Report from the OrthoBiologic Institute meeting, June 08-10, 2017

Report from the OrthoBiologic Institute meeting, June 08-10, 2017

It was difficult for me to sit and listen to so many “show and tell” presentations not supported by scientifically overseen outcomes data. Too much anecdote about unproven methodologies; many not compliant with FDA guidance. Basically, it was frequently repeated false news. I was taken aback by what so called physicians are injecting into the joints of their patients. Florida seems to lead the way in the cook book approach to arthritis followed closely by California. Illinois is guilty as well but not the medical community.  Despite my negativity about the absence of science, this gathering certainly did not begin to approach the science and integrity of presentation found in the discipline of orthopedic surgery; of particular interest to me was the universal agreement that there is no regenerative potential in Amniotic Fluid Concentrate. A matter of fact, there was not one outcomes paper presented concerning amniotic fluid. It becomes ever so important that a patient choose an experienced, scientifically oriented, regenerative medicine specialist when seeking a non-surgical option for an arthritic knee, hip, ankle or shoulder. The patient must bear in mind that the specialist’s goal is to improve function, diminish pain and postpone, possibly avoid a joint replacement for an arthritic joint. When the arthritis has reached end stage, there are those who should have a joint replacement; only a specialist is equipped to properly advise a patient.

In the orthopedic world, scientific papers are not considered to have significance unless the outcome results have been followed for a minimum of two years and more. Furthermore, the articles in order to be considered authoritative must have statistical significance.  It seems that the charlatans and camp followers are offering patients an intervention that is neither FDA compliant nor for which there is scientific outcomes data.  The one exception to all the fake news was the presentation by Dr. David Karli of Greyledge Orthobiologics who introduced The Method of Ratios for Assessing PRP and BMC Theraeutic Potential. This novel approach to quantitating and qualitating the injectate I am sure will soon become a standard of care for cellular orthopedics so I will quickly introduce into my practice. The Method of Ratios will allow the clinician to better understand what will be injected into a joint.

The appropriate method of advising an arthritic patient as to whether surgery may be postponed or even avoided begins with a specialty consultation including a comprehensive intake, a physical examination including functional testing, and review of images. Only those with specialty training, board certification and experience both in surgery and in regenerative medicine are able to properly advise the patient. I will again underscore the importance of choosing the Cellular Orthopedic expert and not determining what may be best for you by surfing the cloud.

If you want to become better informed, browse my website

You may watch my webinar at or call to schedule a consultation (847) 390-7666.

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Who with osteoarthritis may benefit from Regenerative Medicine?

Who with osteoarthritis may benefit from Regenerative Medicine?

First of all, let me expand on the concept of Regenerative Medicine at times also understood as Cellular Orthopedics or Stem Cell therapy. Cells with stem cell properties are present in bone marrow, the peripheral circulatory system, adipose tissue, synovial tissue, muscle tissue, and tendon. At this time, the FDA allows point-of-care bone marrow aspirate intervention for arthritis. From a clinical standpoint, the stem cell concentrate of bone marrow aspirate is technique-dependent and I have found it to be an ever increasingly important factor of therapeutic benefit. When it comes to Adipose-Derived Stem cells, use of these products places risk upon the clinician and the patient because they do not meet the criteria of homologous use and are not autologous. Enter the latest interest in amniotic fluid concentrate with all the marketing hype. As of this time, to the best of my knowledge, there is no clinical outcomes science to justify such use. I should know as I am the Principal Investigator in the largest Clinical Trial involving amniotic fluid for arthritis ever undertaken.

Next, the reader should understand that Osteoarthritis is graded, not all OA is the same. To qualify for a Regenerative Medicine procedure, the degree of arthritis must not exceed grade three based on Imaging and Physical Examination. The standard grading system is termed the Kellgren-Lawrence Scale in which the X-ray image is scored. The physical examination is also taken into account to confirm that the extent of degenerative deformity has not exceeded inclusion criteria.

Now let me explain how Stem Cell intervention is accomplished in my setting, who may benefit, and when Regenerative Medicine is not a reasonable option. Actually if you watch my Webinar,

you will better understand.

What are a patient’s options when a first intervention isn’t long lasting? Assume if you will that you have not realized the outcome that would be satisfying to you and rewarding to your interventional orthopedic specialist; there are two options:

Repeat Stem Cell Procedure

I have had at least ten patients in my practice who ultimately reached their goals after a repeat Bone marrow stem cell intervention

Joint Replacement

While it is a procedure that we seek to postpone, perhaps even avoid with a Regenerative Medicine intervention, stem cell procedures do not burn bridges

After watching my webinar, to learn more or schedule an appointment call   312 475 1893

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Continued Growth and Development in the Stem Cell World

Continued Growth and Development in the Stem Cell World

There are now available six month follow up Outcomes Data regarding 20 patients who underwent a fat graft harvest, micro-fracture of the fat graft and intervention in an arthritic knee, the latter so severe that the original recommendation to the patient had been a Total Knee Replacement. 85% of this group are very satisfied at this time with the post intervention pain relief and functional improvement. One patient did elect to undergo a Total Knee Replacement eight weeks after the initial intervention. While six-month Data is very preliminary and doesn’t lend itself to a scientific journal publication, I am told the results will become the subject matter of a White Paper, an authoritative report, while the outcomes of the 20 patients will continue to be monitored.

As I have previously reported, I personally am taking a Principal Investigator role in a Clinical Trial centered on the most contemporary ortho-biologic methodology for processing Amniotic Fluid Concentrate. What piqued my interest is the continued marketing placements in our media: ”Stem Cell therapy is an exciting new therapy option that treats arthritis”. “Free Educational Seminar”. “Stem cell regeneration utilizes amniotic stem cells”. I am reminded of the prank I used as a child on my playmates “Pete and Repeat were sitting in a boat, Pete fell out, who was left?” As I have written on my Blog multiple times, there are no viable stem cells in amniotic fluid once processed, irradiated, frozen and fast thawed. That is not to say that AFC may not act as an anti-inflammatory eventually replacing visco-supplementation in attempting to improve the well-being of patients affected by arthritis; but it has no regenerative potential. My interest in leading a Multi-Center Clinical Trial -no out of pocket expense for those who meet the inclusion criteria-is to learn appropriate dosage and duration of effect if any. Subchondroplasty continues to be a subject of increasing interest in the orthobiologic world. I will be serving as a Principal Investigator in a stem cell based subchondroplasty clinical trial as soon as there is IRB approval toward the end of August. I hope to determine if a combined intraarticular and extra-articular Bone Marrow Concentrate approach will result in superior outcomes when contrasted to the standard intraarticular approach.

Be advised and reminded the Regenerative Medicine discipline is evolving and the over seer is the FDA. Make sure that should you decide to pay unreasonable amounts for unproven therapies, those marketing such are doing so under an IRB regulatory methodology. To learn more, schedule an appointment:

312 475 1893

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Announcing an Amniotic Fluid Clinical Trial

Announcing an Amniotic Fluid Clinical Trial

As the regular readers of this Blog are aware, one way to catch my attention is to send me another announcement found in a local newspaper regarding “free” Amniotic Fluid Concentrate seminars in which the reader (victim) then learns at the seminar that he or she can receive stem cells to cure whatever ails that person for a fee ranging between $7,000 and $9,000.

Based on what is scientifically certain about Amniotic Fluid Concentrate, in spite of what you are told at these seminars by the marketing spokesperson, there are no viable stem cells once the amniotic fluid is processed, concentrated, gamma irradiated, and fast thawed for the injection. Nevertheless, the Camp Followers are saturating the media with claims of benefit for almost every malady known to mankind by paying this exorbitant sum for a single injection.  That is not to say there is not anti-inflammatory benefit and growth factor content in amniotic fluid concentrate so there is some pain relieving potential.  What is not known is the optimal dose schedule, dosage concentration, and the duration of benefit.

In order to scientifically determine how to properly use amniotic fluid concentrate in a clinical practice and statistically measure value, I have accepted the invitation from a major Ortho-biologic producer of amniotic fluid concentrate to participate in a multicenter Clinical Trial under FDA regulatory scrutiny. Our study group will determine the benefit of amniotic fluid concentrate in the arthritic knee, the proper dosage schedule, the appropriate concentration and the duration of effect.

For those who elect to partake in this Clinical Trial and who meet inclusion criteria, there is no charge for the pharmacologic agent (Amniotic Fluid Concentrate). On the contrary, the participant will be reimbursed for travel expenses. By helping us understand the benefit of Amniotic Fluid Concentrate (if any) when used for an arthritic knee and determining appropriate dosage scheduling, the Ortho-biologic industry and we clinicians will finally learn if it works; and if so, for how long and at what dosage. So you decide, either call the number appearing in the media ads and be ready to pay up to $9,000 for a stem cell intervention without living stem cells or call 312 475 1893 to learn if you meet the inclusion criteria for the Multicenter Trial.

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When it comes to Orthobiologics, what’s in and what’s out

Out is routine Medicare and insurance coverage indemnification of hyaluronic acid injections for osteoarthritic joints other than the knee. Additionally, several insurance carriers are now requiring pre-certification to determine if they will even cover hyaluronic acid injections of the knee. The phenomenon was first reported in Florida but now the reduction in coverage is spreading across the country including Illinois. A physician may decide to proceed with the single, thee part or at times five part injection series but it would be at the expense of the patient if insurance and Medicare deny coverage. The reason behind the decision has to do with long-term studies that fail to validate the claims of the many advertisements you may see on television or find in the newspaper concerning the various forms of hyaluronic acid as a gel.

Increasingly in is Amniotic Fluid Concentrate for Osteoarthritis even though not covered by Medicare or Insurance. The clinical trial regarding outcomes for said therapy are incomplete; and to the best of my knowledge, the only source of Amniotic Fluid Concentrate providers seriously investigating results is MiMedx, out of Marietta, Georgia. Nevertheless, there seems to be an ever-increasing presence of Amniotic Fluid Concentrate offerings in the medical marketplace; unfortunately with unsupported claims of a stem cell content. There does seem to be a benefit from amniotic fluid concentrate in relieving the symptoms of an osteoarthritic joint but we have to wait for completion of current clinical trials to understand proper dosage and the length of action.

If you are a regular reader of this Blog, you will have become familiar with the term Subchondroplasty, an adjunct that I have been offering on occasion in conjunction with Bone Marrow Concentrate/Stem cell procedures into the joint. The successes of Subchondroplasty are such that the attention to the bone supporting the joint when working inside the joint is a subject gaining increased attention on a national basis. It looks like the future will be an increasing combination of both intra-articular and extra-articular intervention. While no one is able to confirm why the decompression of the bone adjacent to a joint relieves pain and why the adjunct of biologics improves longer-term outcomes, attention to bone defects in the area around the joint is proving to make a major difference in outcomes for arthritis. The question now is whether the best approach is Bone Marrow Concentrate inside and outside the joint or Bone Marrow Concentrate inside the joint with a synthetic augment outside the joint?

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