Joint Preservation with Proteins and Stem Cells

Joint Preservation with Proteins and Stem Cells

My goal is to inform each and every patient who presents with a painful joint, the cause of their pain; and based on our scientific and clinical evidence, that intervention which will have the greatest chance of short term and long-term success. While inflammation in the joint is a proximate cause of pain, that pain is not generated by cartilage deterioration as cartilage doesn’t have a nerve supply. While joint pain in part is generated by the synovial tissue lining the arthritic or traumatized joint, the subchondral bone supporting the joint may be even more important when it comes to the pain and limitations resulting from the arthritic affliction.

Bone pathologies resulting from acute or chronic injury presenting as bone marrow lesions associated with insufficiency fractures, persistent bone bruises, osteoarthritis and early stages of avascular necrosis are too often neglected by those holding themselves out to be regenerative medicine specialists. Options for the treatment of these subchondral conditions require a core decompression of the problematic bone and direct application of either bone marrow aspirate or a synthetic orthobiologic. The biologic treatment of bone marrow lesions with these techniques that encourage physiologic bone remodeling and repair when combined with Stem Cell and Protein/Growth Factor concentrates into an arthritic joint offers the best chance for joint preservation and a successful outcome for the patient undergoing a Stem Cell procedure.

Are there Stem Cells in Cord Blood, Wharton’s Jelly or Amniotic Fluid? These three alleged sources of Stem cells are processed when collected. The tissues are then cryopreserved with DMSO or some other cryopreservant. When thawing takes place, the few cells contained do not survive the thawing process. Additionally, DMSO is cytotoxic, a cell killer at room temperature.

As many of my patients are aware, I began my Cellular Orthopedic journey some years ago as an early member of the Regenexx Network. While my personal and practice ethos as the only orthopedic surgeon caused me to leave the network, I still follow the Blog and I find the one posted today most appropriate.

Is this Fraud? Chiro Clinics and Cord “Stem Cells”

I was on a local radio show this week and a woman called in and claimed that she had been defrauded by a local chiropractic clinic. She paid big bucks for what she was told were “millions of young stem cells” injected intravenous. As I will show you this morning, as a medical expert in this area, I can show you that she is more likely than not the victim of consumer fraud. Let me explain.

The Problem of the Chiro Clinic Bait and Switch

I’ve blogged extensively about how chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathic, and some physician clinics are defrauding patients by claiming to inject millions of live and young stem cells from amniotic fluid or cord blood (or other products). The problem is that none of these 361 registered tissue products has any significant number of live stem cells.

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Decision Making in Interventional Orthopedics

Decision Making in Interventional Orthopedics

I have purposely used the terms interventional orthopedics and cellular orthopedics when referring to regenerative medicine to remind my reader that I am an orthopedic surgeon. Later in life, I graduated into my present role as a clinician seeking to assist a patient in postponing, at times avoiding a major surgical procedure for an arthritic or otherwise compromised joint. You will note that I limit my discussion and topic matter to the musculoskeletal system and, do not allow vanity or greed to suggest that I am willing to expand my scope of care directed to conditions and diseases for which I am willing to provide treatment. In my 37-year commitment to reconstructive orthopedics and joint replacement surgery, I did not increase my scope of services outside the musculoskeletal system and I won’t consider anything more in my regenerative medicine undertakings, today.

To take things a bit further, when it comes to cartilage damage in any joint and from any causation, there are three categories of care: Palliative, Reparative and Restorative. In the first category, palliative, I do offer anti-inflammatory prescription, cortisone injection and hyaluronic intervention. At times, for those who meet inclusion criteria, I even enroll patients in an amniotic fluid clinical trial for pain management when deemed appropriate knowing there is no regenerative or even reparative potential therein. Reparative may take place during a Bone Marrow Concentrate procedure; but my goal is Restorative (Regeneration). The only FDA complaint method for delivering stem cells to an arthritic joint is the use of your aspirated and then concentrated bone marrow from your pelvis. In spite of the misleading and false news to be found on the various web sites, in order for stem cells to be separated from fat, an enzymatic digestion must take place and that manipulation renders adipose derived stem cell usage contrary to FDA mandates. Furthermore, there is no published scientific literature demonstrating adipose derived stem cells are of value in the care and treatment of an arthritic or otherwise altered joint function.

When you decide to seek out a provider of regenerative services, a very important part of the decision- making process should be to question that provider as to whether services are limited to the musculoskeletal system and what outcomes and data of that particular practice experiences? I have noted recently that my data and outcomes are being posted on web sites around the country as if the results were being achieved in settings other than mine.

If you want to learn more about postponing or perhaps even avoiding surgery for a joint that alters your quality of life, call 847-390-7666.

To learn more, check out my web site at

View my webinar at

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The Amniotic Fluid marketing campaign

The Amniotic Fluid marketing campaign

The current marketing of amniotic fluid as a regenerative approach to arthritis based on delivery of
viable stem cells falls is no different than the bending of the truth behavior we recently experienced
in the run up to the presidential election. Did the campaigns of the candidates reinforce some
notion that facts don’t necessarily matter? It seems that every office session, a patient shares with
me their having accepted a free lunch in exchange for the promise that for $7,000 to $9,000,
Amniotic Fluid containing living stem cells may be injected into an arthritic joint to regenerate that

During my entire 40-year plus orthopedic surgical and now regenerative medicine career, I never
accepted a free lunch from the army of pharmaceutical and orthopedic sales personnel who show
up daily as these gifts are contrary to corporate compliance requirements; and obligate me to listen
to sales pitches, Medical decisions must be based on evidence based medicine. At this time, there is
no scientific evidence of living stem cells in amniotic fluid once that fluid has been harvested,
sterilized, fast frozen for storage and fast thawed when used.

Before going any further, I will make it clear that, when indicated, I use amniotic fluid in my practice; but I also will make it clear, not as a source of stem cells or regeneration. Amniotic Fluid contains 15
times more hyaluronic acid than any available drug; hyaluronic acid is marketed under many trade
names starting with SynVisc. When I believe a patient with an arthritic joint might benefit from
hyaluronic acid, the best methodology is amniotic fluid. As well, the latter may contain viable
growth factors that play a role in controlling the limitations imposed by arthritis. At issue is the
question as to whether it is worth $7,000 to $9,000 for “generic” hyaluronic acid; when in fact, in a
proprietary form is covered by health insurance and Medicare?

There is another alternative if you are interested in Amniotic Fluid as a source of Hyaluronic Acid
and Growth Factors for which there is no charge to you if you meet the clinical trial inclusion
criteria. I am the principal investigator in a national amniotic fluid clinical trial underwritten by a
large pharmaceutical company that started working with amniotic fluid in 2006. Their focus now is
the use of amniotic fluid in the arthritic knee and determining dose and the duration of efficacy.
Facts do matter and the company is willing to underwrite the costs for gathering medical evidence.

To learn if you meet inclusion criteria, make an appointment at 312 475 1893

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The Traumatic Initiation of Arthritis

The Traumatic Initiation of Arthritis

Background: It is increasingly recognized that biochemical abnormalities of the joint precede radiographic abnormalities of post traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) by as much as decades. A growing body of evidence strongly suggests that the progression from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury to PTOA is multifactorial, involving the interplay between biomechanical disturbances and biochemical homeostasis of articular cartilage.

Purpose: A randomized study using an acute ACL injury model were to (1) evaluate the natural progression of inflammatory and chondro-degenerative biomarkers, (2) evaluate the relationship between subjective reports of pain and inflammatory and chondro-degenerative biomarkers, and (3) determine if post injury knee drainage (arthrocentesis) and corticosteroid injection offer the ability to alter this biochemical cascade.

Study Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Methods: A total of 49 patients were randomized to 4 groups: group 1 (corticosteroid at 4 days after ACL injury, placebo injection of saline at 2 weeks), group 2 (placebo at 4 days after ACL injury, corticosteroid at 2 weeks), group 3 (corticosteroid at both time intervals), or a placebo group (saline injections at both time intervals). Patient-reported outcome measures and synovial biomarkers were collected at approximately 4 days, 11 days, and 5 weeks after injury. The change between the time points was assessed for all variables using statistical analysis, and the relationship between changes in outcome scores and biomarkers were assessed by calculating a commonly accepted mathematical analysis. Outcomes and biomarkers were also compared between the 4 groups using another statistical approach.

Results: No adverse events or infections were observed in any study patients. With the exception of matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1) and tumor necrosis factor–inducible gene 6 (TSG-6), chondro-degenerative markers worsened over the first 5 weeks while all patient-reported outcomes improved during this time, regardless of treatment group. Patient-reported outcomes did not differ between patients receiving corticosteroid injections and the placebo group. However, increases in C-telopeptide of type II collagen (CTX-II), associated with collagen type II breakdown, were significantly greater in the placebo group (1.32 ± 1.10 ng/mL) than in either of the groups that received the corticosteroid injection within the first several days after injury (group 1: 0.23 ± 0.27 ng/mL [P = .01]; group 3: 0.19 ± 0.34 ng/mL [P= .01]).

Conclusion: Post Traumatic Osteoarthritis begins at the time of injury and results early on in dramatic matrix changes in the knee. However, it is encouraging that early intervention with an anti-inflammatory agent was able to affect biomarkers of chondral degeneration. Should early intervention lead to meaningful changes in either the onset or severity of symptomatic PTOA, the current treatment paradigm for patients with ACL injury may have to be restructured to include early aspiration and intra-articular intervention.

This Blog is excerpted from a study appearing in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. My message, should you experience a significant joint injury, don’t wait until arthritic related symptoms appear, the Cellular Orthopedic intervention should take place within weeks; not years.
312-475-4523 to learn more or schedule an appointment

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What does Bone Marrow Concentrate really do?

What does Bone Marrow Concentrate really do?

I challenge the reader with this question because it becomes apparent, even the majority of the medical community can’t provide an accurate answer.  There are all kinds of claims and statements running rampant; so today, I will try to make some order out of chaos.  Let me begin with the patient who repeats what they have been told by their orthopedic surgeon, stem cells don’t work.  My response, “for what?” Oh yes they do if you understand where, when, how and why?

Bone marrow has several categories of molecules, cells and vesicles; anti-inflammatory cytokines, adult mesenchymal stem cells and growth factors. The cytokines are a group of molecules that address the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and thereby relieve pain.  The stem cells orchestrate regeneration of cartilage and the joint; while growth factors actually alter the bio-immune process of osteoarthritis.  Working together, bone marrow content, when concentrated, has the ability to relieve pain, improve motion, restore function, slow or halt the progression of arthritis and possibly regenerate the joint.

When the patient last Friday repeated that her orthopedic surgeon had told her stem cells don’t work, my response was he is right, there is no chance of regenerating cartilage in a 78 year old woman.  Yet the procedure would still be worthwhile as a long term pain reliever and the potential to improve function and postpone, or even avoid, a joint replacement.  While regeneration of cartilage is realistic under age 50, pain relief, improved function and better motion is probable at any age for those who chose to undergo a Bone Marrow Concentrate procedure for grades 2 and 3 osteoarthritis.

Three weeks ago, I completed a procedure on a 93 year old man who hadn’t been able to get out of his wheelchair since April.  Last week, his wife reported he was walking down the block with the aid of the walker.  Three years ago, I completed a bone marrow concentrate stem cell procedure on a 39 year old marathon runner who had stopped competing six months earlier because of knee pain from early onset degenerative arthritis.  As of last month, he had competed in 17 marathons since his intervention.

So, if you want to run, walk, bike, ski, and live pain free, call for a consultation.


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