It is estimated that over 126 million Americans, or nearly one in two adults, are affected with some form of musculoskeletal disorder, condition, or injury – a number comparable to the percentage of the population currently living with a chronic lung or heart condition.
While there are a number of treatment modalities proven to be effective for treating musculoskeletal disorders, conditions, and injuries, using stem cells appears to be among the most explored promising potential option of these methods.
With mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) being the preferred source of stem cell, mostly because of their abundance (including sources such as bone, tendon, skin, and blood) and ability to differentiate to many different tissues, orthopedic surgeons have focused largely on MSC therapies for healing a number of specific orthopedic conditions, including the healing of fractures, regenerating articular cartilage in degenerative joints, healing ligaments or tendon injuries, and replacing degenerative vertebral discs.
The goal of the comprehensive literature review conducted by Akpancar et al. was to evaluate the most recent progress in stem cell procedures and current indications in the orthopedic clinical care setting.
Specifically, as part of this review, the authors found that therapeutic applications using stem cells, and MSCs in particular, allow the stem cells to be used as progenitor cells as a way to enhance the healing and repair process. The authors point out that while many sources of stem cells have been considered for use in orthopedic procedures, including bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs), adipose-derived stem cells (AD-MSCs), synovial tissue-derived stem cells (ST-MSCs), peripheral blood-derived progenitor cells, and bone marrow concentrate, the optimal source of stem cells has yet to be determined.
In addition, Akpancar et al. while reviewing the orthopedic indication of stem cells on various musculoskeletal disorders, conditions, and injuries, found that in large part, stem cell therapy demonstrated positive results in improved healing in a variety of orthopedic indications, including major orthopedic bone-joint injuries, osteoarthritis-cartilage defects, ligament-tendon injuries, as well as other conditions.
Despite these findings, the authors also point out that while there have been large amounts of preclinical studies conducted and there continues to be increasing interest in performing additional studies on human subjects, the current findings gathered from preclinical studies are still preliminary. Considering this, the authors recommend additional research be conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of stem cells therapy in orthopedic surgery.
Source: (2016, August 16). The Current Perspectives of Stem Cell Therapy in Orthopedic Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5253188/
 “One in two Americans have a musculoskeletal condition: New report ….” 1 Mar. 2016, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160301114116.htm.