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.
We always get asked by patients how long we think the effects of a stem cell treatment for shoulder rotator cuff can last. One of the advantages of the Regenexx stem cell procedures is the long-term follow-up on our patients when these specific stem cell treatment protocols are used. AB is now 82 year old woman who we treated 4 years ago for severe rotator cuff tendinitis with partial tears in the rotator cuff. At three months out her MRI showed significant improvement and at two years out her shoulder was significantly improved as well. So did it last? I just saw her in clinic for another unrelated issue and had the opportunity to examine her shoulder. She still has no shoulder complaints and the physical examination on that shoulder is indistinguishable from the good side. The upshot? This is an elderly woman treated with the Regenexx-C stem cell injection procedure instead of more invasive and risky shoulder surgery. While not every Regenexx-C patient experiences the same results, she’s had a durable effect and is still very happy about the result at four years out.
NOTE: The Regenexx-C procedure licensed by RegenexxCayman is not approved by the U.S. FDA for use in the United States. 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.
Extensive rehabilitation is often needed after a rotator cuff repair surgery because of the weeks of immobilization needed to help the sewn rotator cuff muscle or tendon to heal. This time in a shoulder brace (immobilized) can cause the muscles of the rotator cuff to become weak and in need of strengthening. The question is, should this rehab be performed slowly or can it be more aggressive? A study out this week suggests that more aggressive is better. The study looked at a slow rotator cuff surgery rehab protocol versus an accelerated rehab. The winner? The more aggressive rehab group had no more pain after surgery and much better function at 8, 12, and 16 weeks after surgery. The reason? We’re built to heal on the fly. Speak to any veterinarian who operates on animals and the concept of placing an animal in a brace and keeping them off the area for extended periods of time just won’t work. If you’ve ever watched a dog recover from surgery, they’re down hard for a little while and then the moment they can get back on the area, they hit the ground running. This is consistent with research models of healing-generally the more the part is used, the better it heals. Our experience with our stem cell shoulder rotator cuff treatment is the same, since less trauma occurs in an injection, an extensive period of downtime isn’t needed when treating a partial rotator cuff tear. As a result, we agree with the findings of this rotator cuff surgery recovery study, more aggressive rehab is better. In fact, we would go one step further, if there’s a partial rotator cuff injury, consider non-surgical, stem cell injection based methods of repair, which will cause even less immobilization of the shoulder and in our clinical experience, quicker recovery.