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C. Thomas Vangsness, Jr., M.D.


Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. C. Thomas Vangsness, Jr., places a high priority on identifying new and better methods of treatment in his field. Recently, Dr. Vangsness and colleagues published an article in American Journal of Sports Medicine in which they investigated the therapeutic potential for the use of placental tissue in orthopaedic sports medicine.

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Interest in the regenerative capabilities of stem cells has increased rapidly over the past two decades. This has been largely due to the discovery of MSCs. MSCs are often referred to as mesenchymal stem cells, but they are different from stem cells in important ways. While scientists are still trying to understand how MSCs work, recent research suggests that MSCs release chemical signals that promote repair.

The human placenta is a rich source of MSCs. In recent years, a number of groups have started to investigate the regenerative potential of placental MSCs for orthopaedic conditions.

Study Results

To date, placenta-derived products have been used to treat a number of different conditions, including tendon, cartilage, and ligament injuries as well as osteoarthritis and joint inflammation. However, most of these studies have been carried out in animals. The only human studies using placental tissues that have been conducted to date involve difficult skin/wound coverage situations, such as severe burns and diabetic ulcers.


Recent data suggest that placental tissues and placenta-derived products may have potential benefits. However, clinical use of these treatments has been limited. When considering placenta-based treatments, it is important to understand that the currently available placenta-derived treatments are not MSCs or stem cell treatments.

Dr. Vangsness is a highly dedicated senior orthopaedic surgeon at USC. If you would like to learn more about the research he has conducted or if you are in need of orthopaedic treatment, please request your consultation today. Call (323) 442-5800 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.