for inflammation. Since discovering the potential of stem cells, Dr. Williams noted that he has mostly stopped using cortisone since he believes it is a short-term solution. Additionally, he said that cortisone can negatively impact your ability to feel things, which could lead to more injuries for professional basketball players. By incorporating stem cell therapy into a treatment plan for an athlete with tendinitis or muscle strains, Dr. Williams found that their return-to-play timetable decreased by 30 to 40 percent.

According to Dr. Williams, the collection of these stem cells is a simple procedure. Fat is extracted from the belly, and then it is processed to be injected back into the body.

He explained that there are certain situations more appropriate for stem cell therapy than others, and that it is not a cure-all solution.

"I look at this as an opportunity to try to help define for the specialty what works best for the high-demand group (athletes). And then that can filter down to the rest of us every day athletes as well," Dr. Williams said.

Read the full article at sports.cbslocal.com


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