As a doctor, there are patients you treat who just walk out the door and you never hear back. The good news is that we have a registry, so if they respond to the multiple pings for outcome data, that information will get recorded. But having it live in a database isn't, of course, as interesting as hearing about what they're up to and whether things have changed. This morning is another in our series of knee stem cell reviews and the story of Dion's knee.
Dion's Knee and Core
Modern managed-care medicine has taught us that there is only a knee to consider when someone has knee pain. However, the knee is supported physically and through its nerve supply by the spine, so what happens there impacts the knee. Hence, when Dion traveled from Seattle to meet Dr. Pitts and Dr. Williams, they knew that the fact that she had a long history of low-back problems wasn't some unrelated factoid that they could ignore, but that her back needed to be treated as well if she was going to get the best possible results.
As far as Dion's knee was concerned, again, Dr. Pitts and Dr. Williams looked beyond the cartilage loss under her kneecap. They performed a comprehensive exam and found degenerated patellar and hamstrings tendons as well as loose ligaments. They also noted that her posterior meniscus on both sides was degenerating. Hence, what would have been a simple five-minute intra-articular injection of her bone marrow cells in another clinic (to minimize physician time) instead involved treating many sites with precise ultrasound– and X-ray–guided injections of her high-dose bone marrow concentrate (Regenexx-SD). Finally, as above, multiple areas in her low back were also treated, including ligaments and placing our latest-generation platelet lysate around irritated nerves.
From here on out, I'll let Dion tell you about her results. This is an e-mail she sent this week, which I share as the newest addition to our knee stem cell reviews series:
"Hello Dr. Pitts, Today is our 1 year anniversary of my stem cell procedure. My left knee is so strong and functional...my husband Rocky and I are so very grateful. We have thought about you numerous times throughout this year. Some of the times we have expressed gratitude for you have included: January 21st March in Seattle 5 miles; hiking 3 miles, the Oyster Dome, on my birthday in early February; 5 miles in the Grand Canyon, Bright Angel, later in February; the Tax March in April; packing, lifting and moving the contents of an older house/office space throughout March, April, and May; Snowbird, Bryce, Zion and Snow Canyon hiking numerous miles this past August; Mt. Baker 8 mile Chain Lakes Loop hike in September 2000 elevation gain; two weekends ago Yellow Aster Butte 8 miles round trip 2550 elevation gain (btw my all time favorite 360 view of several mountain tops)! This weekend looking forward to a 8 mile fall colors hike on the southern side of Mt. Baker. And guess what?! That left knee you worked on is strong!
We can't thank you enough for contributing to these most precious of times together! We have truly been appreciative of you and Regenexx on every hike and outing! The above list are not all of the hikes but I believe they give you an understanding of what you helped us to be able to do. Please give our regards to Dr. Williams...it looks like he has stayed on with you. Good for him and good for you! Oh...the new introductory videos on the Regenexx site are great! Thanks to all of the staff and contributors at Regenexx! The work you are doing is so vital...so exciting and ever appreciated! Dr. Pitts you get the hero award for this year!
Dion & Rocky Menser-Andreini
P.S. Yep...that's my knee at 6150 feet!"
The upshot? As I said, we doctors love to hear from our patients! When we get some context for how we've been able to change the lives of people we've cared for, it makes all the years of study and long hours and nights spent worrying about this patient or that meaningful. So here's to Dion's knee and back and hoping that we can continue to be a part of her and Rocky's life and keep them both climbing mountains!