Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is one of the most common problems of active adults. Usually it involves pain at the outside of the elbow that gets worse with bending the wrist backwards such as using a racquet to hit a tennis ball. Injections of steroids into the area can reduce swelling and pain, but also likely weaken tissue and cause the pain to come back more than it was before the injection. Many times surgeons will perform a procedure where they “rough up” the area with a scalpel (fenestrate), but this involves big recovery time. We’ve had success with injecting the patient’s own platelets and stem cell cells into this area. In particular, we often use the Regenexx-SCP procedure to treat this kind of condition. Like with any injection, accuracy helps. At the Centeno-Schultz clinic, rather than performing this injection blind and placing the stem cells into the wrong spot, we often inject cells using musculoskeletal ultrasound. Above is a video of this injection. To the left is the epicondyle bone and the needle comes in horizontally off from the right side. Watching the needle move toward the epicondyle (looks like a mountain off on the left), you get an appreciation of just how easy it would be to inject cells into the wrong spot (miss the mountain). Placing stem cells without knowing where your needle is going is like driving a car with a blacked out windshield, you can do it, it’s just not a good idea.
About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…