Hospital performs stem cell implant

The Hospital at Westlake Medical Center says it has performed the first stem cell implant in the city.

It hopes the procedure will accelerate spine fusion, which could help alleviate debilitating back pain, in a middle-aged female patient.

The stem cells came from the patient's own bone marrow. Dr. Scott Spann, who performed the procedure, harvested the marrow, which contains stem cells, from the patient's hip using a special needle and other specialized equipment from SpineSmith, a subsidiary of Austin-based VCD Medical Inc.

SpineSmith collaborated with another company which uses a centrifuge system to concentrate the bone marrow and stem cells, says Robert Donohue, vice president of SpineSmith. The concentrated stem cells were then implanted in the injured spine area.

Donohue says the ability to concentrate stem cells and pack the injured area with the concentrated stem cells has been shown to greatly assist healing. He says implanting concentrated stem cells has been in use in Europe for several years.