After enduring years of pain, oftentimes following multiple surgeries and attempting to control the chronic pain with powerful medications, when our patients finally make their way to us for stem cell treatment, many are not the people they used to be. Maybe they happened upon our website or a friend told them about an interview with one of our doctors they saw on TV…whatever the chance encounter is, they come in with one request: I just want my life back…and this was the case with Stephanie.
Stephanie’s life was about to change for the worse. She was a Jazzercise instructor who underwent surgery for a torn meniscus and arthritis in her knee shortly after the birth of her daughter. A few years later she had to undergo a second surgery, and she awoke from that surgery to the bad news: her knee was shot, and she could no longer teach Jazzercise…or do much else for that matter. For this previously active mother, whose youngest child was just six years old, this news was unbearable. Stephanie shared the following:
“For me, Jazzercise isn’t just about the activity; it’s also about the community of people who come to class. I was practically bone on bone; most of my cartilage was gone. Everything around my knee just hurt so badly…I started not being able to bend over and tie my shoes. I had to get the little motorized grocery cart to even be able to grocery shop. It made playing with my daughter, who was six at the time, practically impossible. Everything that I really had enjoyed was taken away from me. I really didn’t like who I was becoming. It really did affect my moods. I certainly was not myself at all.”
Common meniscus surgeries are linked to the rapid onset of arthritis, so every patient with a meniscus tear needs to be searching for meniscus surgery alternatives. The concept that surgery is needed for meniscus tears was always shaky. Most patients believe a meniscectomy is a simple repair of the meniscus, but in fact in more than 90% of these surgeries, the torn part of the meniscus is actually removed. Since the meniscus is an important spacer that protects the knee cartilage from too much force, removing it is not a good idea.
We’ve known since the 1940s that removing meniscus tissue was a bad idea. Later studies were able to quantify just how much we were adding forces to the cartilage by removing these torn meniscus pieces, which could explain Stephanie’s missing cartilage five years following her first surgery. Four big studies demonstrated that meniscus surgeries were not effective in pretty much any clinical circumstance. This study takes that further, suggesting that meniscus surgery is downright harmful to the knee.
A few weeks after Stephanie’s second surgery, her doctor recommended she have a cartilage replacement, but she wasn’t excited about the idea of a third surgery after having just spent a couple of months on crutches following her second surgery.
“I just wasn’t ready to do another big surgery.”
So Stephanie went to see another surgeon, seeking a second opinion. The second surgeon told her the cartilage replacement wouldn’t work and that she needed a full knee replacement; however due to her age, only 45, this surgeon felt she was too young for that drastic step and recommended she take pain medication, such as ibuprofen, for relief, until she was old enough for the surgery.
Stephanie was devastated at the idea of more surgery and felt she had no good options. Additionally, the chronic use of ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is dangerous and carries many risks, such as heart attack, stroke, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Stephanie felt she would never be able to get her life back.
A Jazzercise friend of Stephanie’s saw an interview on her local news—Regenexx Network Provider Dr. Movva was discussing the Regenexx procedure. The friend passed along the information to Stephanie. She talked with her husband, weighed her options and, after being determined to be a good candidate for a stem cell treatment, decided to have the procedure.
Weighing her options—a cartilage replacement, pain drugs for a few years and then a knee replacement, or Regenexx—the decision really was a very easy one for her. The recovery time with Regenexx would be fast: a day at home in bed and then she could start walking again.
In July 2015, Stephanie received our patented stem cell treatment using her own stem cells. The next day, she was indeed up and walking again. Within three weeks, she felt a lot better, and within six to eight weeks, she actually thought she might be able to teach Jazzercise again, and Dr. Movva cleared her to do so.
Stephanie’s words from her video above say it best:
“I was able to recertify as an instructor by October 1, and I started teaching. That began the first week of October. I came home from class, and I was all sweaty, and I was getting ready to get dinner, and my son came home from school and said, ‘Mom, it’s so nice to have you back.’ And it made me realize how much my knee problems had changed my entire life. Being able to have this procedure and getting to move again and getting on the floor and playing with my daughter—I had taken so many of those things for granted before. And when they were removed from me, I feel like Regenexx gave me my life back.”
The upshot? After enduring years of knee pain, more often than not, patients follow their surgeon’s advice and undergo drastic surgeries that will likely lead to more problems and still not eliminate their knee pain. Stephanie drew the line and found another solution. After visiting Dr. Movva and finding out she was indeed a good candidate, Stephanie credits Regenexx with giving her a life again.
*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.…