The most common condition that I treat as a stem cell orthopedic specialist is arthritis or degeneration of the knee. The knee is the largest joint in the body and arguably the most prone to degeneration. We see the whole gamut from mild degeneration to full blown bone-on-bone osteoarthritis. Our goal is to help patients avoid knee arthroscopy /replacement. Even with severe cases we have about an 80% success rate. Our intention is not to just postpone surgery but to heal the knee so that patient will be able to avoid surgery for the long term. To me, surgery should always be the last resort and my intention is to do everything possible to find a nonsurgical way to return the patient to full and active life (and use of the affected joint or structures).
Knee arthritis is not just a loss of cartilage but also involves loosening of the capsule and damage to the surrounding ligaments and tendons. This loosening and instability of the joint is very important. If the femur is not held firm on the tibial plateau the joint can shift or subluxate. This displacement is a serious problem. First, it pulls on the highly innervated capsule, a mechanism that may actually produce much more pain than the commonly referred to “bone-on-bone” mechanism. Secondly, nothing will accelerate damage and degeneration of the joint faster than repeated subluxation. The articular cartilage is grooved to hold the joint in place, sliding out of place will cause tearing etc. of the cartilage.
In stem cells orthopedics, one of our first goals when we inject stem cells in and around the knee is to tighten and stabilize the joint. This initiative in itself may greatly lessen the pain from the joint. Further improvements can occur over time as the stem cells regrow cartilage.
The safest and the most effective stem cells to use are those from your own fat, mixed in with PRP (growth factors from your own blood). It is very important to not only inject in the joint but also to pepper the surrounding ligamentous capsule. I also highly recommend that you check your wheel alignment and make sure you have optimal orthotics to minimize the strain and keep everything in alignment.
Prior to the procedure patients are weaned off anti-inflammatories as they interfere with the body’s healing systems. Following the procedure patients are encouraged to return to activities of daily living and start walking immediately (with corrective orthotics please!). The knee needs movement to heal optimally. Things like cycling etc. can be introduced as tolerated. Sporting activities such as golf or tennis may take a little longer depending on how severe the problem was to start with. It can take up to 4-6 weeks before the joint is strong again.
About Dr. Walter: Mark Walter MD, CM, CCFP has pioneered the field of Regenerative Orthopedics for the last 20 years and is considered one of the top Stem Cell Orthopedic specialists in Florida. Dr. Walter received his M.D. degree from McGill (1980) and completed his residency in Family Practice and Sports Medicine in 1982. He went on to do five years of post-doc fellowship work in Regenerative Orthopedics with the world-renowned Hackett-Hemwall foundation, in association with the University of Wisconsin. During that period Dr. Walter was mentored by and worked with some of the top regenerative orthopedic teachers in the world. Dr. Walter is a leading expert in Myofascial pain generators and ligament and tendon regeneration.
For more information, to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Walter (by phone or in-person) or to sign up for a free seminar, please call Stem Cell Orthopedics in Sarasota, FL at (941) 955-4325
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