As a physician, I have specialized in regenerative orthopedics for over 20 years. With advances in stem cell science we now have a viable nonsurgical alternative for a whole host of orthopedic problems. In fact, as you understand the full power of using your own stem cells and growth factors from your blood (PRP), you may agree that this safe, minimally invasive and easily applied technology should be considered as primary care orthopedics. If you have persistent joint, back or neck pain that lasts more than a month or two and significantly affects your quality of life, I should be the first doctor you consult with, not the last. In about 85% of cases stem cells, properly prepared and injected correctly, will be able to solve the problem or at least improve the issue significantly within a month or two.
Some of the more common issues that stem cells can address are knee or hip arthritis, degenerative disc problems or pain involving the low back or neck region, rotator cuff or shoulder arthritis and ankle or thumb arthritis. In addition, since stem cells address cartilage, ligament and tendon damage of all sorts, stem cell orthopedics is often the treatment of choice for all types of musculoskeletal injuries or degeneration.
In medicine, as in any other field, critical to solving any problem is correctly diagnosing the root cause of the issue. When I evaluate a patient’s problem I use a technique called palpation interrogation. If I palpate a specific structure and region and reproduce a patients pain i.e. “the jump sign”, we have correctly identified the pain generator and damaged region that requires regenerative injection therapy to resolve. As simple as this technique sounds it is an immensely useful tool to identify and prioritize the root cause (s) of a patients pain. As useful as MRI and ultrasound can be for certain types of problems, they fail to identify the micro tears in ligaments, tendons and joint capsules which are often the root-cause of pain. Hence, in my opinion, palpation interrogation skills are critical to the correct diagnosis and resolution of almost all orthopedic problems.
Once we understand where a patients pain is actually coming from, we can apply ourselves to fixing it. In my own stem cell orthopedic center, the protocol I use is as follows, all of which is done in the office setting in a few hours. First, we take about 8-12 small vials of blood with a standard phlebotomy technique. Then we take about 60-100cc of fat, usually from the belly, with a gentle lipo-sculpting technique. Then the patient, rests comfortably for an hour or two while we isolate the stem cells from the fat and the growth factors from the blood. Then we inject the stem cells/PRP mixture into the affected joints and carefully pepper the affected ligament and tendon attachments that are often such big pain generators. Patient rests for a few minutes and we are done.
The real beauty of such a procedure is there is only minimal downtime. Patients walk in and walk out. They can return to activities of daily living the next day. Also, if the stem cell/PRP combo is prepared and injected correctly, as previously mentioned. we have about an 85% chance of long-term resolution of the issue. Since healing times vary on a patients healing capacities, severity of degeneration of the tissues and the area or region involved, it is hard to predict if a patient will notice improvement in a week or two or if it will take 4-6 weeks before patients notice significant improvement. If a patient’s healing is delayed, we may elect to do a booster PRP treatment at about the 6-8 week mark. The stem cells remain alive for at least 4-5 months, if they are sluggish they may benefit from a booster PRP session to reignite their activity.
Importantly, if we are successful at rebuilding and healing an issue (or issues) this a long-term solution. Once we are successful at structurally rebuilding the damaged tissues that are causing the pain and debility, we would expect the improvements to last for at least five or ten years.
OK, sound too good to be true? What’s the downside? Since, if properly done, it’s so safe, the main risk is you’ll pay your money and you may not get the results you hoped for. God forbid, you elect to do a stem cell treatment and it doesn’t work, you can always resort to surgery as your last option. The average stem cell treatment is 7-10K all in. (Unfortunately, to date, medicare and insurance companies do not cover regenerative treatments since the field is still too new and not yet standardized). Nevertheless, for many, stem cells may be a God send and solve issues faster and more safely than any other approach. In the end, it’s about quality of life. This is the medicine of the future!
About Dr. Walter
Mark Walter MD has pioneered the field of regenerative orthopedics for the last 22 years and is considered one of the top stem cell orthopedic specialists in Florida. Dr. Walter completed his MD degree at McGill University (1980) and went on to do five years of post-doc work in regenerative orthopedics with the world famous Hackett-Hemwall foundation (in association with the University of Wisconsin). Dr. Walter has collaborated with the top teachers in the world and is a leading expert in using a patient’s own stem cells to heal joint, back and neck pain and avoid the need for invasive surgery. Dr. Walter is author of Stem Cell Orthopedics- A New Way to Fix Joint, Back and Neck Problems (available on amazon).
To book a consultation or reserve a seat at an upcoming free seminar (given bi-monthly) please call Dr. Walter’s office in Sarasota at 941-955-4325 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information and background, please visit us at regenortho.com.