Everything You Need to Know About Tarek El Moussa’s Controversial Stem Cell Treatment for His Back Pain

Flip or Flop’s Tarek El Moussa’s string of bad health luck continues as he recently suffered another serious back injury while lifting weights at the gym, according to RadarOnline. The injury is so severe, El Moussa can hardly walk and is in extreme pain.

This is the second time the reality star experienced a serious back injury, People reports. El Moussa, who also survived cancer twice, is desperate to regain his life and turned to a controversial stem cell treatment to relieve his anguish. This is what we know about his treatment and why it is so controversial (page 5).

1. Here’s where the stem cells originate

Tarek El Moussa’s stem cell procedure. | Tarek El Moussa via Instagram

El Moussa said doctors removed fat from his body to create the treatment. “It’s CRAZY!!! They lipo my fat out with a 12-inch needle,” he posted on Instagram.

Adult stem cells originate in bone marrow or fat, according to Mayo Clinic. Early stage clinical trials suggest adult stem cells may create “unrelated type cells.” Which means bone marrow stem cells could generate bone or heart muscle cells.

Next: This is what they do with the extracted sample.

2. This is how tissue transforms


Scientists separate stem cells from the fat. | indukas/iStock/Getty Images

El Moussa describes the process as, “They spin it and separate the stem cells into a liquid,” via Instagram.

“Patient’s stem cells are obtained from their pelvic (hip) bone,” according to Regenerative Orthopaedics. The practitioner then concentrates the stem cells over 10 fold in a special centrifuge.”

Next: This is how long the procedure takes.

3. The process is amazing

The treatment is administered via an IV. | iStock/Getty Images

The entire procedure is relatively fast, taking only 20 to 30 minutes when administered by IV, according to Stem Cell Institute. “They then take the liquid and inject it through an IV,” according to El Moussa in his Instagram. “Somehow…the stem cells find the injured areas of your body and begin the process of healing it at a super fast rate.”

Next: Patients may start feeling better at this rate.

4. This is what you can expect after treatment

lower back pain

You can expect some localized pain, but may experience relief after about two months.  | globalmoments/iStock/Getty Images

The treatment has no side effects, except for some localized pain around the injection site, Stem Cell Institute cites. Patients may experience pain relief up to eight weeks after the procedure and continued improvement over six months, according to Regenerative Orthopaedics.

Next: El Moussa is excited about the treatment, but this is why you should exercise caution.

5. The reason why treatment is controversial

Tarek El Moussa Flip or Flop

The treatment hasn’t been approved by the FDA yet. | Tarek El Moussa via Instagram

Although it shows promise, stem cell therapy to treat back pain is not widely approved, The Los Angeles Times reports. Plus, stem cell treatment is not FDA approved, although the agency recently announced it plans to fast-track a path to create a safe treatment, according to CNN.

Next: Why patients should be cautious.

6. Stem cell expert said this about the treatment

Stem cell experts are skeptical about these clinics. | iStock/Getty Images

A Florida stem cell expert said the therapy is at least five years away from being safe, according to West Palm Beach NBC affiliate, WPTV. “Even for myself and my family, I wouldn’t advise them to have stem cell therapy. My worry is the stem cell clinics are really putting the lives of our patients at risk.” Dr. Cesario Borlongan said.

Next: This is another reason patients should do research too.

7. Doctors warn patients about this

older at doctor

Doctors warn against trusting celebrity medical endorsements. | AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images

“Media organizations like CNN should use extra caution when reporting on testimonials from celebrities such as sports stars about their experiences with unproven stem cell treatments,” Paul Knoepfler, a biologist at UC Davis told The Los Angeles Times. “Especially with all the for-profit stem cell clinics out there looking for new customers.”

Next: But they huge believers.

8. The treatment worked for these famous athletes

Jack Nicklaus hits his tee shot at The Masters

The golf legend responded to stem cell therapy. | Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Professional golfer Jack Nicklaus used stem cell therapy to relieve his back pain and said it was more effective than anything else he’s tried, Healthline reports. Also, professional football player, Peyton Manning had stem cell therapy to expedite neck surgery recovery and managed to return to the field.

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