It is our first morning back at the office after the Labor Day Holiday. My assistant started her daily routine per habit by listening to her voice mail. The first message left by a patient was a description of his progress since undergoing a bone marrow aspirate stem cell procedure for Avascular Necrosis of his left hip and secondary osteoarthritis. “Yesterday was the first day in a year that I was able to flex and rotate my hip enough to put on my pants naturally and cut my own toe nails”. These are activities we take for granted but when a 40 year old requires assistance and adaptive measures to complete activities of daily living, the restoration of independence is a big deal. His next goal, return to senior hockey.
Might Bone Marrow derived stem cells eliminate or at least postpone a knee replacement?
We left for Wisconsin to enjoy a four-day holiday cycling and fly fishing. My wife planned to work on her lapidary and silversmith projects while B. and I would ride and test the Southwestern Wisconsin spring creeks. The county highways in The Driftless area below Lacrosse and just east of the Mississippi are pretty much free of traffic and the region has countless spring creeks loaded with trout. It is fairly common to log cumulative elevations of 2,000 feet over a three hour, 35 mile ride. On Thursday, Friday and Sunday, we rode; Saturday was set aside for fishing. When you wade the spring creeks, it is fairly arduous as you have to constantly climb up and down the stream banks or fight the silt build up in a particular stream. The biking was fabulous and the weather most cooperative; I am sorry to report it was fishing and not catching. The heat and draught in effect since late June have taken their tolls on what started out as a great season of trout fishing. What does all this have to do with stem cells and knee replacements? I have been looking after arthritis in B’s knee for many years. While he has “bone on bone” and occasional instability, the initial cortisone injections followed by several viscosupplementation series and then PRP when the latter became available have kept him cycling and skiing. The most recent approach has been a Concentrated-Stem Cell Plasma injection and there are few within 35 years of age who could keep up with us. I have age related, moderately arthritic knees, having undergone bilateral arthroscopic meniscectomy ten years ago but I have no problems as long as I watch my weight and do my fitness training. B. has an advanced osteoarthritis of a knee but I struggle to keep up with him. ( I do throw a better fly). He has no plans for surgery even though his X-ray couldn’t be worse. This fall after the weather curtails cycling, he will undergo a bone marrow aspirate stem cell procedure and we will start training for the ski season.
Mitchell B. Sheinkop, M.D.
1565 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610