How does the thumb surgery alternative of an injection of super concentrated platelets into the thumb joint compare with thumb surgery recovery? For starters, the thumb surgery alternative involves an injection which has minimal recovery time while thumb surgery recovery takes months. CN is a 77 year old man with a long history of left thumb pain after a fall. He was first evaluated by our clinic in September of 2010. He was treated with SCP (Super Concentrated Platelets) with three injections from September 2010 through March of 2011. His CMC joint was injected as well as the surrounding ligaments, all with high accuracy using ultrasound guidance of all injections. Now at 22 months out from his last injection he reports 90% improvement. The upshot? Thumb surgery for CMC arthritis is a big operation, one where usually a tendon is taken from the forearm and coiled up and used as a substitute for cartilage in the joint. So what’s easier, a big surgery or an injection of your own platelets with a tiny needle?
NOTE: Regenexx-SCP is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures has a success and failure rate. A 90% improvement is not neccessarily the result that every patient will experience.
Can a trigger finger injection help without surgery? SM is a young elderly woman who is a bus driver. Through the years she developed triggering and catching when she moved her middle fingers. She became unable to flex that finger more than about half way and noticed her fingers locking and catching more in the morning. She tried two blind cortisone trigger finger injections which lasted a few months to help the pain, but didn’t help the finger locking. Three weeks ago Dr. Hanson used an Interventional Orthopedics procedure that allowed this patient to avoid surgery through a specialized trigger finger injection. In the picture above, you can see his needle cutting the scar tissue around the A1 pulley. This pulley is a lot like what it sounds like, a pulley that magnifies and controls the force of the flexor tendon (rope) that bends the finger. To understand this better, think of a rope and pulley. The system when fully functional is smooth, but what if the metal pulley was dented? The rope might have a hard time passing through the damaged pulley. The same thing can happen in your finger – a damaged A1 pulley can cause locking of the finger and “triggering” as the flexor tendon (rope) goes through the pulley. The pulley is normally repaired through surgery, but now we can use Interventional Orthopedic techniques to fix the pulley and break up the scar tissue through an injection without surgery. The result? By the next morning this patient had full range of motion and no further triggering and went right back to work without any bracing. She’s doing great at two weeks out! The upshot? Why undergo more invasive surgery when your trigger finger can be fixed through an ultrasound guided injection?
NOTE: A Trigger Finger Injection is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures has a success and failure rate. Not all patients experience the same results.
DD is a 51 year old athletic woman with a two year history of neck and arm/hand pain. While she had bulging discs in her neck and had Dr. Schultz perform cervical epidurals to help that issue, she continued with pain in the elbow and into her hand. She was diagnosed with ulnar neuropathy (a bad nerve) at the elbow and was considering an ulnar transposition (where the nerve is moved from it’s normal spot in the ulnar groove to another spot). The issue with that surgery is it’s very invasive and can result in a damaged ulnar nerve. In addition, the ulnar nerve surgery recovery time can be significant. Instead of this invasive surgery, she had Dr. Hanson perform an injection based nerve hydro-dissection, where the entrapped nerve is treated by dissecting away the scar tissue with fluid (in this case the growth factors from her own blood platelets). The recovery time was minimal, as it was all done under ultrasound guidance through a needle. Here is her report after the ulnar nerve procedure:
“Just wanted to let you know that I think the 2nd go round of hydro nerve dissection on my right ulnar nerve at wrist and elbow really did the trick. You treated me initially at end of Dec (R side), early Feb (L side) and then March 8th (R side). Since that last tx the incidence of numbness in my pinky and ring fingers is gone, and even on the rare occasion I forget and flex the elbows completely in, the numbness, if it occurs, is not nearly as profound, especailly on the right. If I find myself working in Colorado in the future I may have you do a 2nd tx on the left too.
I am very greatful to Dr Schultz as well (didn’t have his email). I believe my neck has improved quite a bit due to his treatments. Thank you both. The interruption in sleep my symptoms caused is something I don’t miss. Your skills and attitudes are greatly appreciated! You rock!”
It’s always good to “rock”!
NOTE: An Injection Based Nerve Hydrosection is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures has a success and failure rate. Not all patients experience the same results.
One Journalist’s Personal Hand Stem Cell Story… I often find that many times, that it’s better to let our patients tell their own stories. As I have said in numerous blog posts, we can’t help everyone, but we try hard for our patients. This patient is a writer with hand arthritis who works for an on-line news publication called Boogai. Her ultimate outcome is unknown, but here’s her story…
Today They Draw My Bone Marrow Stem Cells and Inject Them
February 27, 2012
By Carmen Reynolds, Editor-in-Chief, Boogai.net
It’s around 4 a.m., and I don’t have to be up until about 5:15 in order to fit in a workout; but I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself.
This week has been anticipated, hoped for, prayed for and dreamed about for many months. It’s the reason we’ve driven for five days to get to the top stem cell clinic in the nation which accepts only physically active candidates with joint problems. When even triathlete neurosurgeons come to this clinic to have their joints worked on, you know you’ve found the right place.
My hands started hurting a few years back and as of last summer, writing, typing, opening jars, pushing, lifting, opening doors, squeezing a toothpaste tube or opening a bottle of water became excruciating. Soon I could do less and less, no pushups, no lifting heavier weights, choosing turtlenecks and pullover sweaters since I could no longer button up. Hubby’s become the full-time cook and facilitator. Read more…
NOTE: Regenexx-SD is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures has a success and failure rate. Not all hand-thumb prodeure patients experience the same results.
LZ is a 43 year old woman with rheumatoid arthritis who was evaluated by us last year with a history of debilitating right foot pain and rheumatoid arthritis. She originally sought us out because she wanted a foot and ankle surgery alternative. Imaging and exam demonstrated that she had severe arthritis in the talonavicular joint of the foot. This joint connects the ankle bones to the foot bones on the inside of the area between the foot and ankle. Patients with arthritis in this joint commonly report trouble wearing shoes, as any direct pressure causes pain. While we don’t usually treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis, we agreed to cautiously proceed by injecting her own stem cells into this foot joint under imaging guidance. In December of last year she underwent a Regenexx-SD procedure and by March reported 65% improvement in her foot with an ability to do more walking. By the spring, noting improvement in her foot, she was eager to see if we could tackle her hands with more stem cell injections. She had a 4 year history of left wrist pain which hurt at a constant 6-7/10 pain and that was made worse by activities such as opening jars. On her MRI, she had a partial tear of the radial scapholunate ligament with arthritis in the second MCP joint of the hand (joint at the base of the second finger). She underwent another Regenexx-SD stem cell procedure in March of 2011 focusing on these areas. She then underwent a 2nd hand arthritis stem cell same day procedure in May of this year where more finger joints and her bilateral wrists were injected. She recently wrote this note to Dr. Hanson:
“I wanted to give you an update on my hands. I’ve had very good results in both my hands. I would say I’m about 60% better. I started noticing big changes around my 6-7th week. I definitely have more grip and strength with my hands than before. I am able to open some jars with no assistance. I can shower and get dressed with less pain. My hands don’t hurt as much.”
We’re cautiously optimistic about LZ’s progress and hope that she continues to improve. Since rheumatoid arthritis is such a devastating illness where even simple things like opening a jar can become an impossible chore, any increased function we can give her will help her stay independent.
NOTE: Regenexx-SD is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures has a success and failure rate. Not all Regnexx-SD patients experience the same results.