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Red Flags For “Stem Cell Therapy” Clinics

Samuel G Oltman, ND, RMSK

The field of “stem cell therapy” and regenerative medicine has incredible potential and promise. But like with many areas on the cutting edge, there are terms and claims that can be very confusing to potential patients. There are a few key points that potential patients can look out for to help evaluate whether a clinic is reputable. These red flags are easy to spot and should indicate to any potential patient to find another provider. 

“Aren’t you (Cascade Regenerative Medicine) a ‘stem cell clinic?’” No. We address the gap between physical therapy and surgery with non-surgical interventions and conservative musculoskeletal therapies. We utilize regenerative injection therapies within our larger repertoire of options for patients and we don’t do “stem cell therapy”-- we do MFAT. As you will see, the difference is easy to see. 

Red Flags On Websites or In Clinic Interactions

  • The term “Stem Cell Therapy”

  • The term “stem cell therapy” used to describe treatments for orthopedic treatments is illegal and false advertising. Stem cell therapy refers to bone marrow transplants for cancer patients.

  • Fat and bone marrow are sources of adult stem cells but these procedures are not “stem cell therapy”. They are called MFAT (fat) or BMAC (bone marrow). 

  • If a clinic is using the term stem cell therapy on their website you know they either don’t know what they’re talking about, or are using the term on purpose to be deceiving. 

  • Umbilical/Fetal Tissue Products

  • The use of umbilical cord, amniotic fluid, or other fetal tissue products is not permitted under the current FDA guidance.

  • There used to be a loophole and it has since closed. There is no legal way to sell these products to patients and most clinics will double down and call it “stem cell therapy”

  • There are no cells in these products. Quality assurance is non-existent. Do not fall for the “young stem cells” sales pitch. 

  • No Physician or Professional Info On The Website 

  • If there is no actual provider on the website, this is a very bad sign. 

  • Is there any specific information about the provider’s credentials? “Certified in ultrasound” can simply mean they took a weekend course, for example. There is a huge difference in ultrasound competency that you can verify by looking for the RMSK credential. 

  • Is the first person to contact a sales person? If so, it’s a cash grab, not medicine. 

  • Chiropractic Clinic

  • If a chiropractor is the owner of the clinic and leading your care in regards to any regenerative injection, you need to re-evaluate the level of expertise you're getting. 

  • Chiropractors are great and I fully respect the profession. But they do not have a scope that includes injecting and if they are running a regenerative medicine clinic it means they are putting patients through a “mill” and outsourcing the actual injecting to an inexperienced nurse practitioner or physician assistant. 

  • Bonus “Orange Flags”

  • In general, does the website look like it was written by ChatGPT? It is filled with generic stock photos? Does it actually have useful information about what is being done? 

  • Do they make overt claims about  curing specific diseases? 

  • Are there links to medical research? Not blog articles but actual PubMed research. 

  • Is finding pricing information is made difficult and is not transparent? 

Our website is in stark contrast to all of the above. We believe this is self-evident and something we are proud of. We do not use the term “Stem Cell Therapy” because we don’t do that, we do MFAT. We don’t use umbilical products because they are a scam. I (Dr. Oltman) specialize in ultrasound-guided injection therapy and am the person doing the intake, physical exam, and discussion of treatment options– never upselling you. Our website is detailed, written by me, full of practical information, and covered with links to PubMed articles to back up what we say. 

stem cell therapy

Keep in mind these red flags and you’ll prevent yourself from getting fooled. When done seriously as a way to address the gap between physical therapy and surgery, regenerative medicine is a crucial tool within orthopedic medicine. Come see the difference today at Cascade Regenerative Medicine.


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