It has been one year since you injected my left shoulder, and I wanted to tell you that it is awesome! I tell people about it all the time, and they find it so hard to grasp…100% and no scars, no downtime….I am so happy with my results and just wanted to say THANKS once again.”
Rotator cuff surgery or a Rotator Cuff Surgery Alternative? These MRIs come from our San Diego area Regenexx Network provider, Health Link Medical Center. This is a 49 year old woman with a 4X5 cm rotator cuff tear who wanted a rotator cuff surgery alternative. The pre-image shows extensive swelling (the white stuff) and what appears to be a large gap (red arrow) in the supraspinatus muscle (there seems to be a few fibers hanging on). The patient was treated with the Regenexx-SD procedure through an exacting injection of her own stem cells into the rotator cuff tear under ultrasound guidance, instead of undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
The excellent work was performed by Dr. Zinni. Because of the extent of the tear, she needed to be immobilized. While the patient reports significant improvement, the result above at 5 months after the injection is self-explanatory. There isn’t much in the way of natural healing in tears this big, so we credit the dramatic reduction in joint swelling and the fact that the patient now has a more normal appearing rotator cuff tendon to the stem cells. While not all patients should expect dramatic before and after MRIs like this one, we’re happy with the results and it looks like this patient may have found a rotator cuff surgery alternative!
Are stem cells an alternative to shoulder pain surgery? EB is a retired US Navy Admiral who was first seen by our clinic in January of 2009. His MRI showed multiple rotator cuff tears and military surgeons had told him he needed rotator cuff surgery for his shoulder pain. This was impacting his ability to golf and even shake hands with someone, so he opted to try the Regenexx-C procedure as an alternative to shoulder rotator cuff surgery. EB underwent an exacting imaging guided injection of his own stem cells in February of 2009. He responded slowly due to his advanced age, but by 6 months he was doing well. I hadn’t seen EB in years, but he recently sent me this nice note on fancy Admiral letterhead:
Thank you is insufficient for the quality of life you have enabled me to live due to your professional skills. The aging process is not for sissies, however life without shoulder pain when you love to play golf is a blessing!”
EB is now 4+ years out form his stem cell injection. We’ve treated and helped many types of high level patients: sports stars, actors, ballerinas, high net worth businessmen, and others. It’s nice to hear that we can now add a Navy Admiral to that list! We wish EB many happy years on the golf course and thank him for his distinguished service.
RegenexxCayman is an independently owned and operated medical services provider operating exclusively in the Cayman Islands and is not part of or affiliated with the Centeno-Schultz Clinic or any U.S. Regenexx Network provider. The Regenexx-C procedure licensed by RegenexxCayman is not approved by the U.S. FDA for use in the United States.
So how is that shoulder labrum tear stem cell patient doing? A few months ago I blogged on a patient who decided to get her own stem cells injected precisely into the tear in her shoulder labrum rather than pursuing surgery. This is a big differentiator for the Regenexx network of physicians, as we only accept physicians who have advanced interventional skills and who can place stem cells through a needle exactly where they need to go. This means that if a doctor doesn’t know the musculoskeletal system like the back of his hand and can’t place stem cells into a very specific spot using x-ray or ultrasound guidance, he won’t make the cut to get into this provider network. So how is that patient with the shoulder labrum tear faring? She’s now 4 months out from a very precise injection of her own stem cells through Dr. Hanson’s expert hands. The video below shows her progress… alt=”Shoulder labrum tear stem cell patient”>
It should be noted that not all patients can expect this type of functional recovery after having their shoulder labrum injected.
Knee Stem Cells and Skiing and Hiking make a good combination. We treat many patients who want to be as active as possible as they age without having to get their joints replaced or major surgery.
DW is a 59 year old patient who is a huge propoent of “hot yoga” and frankly could pass for his mid forties. He has been treated with the Regenexx-SCP procedure in his shoulder and ankle as well as the Regenexx-C procedure for his left knee. His left knee has a bad ACL graft from an old surgery, meniscus tears, and moderate to severe patella-femoral (kneecap) arthritis. For the last few years he’s wanted to ski the Highland Bowl in Aspen (picture above), but his knee has prevented that from happening. While not all Regenexx-C patients will ever be able to do this, this is what he recently wrote me:
“The top of the lift is just off to the right of the picture below. Then you hike up the ridge for about 30 minutes to get to the peak (12,392 ft). Then it’s a wonderful 15 minute ski down to the bottom. I’ve been wanting to do this since I first started going to Aspen 6 years ago. My knee felt good all the way up and all the way down!”
His picture at the top is below! DW will be coming back for a second treatment of his knee and hopefully we can keep him skiing 50 plus days a season over the next decade!
NOTE: RegenexxCayman is an independently owned and operated medical services provider operating exclusively in the Cayman Islands and is not part of or affiliated with the Centeno-Schultz Clinic or any U.S. Regenexx Network provider. The Regenexx-C procedure licensed by RegenexxCayman is not approved by the U.S. FDA for use in the United States.
Not all patients should expect to be able to ski this run after receiving Regenexx knee stem cell injections!
Is there a frozen shoulder surgery alternative treatment? A frozen shoulder (a.k.a. Adhesive Capsulitis) is a tough problem. Nobody knows for sure what causes it, yet it can turn a fully functional shoulder into one that can’t move at all in a matter of months. This was the case with a recent long standing patient of mine, who I had seen for other problems. She came in about 6 months ago with her left shoulder completely frozen (no range of motion in almost all directions). Frozen shoulder is often treated with either physical therapy (which she had tried and failed), MUA (Manipulation under Anesthesia), or open surgery where the scarred down joint capsule is cut with a scalpel. MUA is where the doctor puts the patient asleep and then performs aggressive range of motion to free the scarred down portions of the shoulder capsule (the thick leathery covering of the joint that allows normal motion). Through the years I’ve treated about 20 patients with MUA, but have always been disappointed with the results. Basically, all of these patients get some range of motion back, but within weeks the frozen shoulder gets “refrozen”. One of the reasons may be that these MUA procedures often use high dose steroids and anesthetics that are harmful to cartilage, but potent anti-inflammatories. In effect, in my opinion, as soon as these sledgehammer anti-inflammatories wear out, the joint goes back to where it started.
Frozen shoulder treatment with Regenexx-PL
This time I decided to try it differently. Rather than putting in these toxic steroid and anesthetic drugs, I substituted platelet lysate (Regenexx-PL procedure). After 4 MUA procedures with PL, the results are above. Her left shoulder has almost 100% normal range of motion back. Why do I think this worked this time? Rather than putting in drugs that are toxic to the shoulder (essentially making it sicker with each MUA), we placed the healing growth factors from her own blood platelets into the joint. This is just one patient, but I’m encouraged that this tweak of an existing technique may help other patients get back normal range of motion.
Not all patients treated with PL and MUA should expect to get return of full range of motion!
We’re proud of our Regenexx network providers, who have been trained to perform the Regenexx-SD procedures among others. Recently a patient with significant shoulder arthritis was seen by Brian Shiple, our network provider in Philadelphia. The patient was injected with his own stem cells into the large shoulder joint as well as into the shoulder capsule and rotator cuff. A post-procedure MRI was taken with the above impressive results-”interval regeneration involving 50% of the cartilage thickness in the superior medial humeral head”. Can all patients with shoulder arthritis who undergo shoulder stem cell procedures expect to get such cartilage regeneration or any regeneration of cartilage? No. In fact, we often see great long term improvements in pain and function without any evidence of cartilage regeneration. Dr. Shiple commented that he’d never seen a radiologist read out an MRI report with the word “regeneration”. As cellular therapies and interventional orthopedics get increasingly more sophisticated, we should all expect to see this term more and more.
NOTE: Regenexx-SD is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures has a success and failure rate. Not all Regenexx-SD patients can expect to experience regeneration of cartilage.