Assume you have read my blog or learned from the web about our ethos – don’t just recover, conquer. You have scheduled an appointment, undergone the assessment, completed X-rays and the MRI and I have determined that you are a candidate for a regenerative medical procedure for your arthritis. The next step is informed consent.
While there is no data that allows me to promise that I can cause your cartilage to re-grow, there is ample evidence-Regenexx has over 5,000 cases-that allows me to say it is more likely than not that your bone marrow aspirated and concentrated adult mesenchymal stem cells may reduce or eliminate your pain and improve your function. One hope of stem cell treatment is influencing cartilage repair; unlikely though after, age 50. On the other hand, I have a new approach being instituted, arthroscopic debridement with stem cell repair. As an orthopedic surgeon, this will be one of my contributions to the new world. As far though as altering the bio-immune response of the synovium in the arthritic joint, there is little question and that is why I am willing to say that within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, I can minimize or eliminate your pain. Now you ask at what risk? As of now, there are two downsides as no procedure is risk free. Associated with any invasive procedure including minimally invasive needling is the risk of infection. While we only use a needle, it is an invasive procedure. Regenexx to the best of my knowledge has not experienced any deep infections in association with their outcomes surveillance. Second, there are a certain percentage of patients who do not respond as hoped. The revision intervention for superficial infection is an antibiotic; for failure it is a repeat attempt at Regenerative Medicine or a joint replacement. To date in the closely monitored outcomes of the 5,000 Regenexx patients, no tumor growth has been reported. Please keep in mind that your adult cells are reintroduced in to a closed environment, a capsulated joint. I repeat the Regenexx experience and data because theirs is the only outcomes evidence available. All other approaches and all other companies have depended on anecdote in the absence of gathering scientific evidence.
To the best of my knowledge, the cost of Regenerative Medicine is assumed by the patient. No insurance carrier and certainly not Medicare at this time will pay for stem cell management of arthritis. If the aspiration of your bone marrow and the concentration thereof is done under IRB oversight, we are in complete accordance with FDA governance. Someday, the indemnification community may choose to cover Regenerative Medicine, especially when our studies demonstrate the cost savings when compared to a total joint replacement. The global charge for a joint implant runs between $45,000 and $60,000; a revision, about $70,00 to $120,000. Should an infection ensue, the costs may go up by another $150,000 additional. Then there is rehabilitation; Regenerative Medicine is a matter of weeks, not months as in a joint replacement
What about outcomes; am I really able to compare those of stem cell management with a total joint replacement? Watch Kobi Bryant in the NBA playoffs or Alex Rodriguez, as third baseman for the New York Yankees. If you want to learn more, call and schedule an appointment. In my new website, where I hope to become your resource for Regenerative Medicine, there will be a section of new patient stories and the results of treatment. Stay tuned.
Mitchell B. Sheinkop, M.D.
1565 N. LaSalle Street . Chicago . Illinois . 60610
847.390.7666 or 312.475.1893