“Stem cell injections represent the most powerful non-surgical tool we have to heal knee pain.”
-Mark Walter M.D., RegenOrtho.com
Stem cells should be considered by anyone with significant knee pain. In many cases patients can avoid invasive surgery. Stem cells aren’t magic and certainly can’t fix everything. But, if done properly they have an excellent chance of success. Even with severe bone-on-bone arthritis we have at least an 80% chance of success.
Our approach in regenerative orthopedics is totally different than surgical orthopedics. We like to think in terms of joint stability. If the joint is unstable, there is pulling on the attachments of the joint capsule which is a huge contributor to joint pain. Unfortunately, x-rays and MRI are poor measures of joint stability. The only way to properly evaluate this metric is with a technique called palpation interrogation
Treatment of choice in most cases is to use a patients own stem cells (from fat) and growth factors from their blood (PRP) to help rebuild the joint and tighten the joint capsule, thus making the joint stronger and more stable.
The procedure is done as an outpatient procedure and done in a single day. Patients walk in and in a few hours, walk out. The whole thing takes about 3 to 4 hours. Best of all, patients can return to activities of daily living almost immediately. Yes, you are a little sore where we take the fat and where we do the injections, but this passes quickly.
How quickly can patients feel better? Since every patient has their own healing path, this varies quite a bit. I have patients that swear they are better even within the first few days. Others take longer and it may take up to about 6 weeks to feel the changes. The stem cells remain alive and working for at least 4-5 months, so in the case that a patient heals slowly or wants more improvement and faster, we may opt to do a PRP booster at about the 6-10 week mark. The booster will reignite the stem cells and accelerate a patients healing.
How long does the improvement last? Please understand that stem cells are a structural rebuild not just a pain management. Once we are successful at rebuilding the structures that were the underlying root-cause of pain, the improvements should last for at least several years.
A stem cell procedure, if done properly, is very safe and highly effective. Using a patients own stem, cells from fat and growth factors from blood is about as safe as it gets. In addition, if you find the right doctor with the right skills, the procedure is highly effective.
So, what’s the downside? The main risk is that you will pay your money and it won’t work. The it comes to healing the human body, one can never predict the outcome. Instead. I just focus on doing the best job possible and trying to set the patient up for success as much as possible.
Proper rehab is very important to a great outcome. Patients should have optimal orthotics to properly support healing. Movement should start right away although we don’t want to load the healing knee too much for at least 6 weeks. Cycling and swimming exercises can often be great rehab exercises.
In conclusion, in most cases the stem cells/PRP combo is a viable alternative to knee replacement or major surgery and should be carefully considered by all patients with serious knee issues. This is the medicine of the future.
About Mark Walter MD: Dr. Walter has pioneered the field of Regenerative Orthopedics for the last 20 years and is one of Florida’s top Stem Cell Orthopedic specialists. His new book Stem Cell Orthopedics is now available on amazon
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For more information, to schedule a personal consultation or to sign up for a free seminar, please call Stem Cell Orthopedics in Sarasota, at (941) 955-4325 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please visit us at DrWalterMD.com