Anyone who has taken a gander at knee replacement pictures on-line knows that the procedure is not pretty. First there’s the demolition: The surgeon creates a long incision in the skin to access the knee joint and then amputates (or cuts out) all or part of the knee bones and joint. Next the surgeon uses power tools to sculpt the end of femur (upper-leg bone) and the tibia (lower-leg bone). Once the demolition is complete, the surgeon will insert the artificial joint made of metal, cement, and polyethylene—materials that sound more suited to high-rise-building construction than to the human body.
After viewing the disturbing images of this surgery, Joel, a former competitive body builder, drew the line at the knee replacement suggested by his doctor. Joel just wanted to regain some of the active lifestyle he enjoyed before his knee problems set in. It was a chance conversation with a friend that led Joel to explore and find success with a nonsurgical option using his own stem cells.
Joel had always been active, a former competitive body builder who’d almost made it to the professional level. After retiring from competition, he still maintained a work-out and training schedule to try and keep in shape. Then, at the age of 50, he started having knee pain, and the next thing he knew, he couldn’t even walk up the stairs. Like many with the sudden onset of arthritic knee pain, this wasn’t how he planned to age. As his quality of life deteriorated, he decided he needed to do something about it. He did what most people would do—he went to the doctor.
Before long, Joel was on pain medication three times a day just to try to get enough relief to get through his daily activities. He felt terrible. He was gaining weight and was short-tempered due to the constant pain. Soon everyone around him noticed a very different man. When the pain medication wasn’t working, and its effects were intolerable, his doctor sent him to an orthopedist.
Like most patients, Joel felt that arthroscopic knee surgery would be the magic wand that would fix his knee problems once and for all, so he underwent a bilateral procedure. During an arthroscopy, two small incisions are made through which a camera and surgical instruments access the knee joint to cut out various parts and pieces of the degenerating knee. Several studies have concluded that routine arthroscopic knee surgery isn’t effective, and, indeed, that was Joel’s experience. Two months later, not only had Joel’s pain not been relieved, it had, in fact, gotten worse. This often happens once the cushioning meniscus and cartilage are removed from the knee in this type of surgery.
Vicosupplementation treatment (gel injection) is the injection of hyaluronic acid into the knee joint. The idea is that the gel-like substance will coat and lubricate the joints and provide for ease of movement and relieve the pain. Joel was given many gel injections to try to conquer his pain, but this also didn’t work. It felt like his knees were floating and unstable, and this made him feel even worse. Prior to this, his activity level was at about 75% of normal, but now, as his pain worsened, his activity level bottomed out at about 5%. He was miserable.
After the orthopedist suggested knee replacement, and after so many other shattered hopes following failed treatments and procedures, Joel was cautious and uncertain. He did some online research on knee replacements and was disturbed by the knee replacement pictures of human carpentry that he found. He thought to himself, surely this couldn’t be the only option left? Did he really need a knee replacement? Luck kicked in for Joel when a chance conversation with a friend led him to look into stem cell treatments.
Joel soon found Regenexx, and in May and October of 2015, he received our patented stem cell procedure using his own stem cells. As Joel relays above, the procedure was able to improve his function and pain, and within one month, Joel was off the pain medication. Six weeks later, he began working out again and he was finally able to again experience that welcome endorphin rush! He now has no limitations, is fully active, and has returned to the Joel everyone knew before pain took control of his life.
The upshot? A chance conversation helped Joel reclaim his active lifestyle without the invasive surgery that was planned. Had Joel undergone the knee replacement he didn’t actually need, he might still be in pain and still be on medications. Additionally, he might still not be able to perform the activities he loves despite having a knee replacement. Why? The most common pain score after a knee replacement surgery has healed is a startling 5 out of 10!
Are you considering a knee replacement? Or are you just now starting to experience knee pain, and you’re wondering what your next step should be? Perhaps this article is that chance conversation for you.
To find out if you might be a candidate for a Regenexx stem cell procedure, complete our Regenexx Procedure Candidate Form online.
*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.
Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.
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.…