In many countries, burns are reportedly one of the highest causes of mortality and morbidity. The burns can cause infection, trauma, and loss of the protective function from skin loss, temperature change, not to mention excruciating pain.
Healing burn wounds is one of the most complicated processes. It has, therefore, been a subject of intensive research to regularly improve the current procedures, reduce healing time as well as improve the quality of the scar. This is especially important to alleviate the suffering of people with severe burn injuries.
One of the latest advancement in burn wound treatments is the stem cell therapy. This is a procedure that involves placing stem cells on burn wounds to promote superior wound healing. The stem cells have been proven to reduce inflammation on affected areas and reduce fibrosis, in addition to promoting faster healing.
Wait, What Are Stem Cells?
Simply put, stem cells are the repair kit for the body. Anytime you are injured, the stem cells rush to the injured area and get the healing process going. Essentially, they are unspecialized body cells capable of replicating themselves. This replication process is what helps in tissue repair.
When a body part is severely injured, it may not be accessible to the stem cells. In such an occasion, stem cells are harvested from other body parts then placed on the injured site. The process of harvesting is delicate, and requires expert procedures. Kindly note that the subject of discussion here is not embryonic stem cells and should not be confused as such.
Stem cells are harvested from the adipose tissue in the body. They are then separated and concentrated through centrifugal force then re-introduced to the body by injecting them on the injured area.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
This is the process through which the harvested, unspecialized stem cells are used on an injured body part to help repair the damaged tissues. This therapy works in two ways:
• Accelerates the healing process (especially when it is slow and prone to infections)
• Heal injuries that would otherwise cause permanent damage to the body part
Thanks to advanced medical solutions, patients today can benefit from non-invasive, effective medical treatments. Instead of grueling treatment options such as surgery, many patients are now being offered safer, effective and natural alternatives to a range of ailments.
Did you know that the stem cell therapy is actually an outpatient procedure? Now you do. Apart from the minor discomfort at the harvesting and injection sites, the procedure is relatively painless, easy and fast. Most patients go back to their daily routines the day after the procedure.
Stem Cell Therapy on Burn Wounds
Stem therapy has been quite effective on burn wounds. Once the concentrated, unspecialized stem cells are injected in the injured part, they stimulate reproduction of cells in the area. Since these cells are unspecialized, they can regenerate pretty much all tissue cells in the body. This tissue regeneration hastens the growth of a new skin while improving the collagen production. It also stimulates hair regrowth on affected areas and gradually replaces damaged tissues with new, healthy one thereby eliminating scarring.
One of the ways through which the stem cells hasten the healing process is by increasing collagen production in the skin. As the skin matures, it shrinks and tightens, which toughens the injured area.
Some Precautions on Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is an easy and quick treatment method. However, it requires, more than anything else, the services of a qualified and experienced practitioner. Therefore, before you go all out to get the procedure done, familiarize yourself with the process so that you can ask questions from an informed point of view. Be wary of practitioners who do not explain the procedure and all its benefits and side effects in a language you can understand.
Although the stem cell therapy procedure is considered safe, some patients may experience a few side effects, which is perfectly normal. Some of these side effects are listed below.
• Redness or swelling at the site of injection. This should vanish within a day or 2
• Stiffness and pain at the affected area, for a short while
• Headaches and sometimes allergic reactions (which is rare)
• In extremely rare cases, there could be spinal fluid leak and nerve damage especially when it is not done by a professional
Just like in any other medical procedure, some patients may experience adverse side effects while others come out of the procedure with only slight discomfort. Therefore, it is advisable to talk to your doctor about any present or previous conditions that could trigger adverse reactions to anything in the procedure. Let your doctor advice you on what to do.