The stem cell procedure that may change the sports medicine field in 2017 — 5 observations

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Physicians, healthcare professionals and members of the MLB community will keep a close eye on Red Sox pitcher Andrew Pomeranz’s recovery from a potentially career-saving stem cell procedure, according to The Boston Globe.

Here are five things to know:

1. Steve Yoon, MD, of the Los Angeles-based Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic extracted bone marrow from Mr. Pomeranz’s hip bone and back and injected it into his flexor tendon.

2. Mr. Pomeranz was motivated to undergo the procedure after fellow pitchers Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney opted for the treatment instead of undergoing Tommy John Surgery to treat the partial tears in their ulnar collateral ligaments.

3. Lyle Cain, MD, of Birmingham, Ala.-based Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center said, “Stem cells are a way to try to deliver the chemicals to cells and the chemical attractive factors to that area to allow the body to heal that tissue. That’s what PRP was used for as well. Stem cells have more promise because not only do they have the chemicals that platelet-rich plasma has, but you’re also putting some of the healing cells themselves in that area.”

4. Pitcher Bartolo Colon was the first baseball player known to receive stem cell treatment when he received injections in his injured rotator cuff and elbow in the Dominican Republic in 2010. The 43-year-old pitcher’s career was resurrected following the operation, partially prompting the method’s increased popularity.

5. If Mr. Pomeranz has a successful 2017 season, the number of players undergoing stem cell procedures may rise.

More articles on sports medicine:

Nearly-paralyzed ex-NFL player promoting neck injury research — 4 takeaways

Does single-sport focus increase athlete injuries? 5 things to know

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