Q. What are the risks, complications, and side effects of a cellular medicine treatment?
A. Anytime a needle is placed into the human body there is a chance of bleeding, bruising, pain, infection, and nerve injury.
- When performing the procedure with ultrasound or x-ray guidance the risk of hitting a large blood vessel that could cause excessive bruising or bleeding is much less than when the treatments are performed without guidance. Patients generally experience some bruising after a treatment. This usually clears up in a week or two even after liposuction and bone marrow aspirations, which use larger than normal needles.
- The pain involved is related to the needle procedure and then, after the procedure, by the initial inflammation produced in the injected tissue by the treatment. When possible, the pain is minimized during the procedure with superficial injections of lidocaine. Sometimes the anesthesia can be injected closer to the target tissue to minimize the effect of the procedure pain. We also employ regional anesthesia blocks to help the patient feel minimal pain when their joint is being treated. The pain after treatment is treated with narcotic pain medication for a few days to a few weeks depending on what area was treated and the patient’s tolerance to pain.
- Although my patients have not experienced an infection in over twenty years of practice, the chance of suffering an infection from a needle-based procedure is 1 in 50,000 for a joint injection. We take meticulous care in our skin preparation and follow all proper injection guidelines.
- Nerve injury is a rare occurrence in injection work, especially when performed with guidance. It is not normal or expected to hit a nerve during regenerative injection work. If you ever feel an electric shock going down the limb or pins and needles during an injection, you should let your doctor know immediately so the needle can be redirected. Even if the nerve is touched and injected with cells or dextrose, nerves usually recover very quickly and completely. The risk of permanent injury to nerves when inadvertently injected by anesthesiologists performing regional anesthesia in the operating room setting is 1 in 90,000.