An Update on a Knee AVN Patient

POSTED ON 9/30/2016 IN Knee BY Christopher Centeno

The last time we highlighted Julie Cerrone on the blog, she was getting ready for her first Christmas without crutches, thanks to a Regenexx procedure that had helped her knee AVN heal. I just came across this impassioned speech by her to an FDA hearing on the regulation of stem cells. Julie's a great natural speaker, and while some of the presenters at this FDA/NIH hearing could drone on and solve the problem of insomnia, you can't say that about Julie, as she gets her point across.

Knee AVN

Knee avascular necrosis is an awful disease, just like its more common cousin that happens in the hip. The problem is also called osteonecrosis, and it's caused when the natural stem cells in the bone stop working. The bone can't keep up with its daily maintenance, and as a result, it begins to collapse. At that point, the only real solution is a knee replacement, which doesn't work so well if you're in your 20s, as Julie elegantly states.

Julie's Story

Julie began having increasing amounts of knee pain after multiple knee surgeries from an early age. She went to many leading orthopedic specialists, and most had no idea what was wrong, but she eventually got the diagnosis of knee AVN. All another gaggle of experts could offer her was to amputate the knee joint at the ripe old age of 26 and insert a prosthesis (knee replacement).


When the surgeons had no answers that made sense, she turned to Regenexx and Dr. John Pitts in our Colorado office, given our long experience in treating AVN bone lesions with precise X-ray–guided stem cell injections. Her bone promptly began showing signs of healing on MRI in a disease that only usually gets worse. Here is her story told around last Christmas.

The FDA Hearing at NIH

The FDA has long since declared that your stem cells if culture expanded to bigger numbers are a drug. This regulation is why no US medical group offers a cultured stem cell procedure in the United States. However, the agency seems to be moving in the direction of regulating same-day fat stem cell treatments (which we don't offer here) the same way. Hence, many patient advocates showed up at the FDA hearing, as did academics, industry groups, clinics, professional organizations, and so on. We had no idea that Julie would be there, until I saw her video.

The upshot? Julie is a passionate speaker who inspires us every day. She's an example of what a precise stem cell injection can accomplish. The course of a life wrecked by AVN altered. As she says, going from crutches to "cute wedges" is a game changer!  

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