Musculoskeletal Care of the Mature Athlete
A 67-year-old man came to my office to learn more about Bone Marrow derived Stem Cells for his arthritic knees. While he had been discouraged by his sports medicine physician from seeking the Regenerative Cellular alternative, he was not ready to undergo a bilateral total knee replacement after having investigated the potential complications associated with the surgery. I started with a review of his medication profile and determined that BMAC/Stem Cells might not produce the quantity and quality potential I would want to see to justify the procedure. My concern had to do with the adverse effects of certain medicinals on stem cell numbers. I offered an alternative, Concentrated Stem cell Plasma.
The development of Regenerative Cellular interventions for the management of arthritis started several years ago with Platelet Rich Plasma. Platelets not only play a role in initiating the clotting cascade, they contain an abundance of anti-inflammatories and healing agents termed growth factors. At the outset, clinicians performed a venous puncture and filled a test tube with blood. The latter was now spun in a centrifuge and the plasma with platelets suspended was injected in the arthritic knee. Within a year, it became apparent that two or three staged PRP interventions would result in better outcomes. About a year ago, the group of physicians at Regenexx began concentrating the Platelet Rich Plasma 10X and the results of treatment have been very encouraging in that patients did better and for longer than with standard PRP. More recently, we have developed a better way to activate with a faster and longer acting release of growth factors.
Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrated/Stem Cells remain the best possible alternative in our Cellular Orthopedic Regimen at this time. Concentrated Stem Cell Plasma (PRP 10X) is a reasonable alternative although with a shorter outcome potential and probably to a lesser extent. No bridges are burned. I have suggested the 10X PRP option to patients heavily dependent on pharmaceuticals for co-morbidities or when I anticipate a possible compromise in the quantity or quality of stem cells because of age or other factors. Primum Non Nocere, First No Harm. There is nothing lost and a lot gained by a staged approach to the Regenerative Medical management of arthritis.
Addendum: I now have several patients who were managed as above when their pharmaceutical profile excluded them from a stem cell procedure; that went on to loose weight and get fit, and minimize their medication dependency. By so doing they became reasonable candidates for stem cells; and, now are enjoying the longer term and more comprehensive benefits of Bone Marrow Concentrate Stem Cell intervention.