Ski season is here and I am planning ahead. Who doesn’t want a joint replacement for arthritis? For one, count me out as long as there are other options for dealing with my symptoms. As you will learn, I was head of a joint replacement program at a major medical center for the last 15 years of my orthopedic surgical life and performed over 20 thousand hip and knee replacements over my 38-year surgical career. Yet, every orthopedic surgeon has an ethical and professional obligation to stay abreast of the accelerating knowledge expansion occurring in the musculoskeletal sciences. The covenant that exists between surgeon and patient requires acceptance of this obligation; that’s why I am sharing with you these advances in the care of the aging athlete.
Recognizing that Arthritis is a normal physiologic effect of aging and assuming you have applied all of aforementioned non-operative treatment plans, what is the current state of cartilage regeneration before considering a joint replacement? Allow me to introduce you to the new world of Cellular Orthopedics (Regenerative Medicine). By using your own stem cells normally present in your bone marrow, we are now able to control the symptoms of osteoarthritis, improve joint mobility, increase your functional capacity, possibly reverse the progression of the arthritic changes, delay or eliminate the need for the joint replacement and perhaps, regenerate your cartilage. Those are a lot of goals; how might your adult stem cells make it possible? Bone Marrow Concentrate contains mesenchymal stem cells that serve both an anti-inflammatory and bio-immune modulating function. They can facilitate regeneration of tissue and cartilage damaged by arthritis. Following aspiration of bone marrow from your pelvis, the marrow is centrifuged and available for a same –day procedure with minimal manipulation of cells following FDA Guidelines. The fundamental science supports great scientific potential of stem cells. Over the past 18 months, I have used this approach in over 200 arthritic patients with no adverse affects. There has been over 75% patient satisfaction at the knee, hip, shoulder and ankle including two wrist interventions as well. That was in the first year. The numbers improved in the second year as we gained experience and insight into those who would most likely benefit. My Blog, www.sheinkopmd.com will update you weekly on new developments in Cellular Orthopedics. The Regenexx web site www.regenexx.com will educate you further about the new world of cellular medicine and announce the introduction of clinical trials. Think stem cells before a joint replacement to maintain and restore a healthy joint.