Cartilage Regeneration versus Joint Restoration, what’s the difference?

Cartilage Regeneration versus Joint Restoration, what’s the difference?

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, so help me G_d. Injured cartilage in a skeletally mature adult typically doesn’t heal on its own; surgical techniques are needed in an attempt to repair and replace cartilage. These latter procedures are appropriate for specific cartilage injury, rather than the widespread cartilage changes found in the osteoarthritic joint. That is not to say that someday soon, we may have the ability to regenerate cartilage. Research is ongoing in regenerative medicine with continual progress as evidenced by preliminary success in spinal cord injured patients:  

StemCyte gets FDA green light to continue studying spinal cord injury treatment stem cells.  

Now for the bad news. In spite of false news generated by the charlatans, parasites, camp followers and hucksters in their Regenerative Medicine seminars, print media and television adds; there is no scientific evidence to support their claims of cartilage regeneration, hair restoration, cure of erectile dysfunction, so on and so forth.

Stem cell fraud? Couple says therapy gave them ‘false hope’

“Unfortunately, what I had hoped to be a hard-hitting expose turned into limp-noodle babbling. Another missed opportunity.” Continuing the commentary about regenerative medicine clinic charlatans and fraud started by NBC, when a patient showed me a brochure from yet another group that holds itself out to treat every abnormal medical condition from A to Z with “Stem Cells”, I suggested that he request data regarding their successes. Please bear in mind the self- contradicting adage that Always and Never statements are always false and never true. They are frequently used by people who suffer from personality disorders.  On Friday he sent me the response to his inquiry regarding outcomes at a one of the national stem cell clinics.

“success rates per our clinical research network are VERY encouraging:  Orthopedic: knee 83%, hip 80%, back (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral 80% ave., ED 77%, Cataracts 100%”  Remember what I just wrote about Always and Never?

The good news though is that there is emerging scientific evidence to justify Joint Restoration with a cellular orthopedic procedure. While an image of an arthritic joint allows for identification of cartilage and meniscal changes, that same image will frequently be consistent with bone marrow edema, and thickening of the bone adjacent to a joint (subchondral sclerosis) as well as loose bodies within the joint. As cartilage does not have a nerve supply, the pain generation in Osteoarthritis more probable than not is the result of inflammation of the synovial joint lining and the subchondral bone. While there is no scientific means of re-growing cartilage after age 40 at this time-defects may be filled by surgery-orthopedic surgeons focusing on Cellular Orthopedics have developed methods to restore the joint function by blocking the pain generators, restoring healthy subchondral bone, and reversing bone marrow edema.

To schedule an Evidence Based Consultation, call (847) 390-7666

You may read my Blog and explore my published research articles on the website

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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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All Stem Cell Procedures are not the same

All Stem Cell Procedures are not the same

Last week, a patient called and cancelled her scheduled Bone Marrow Concentrate Regenexx SD Stem cell procedure declaring that she had found a less expensive provider for stem cells. I wished her well and devoted some time to trying to better understand the price range posted on the internet for the Regenexx SD procedure. While I couldn’t really get a grasp on the geographic differences in costs, I did realize the chaos and confusion potential of trying to compare apples and oranges. The Regenexx SD Stem cell procedure is the gold standard in the emerging world of Cellular Orthopedics (Regenerative Medicine). There is a seven year outcomes data base supporting the safety and efficacy of the Regenexx methodology. We have been monitoring the successful outcomes of our procedures for a longer time and with the most detailed, reproducible criteria in the field. If you look at non Regenexx websites, you frequently find our outcomes data reproduced (many times without permission).

The Regenexx mission statement is to get the patient back to things he or she loves faster and without surgery. The actual preparation for the procedure, the harvesting and processing of the bone marrow and the follow up management is proprietary in nature; that’s why price shopping doesn’t work. If it isn’t a Regenexx SD procedure, it is a generic knockoff and you will really minimize the chance of success. There are several Regenerative Medicine practices outside of Regenexx in the Midwest; yesterday, a patient called to schedule a Regenexx SD procedure after having gone elsewhere for less cost and experienced the anticipated unsatisfactory outcome.

This is not cookie cutter technology. The harvesting of the bone marrow cannot be from a single site or you risk a marked diminution in the number of adult mesenchymal stem cells harvested. The amount of bone marrow harvested must meet the quantitative requirements for maximum benefit. The simple recovery of 10 ccs of bone marrow is doomed to fail yet the latter is frequent in some settings so as to minimize charges. Then there is the proprietary system of concentrating and processing only available through Regenexx. Last of all, the counting of cells is not a futile exercise as suggested by the “knock off” clinics. We are able to sense success in numbers.

To determine if you are a candidate for stem cell management of your arthritis, you need to make an appointment. A telephone interview doesn’t do it nor does my looking at your images. The determinant is based on my intake and my experience. There are patients whose needs are better served by a joint replacement. If you do meet the inclusion criteria for management for your arthritis with stem cells, there is no better alternative than the Regenexx SD intervention

312 475 1893 to schedule an appointment.

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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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