International Spine Institute’s Dr. Marco Rodriguez Using Stem Cell Therapy Instead of Spinal Surgery to Relieve Chronic Low Back Pain

The spine fusion alternative is less invasive, reduces back pain, and potentially can rejuvenate and regenerate the spinal disc. Photo: Marco Rodriguez, MD, Surgeon meeting with a patient. Credit: International Spine Institute

BATON ROUGE, La., Jan. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Marco Rodriguez, MD is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon and founder of the International Spine Institute. He offers regenerative stem cell therapy instead of spinal surgery to relieve chronic low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease for qualified and select candidates.

Devoted to patient-centered care, Dr. Rodriguez created International Spine Institute in 2015 with the idea of developing a concierge and medical tourism practice that would lead the way in least invasive procedures offering stem cell disc therapy, endoscopic spine surgery, and artificial disc replacement – as alternatives to spinal fusion, which he considers a last-resort surgery.

Estimates show low back pain in the United States to be a $200 billion-dollar problem, with more than 80 percent of the population experiencing low back pain in varying degrees over their lifetime. According to The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain, American businesses are losing money because of lost days of work (nearly 300 million days per year) and lower productivity. Chronic low back pain is the number one cause of disability in most countries, one of the most common reasons for missed work in the United States (more than $253 billion in lost wages) and the second most common reason for doctor visits.


In many cases low back pain is associated with degenerative changes in the spine and the spinal disc. Degenerative disc disease results from normal wear and tear or traumatic injury of one or more spinal discs causing low back pain. Unlike other tissues in the body, the spinal disc has a very low blood supply that provides the necessary nutrients and stem cells needed for regeneration. Once a disc is injured, it does not have the ability to repair itself.

Stem cell therapy is an innovative way to collect stem cells from the bone marrow, process them to isolate the stem cells, and then under fluoroscopic X-ray guidance, a spine surgeon can precisely deliver the stem cells to the affected degenerative disc.

Too often patients suffering from degenerative disc disease, or low back pain, cope with the pain, seek pain management, are prescribed opiate narcotic medications, or are offered spinal fusion as treatment options.

“We are filling the gap between pain management and spinal surgery. Pain management is quite simply short-term relief and has huge risks with regards to opiate narcotic addiction,” said Dr. Rodriguez. He adds that “recovery time for minimally invasive spine procedures is 4-6 weeks; spinal fusions are 3-6 months. Often times, patients put up with pain because they are afraid to be out of work that long, which risks further degeneration.”


Spinal fusion surgery removes the spinal disc between two or more vertebrae in the spine and the adjacent vertebrae are “fused” by bone grafts and/or metal devices and secured with screws and is performed through the abdomen or back. Spinal fusion, which is the preferred method for most spine doctors, is a very invasive and costly procedure for the patient, and sometimes comes with poor outcomes, not to mention significant risks, long recoveries, and a likely follow-up surgery 15-20 years out.

According to Dr. Rodriguez: Regenerative stem cell therapy for chronic back pain has been studied and results showed an 80 percent reduction in the rate of spinal fusions for patients who had a spinal fusion recommended. The pain was also reduced significantly and function was improved dramatically.”

Stem cell therapy is an excellent alternative to minimally invasive surgery like spinal fusion. Least invasive options, such as stem cell therapy, use a small skin puncture to access the bone marrow and then a needle injection of the stem cells to the disc. Patients are kept comfortable with local anesthetic or conscious IV sedation, experience less pain and return to work and play sooner than minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery.

Stem cell therapy can be an effective treatment for a variety of degenerative spinal conditions, including herniated disc, sciatica, and low back pain. This less invasive procedure is more cost-effective and decreases patient recovery time, quickly getting them back to a pain-free lifestyle without the added risk of opioid dependency. Opioid dependency has become a national epidemic that kills nearly 100 people a day in the United States. Regenerative stem cell therapy is an innovative healing option, which uses the body’s own stem cells from bone marrow to treat discogenic low back pain due to degenerative disc diseases by reintroducing them to seal and heal the disc.

Least Invasive Stem Cell Procedure:

  • Outpatient procedure uses local numbing anesthetic or conscious IV sedation
  • No Incisions, small puncture through the skin
  • Minimal pain and discomfort
  • Return to work and active lifestyle as early 1 week
  • Causes less pain and trauma to the back muscles
  • Significant cost reduction for the patient

Watch Dr. Rodriguez explain how it works:

After conservative methods have failed, endoscopic spine surgery and regenerative stem cell therapy are spinal fusion alternatives that provide better experiences for the patient all around. “We’re just the facilitators,” says Dr. Rodriguez. “Helping the body to heal itself. Sometimes the best way to fix something is to put things in place and let the body do all the work.”

About International Spine Institute

Based in Baton Rouge, LA, the International Spine Institute specializes in concierge medicine, medical tourism and offering patients least invasive spine procedures featuring stem cell therapy, endoscopic spine surgery and minimally invasive artificial disc replacement. These procedures return patients back to their normal routine quickly, with minimal pain and recovery as possible. We put patients first. Dr. Marco A. Rodriguez and his team strive to listen to patients’ needs and provide solutions that restore function, relieve pain and helps patients regain their quality of life.

For more information, visit Find us on Facebook at and on YouTube at

Press Contact:

Todd Bouwkamp
Marketing Consultant

Related Images

Marco Rodriguez, MD
Surgeon meeting with a patient

Stem Cell Therapy
Animation of stem cell

Related Links

Low Back Pain

Stem Cell Therapy Overview

Related Video

SOURCE International Spine Institute;

Categories: Genetics