Over time, due to factors such as age, certain injuries, and medical conditions such as degenerative disc disease and diabetes, the human body can start to slow down or altogether halt when it comes to healing on its own. Often people in this predicament end up experiencing chronic pain and inflammation on a daily basis. Currently, the most common solutions that medical providers offer to patients living with these debilitating ailments are invasive surgical procedures or pain-relief medications such as oral steroids and addictive opioids like hydrocodone or codeine.
There has to be a better alternative, right? The answer is yes! Integrative medicine, which includes cell-based regeneration therapy, is a type of treatment that allows patients to embark on a journey of healing without the use of surgery or narcotic pain medications. One of the ways in which this is possible is by utilizing a product called Wharton’s Jelly. Wharton’s Jelly is an all-natural product that treats damaged joints and encourages the body to heal from the inside out.
Want to learn more about whether this type of regenerative medicine is right for you, and how it can help you live a pain-free life? Keep reading for our frequently asked questions and answers pertaining to Wharton’s Jelly.
Wharton’s Jelly FAQ’s
Q: What is Wharton’s Jelly?
A: Wharton’s Jelly is found in the umbilical cord. It contains mesenchymal signaling cells (MSCs), growth factors, anti-inflammatory cytokines, hyaluronic acid, and collagen. It provides cushion, protection, and support for the umbilical vessels during pregnancy. It is believed that the cellular makeup and function of Wharton’s Jelly make it a great product to use in the healing of damaged joints and tissues in people of all ages.
Q: What are the benefits of Wharton’s Jelly?
A: Wharton’s Jelly can be injected directly into areas that have inflammation and tissue degeneration – it provides cushioning, lubrication, and support in the area(s) it is injected into. The contents (MSCs, growth factors, hyaluronic acid, collagen, and cytokines) have been shown to decrease inflammation (which is what causes damage to the joint), increase function, and promote the regeneration of cells.
Q: Are there any side effects to having Wharton’s Jelly injections?
A: There have been no long-term side effects reported with the use of Wharton’s Jelly. Generally, the only side effects would be in relation to the injection itself, such as bleeding, mild tenderness, and bruising around the site of the needle insertion. Practitioners administering Wharton’s Jelly should be professionally trained and experienced.
Q: Is Wharton’s Jelly mixed or diluted before an injection?
A: At Midtown Medical Integration, the company we use to process our Wharton’s Jelly does not dilute the product. In our experience, we have found that other companies do dilute the product, which may allow them to sell it for a lower price, however the cell count and quality will not be equivalent. Depending on the area needing to be injected, a larger amount of fluid may be appropriate to reach the desired outcome. If the provider determines that a greater volume of fluid is needed in the joint, preservative-free normal saline will be added, however the same amount of Wharton’s Jelly will still be used. The larger volume of fluid will act to increase the joint space, while still providing the lubricating effect of the product.
Q: Does the age of the cells matter?
A: Yes, age does matter. In an article by Caplan, MSCs in bone marrow (these are also found in cord blood and tissue) in a newborn, a teenager, someone in their 30’s, 50’s, and 80’s will vary. Research has demonstrated a drastic difference in the number of MSC’s per marrow cell between newborns and those in other age groups. Cells from umbilical cord tissue can duplicate in just over 24 hours and a single cell can repeat this process many times over. Additionally, 50+ year-old cells take between 3-5 days and are unable to replicate this process as many times as the brand-new tissue.
Q: How does treatment work?
A: At Midtown Medical Integration, our goal with regenerative medicine treatment is not to give you an injection and send you on your way. We formulate a plan of care that begins with a thorough exam. This will determine the need for x-rays to further evaluate the problem area(s). Your treatment plan may involve trigger point injections, joint injections, bracing, physical therapy, dietary counseling, chiropractic, and/or massage therapy. Providing this dynamic course of action can help propel you to regain your former lifestyle and activities.
Q: Is Wharton’s Jelly from someone else safe to put into my body?
A: Yes. The company we receive our product from utilizes an FDA-regulated lab to process the umbilical cord and amniotic fluid. They do not accept any product that is contaminated with blood or meconium. This ensures the patient does not have a negative immune response to the product.
Q: Do the cells undergo DNA testing?
A: No. This is not necessary because the cells in Wharton’s Jelly do not engraft into the recipient. They simply direct the recipients cells to repair itself and then they leave their body.
Q: How soon after a consultation and exam can I receive an injection with Wharton’s Jelly?
A: To keep the product fresh, it is shipped on dry ice. Therefore, Wharton’s Jelly can only be shipped and received on business days (Monday-Friday), excluding holidays and weekends. Depending on the day of the week your consultation is conducted, you could potentially have a Wharton’s Jelly injection within 1-4 days of your initial exam.
Q: How are the cells collected and processed, and are they safe?
A: Wharton’s Jelly cells are obtained from the umbilical cord of a healthy, full-term baby, after a cesarean birth. Instead of being placed in medical waste, the umbilical cord, and other perinatal products, with maternal consent, are collected by American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) while following FDA & CDC guidelines. The donors are screened and tested for infectious diseases, as required by FDA, CDC, and WHO. The products are sent to a reputable lab where they are processed according to section 361 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Q: Do the cells obtained ever come from an aborted fetus?
A: No. The cells are obtained from the umbilical cord of a healthy, full-term baby, after a cesarean birth. Typically, the umbilical cord and other perinatal products are placed in medical waste and disposed of. Instead, with maternal consent, Wharton’s Jelly products can be collected by the AATB after following rigorous FDA & CDC guidelines.
Q: Will I have to be out of work or have to stop exercising following an injection?
A: There is little to no downtime after receiving a Wharton’s Jelly injection. You will likely not need to be out of work, as long as your job does not require jarring of the joint(s) injected. Your exercise routine may need to be adjusted for a period of time in order to avoid trauma to the area(s) injected.
Q: Will I need physical therapy after my injection?
A: While it is not required, it is highly recommended to participate in physical therapy to gain the greatest benefit from our regenerative medicine treatments. This allows strengthening and stretching of the areas surrounding the affected joint. Can you imagine having joint replacement surgery and not being prescribed physical therapy afterwards? Often, rehabilitation following a Wharton’s Jelly injection can speed up healing time.
Q: How often will I need this treatment?
A: While we are not able to predict with 100% certainty if this treatment will completely resolve your pain and degeneration, we anticipate needing a Wharton’s Jelly injection only one time, as long as there is no new injury or trauma to the joint. However, due to the fact that we continue to age, there is no guarantee that down the road, another injection may be needed.
Q: How much do Wharton’s Jelly injections cost?
A: This can vary, depending on the treatment plan and insurance coverage. Because insurance companies consider regenerative treatments “experimental,” PRP and Wharton’s Jelly are not normally covered. However, exams, x-rays, physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic care may be covered. In order to better understand your condition and if we feel we can help with your pain, please contact our office and we will work with you on a plan and be able to better discuss the cost of your treatment. We are also happy to provide itemized receipts that patients can submit to their insurance companies to use for potential reimbursement.
Q: How do I know if I am a candidate?
A: To find out if you are a candidate for the treatment options we offer at Midtown Medical Integration, call us at (863) 913-1240 to schedule a no-obligation consultation. You will sit down with our nurse practitioner, who will gather a detailed medical history and discuss your concerns. If you both feel you would like to move forward in the process, a thorough exam of the problem area will be conducted, as well as a full functional evaluation and x-rays, if needed, to determine if you would be a candidate for our regenerative protocol.
If you are looking to regain mobility and strength, consider speaking with a member of our team about Wharton’s Jelly treatment options. Contact us at (863) 913-1240 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Many of our initial appointments can be made the same day. We look forward to helping you in your journey to living your best life.
About Midtown Medical Integration
At Midtown Medical Integration, our goal is to offer alternatives to addictive narcotics and joint replacement surgery. Our approach includes fully assessing our patients’ needs, determining their causes of pain and discomfort, and then collaborating together with our team of experts to offer holistic solutions that integrate rehabilitative and regenerative medicine.
Midtown Medical Integration is located at 1828 Florida Ave S., Lakeland, FL 33803. For more information, please contact (863) 913-1240, or visit http://mmilakeland.com/.
*Disclaimer: These statements are not meant to make claims regarding treatment for specific conditions. There is no guarantee associated with treatment by Midtown Medical Integration. Like all medical procedures, Wharton’s Jelly injections have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on MMI’s site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.