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Welcome to an exciting new field in Orthopedics! We now have the technology to use your very own stem cells to help the body heal many common orthopedic problems such as cartilage tears, bone-on-bone arthritis, rotator cuff, hip arthritis, lumbar disc issues and many other conditions. Stem cells have an innate intelligence and can be a powerful healing force. They are the power that built you in the first place, they certainly have the power to heal you! The real trick is to use the right kind of stem cells, prepare them properly and inject them with precision at the root cause of the problem so they can do their job. In skilled hands we have a better than 80% success rate for most common orthopedic issues.

As a physician I have specialized in the field of Regenerative Orthopedics for the last 20 years. In the early years we used dextrose solutions (Prolotherapy) to help rebuild and tighten ligaments and tendons. Over a decade ago we began to use Platelet rich plasma (PRP) which was the first biologic regenerative solution. This amped up the regenerative power of our solutions so we could now heal larger tears etc. However, in the last 6 years or so, the ability to isolate and concentrate a person’s own stem cells in an office based lab setting has been a game changer. Stem cells, when combined with PRP growth factors, multiplies by perhaps ten-fold the regenerative power of PRP alone. In the right conditions and if used optimally, your own stem cells can rebuild almost any tissue in your body, in ways that modern medicine is only beginning to understand and with results that may be far superior to current surgical technology.

Make no mistake, Regenerative Orthopedics has a far different approach than surgical orthopedics. We inject and regenerate at a cellular level, versus using surgical approaches to repair and replace at a macro level. In Stem Cell Orthopedics, we can’t fix everything but in many cases, particularly for chronic conditions, we might have just as good and, in some cases, a far superior outcome. With far less risk, I might add.

Surgical orthopedics has a very mechanical approach to problems and looks at everything in terms of bones, cartilage, discs and nerves. Stem Cell Orthopedics also considers these structures but goes further to consider the myofascia (ligaments, tendons and joint capsules) that hold the body together. The myofascia is the miracle connective tissue fabric that holds the whole body together and gives it strength while allowing flexibility and movement.

Of particular interest to Stem Cell Orthopedics are the attachment points where the myofascia connects bone to bone (ligaments) and muscle to bone (tendons). These highly innervated attachments give joint feedback and proprioception that allows coordinated movement. If damaged with tears or microtears these attachments can become huge pain generators, so much so that in many cases they may be the prime pain generator(s). Here’s a crucial point- as useful as MRI and ultrasound are for imaging many types of problems, they are not sensitive enough to pick up smaller microtears in the myofascia. Hence the diagnosis of the true root-cause of the pain may be masked if a doctor relies too heavily on standard imaging techniques and does not complement his evaluation with a thorough palpation exam of the myofascia.

In the final analysis, Stem Cell Orthopedics is a “hands-on” specialty as a palpation methodology is the only way to properly diagnose these stretched attachments as pain generators and to prioritize their relative importance in a given patient. If direct palpation of a certain structure produces the “jump sign” and reproduces the pain, it is virtually diagnostic that you have found the root-cause of pain. It is said that half of solving a problem is correctly diagnosing what’s causing it. Once identified, we can inject stem cells with specificity and have a really good chance of solving the root cause of the issue.

Let’s review the pros and cons. Minimally invasive, no downtime, 80% success rate, effectiveness in addressing myofascial issues, minimal risk- the only real downside to a stem cell procedure is you have to pay for it and it may not work. Given the risk-reward ratio, I would highly recommend that if you have a significant orthopedic problem, you find the best stem cell orthopedic specialist you can and fully explore the stem cell option prior to opting for surgical options. If done properly it may solve your problem in an amazing and elegant fashion. It is the medicine of the future!

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’s particular expertise is ligament and tendon regeneration and he is a leading expert in Myofascial pain generators.

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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