4 Years after a Knee Stem Cell Injection for Arthritis and Still Improving

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knee stem cell injection for arthritis

4 years after a knee stem cell injection for arthritis, and still improving…  We’ve been using stem cells to treat our patients for a long time, so many of our patients are now years out from their treatments. NH is one such patient who received the Regenexx-C stem cell procedure for her arthritic knee in 2008.  Though not everyone’s experience will be the same, it’s likely best for her to tell her own story, so here’s an e-mail she recently sent to Dr. Schultz about her stem cell knee experience.

“When I first came to Dr Centeno’s clinic in 2008 I was the product of a left knee surgery gone awfully wrong which I had in May of 2006.  After knee repair to correct what looked like shredded cartilage my pain and inability to function increased beyond my worse nightmare.  Before knee surgery I could at least walk, although when I got in and out of vehicles I had to be very careful because I could get excruciating knee pain.  It also happened when I danced, not right away but “from out of the blue.” The pain was so intensive it made me as white as a sheet.  But I still could walk and live a normal life.  In my job I was walking about 9 miles per day before this left knee surgery.  And I could stand up (bear weight on my knee) without wishing I could sit down.  In fact I was not impacted by weight bearing.  I never gave it a second thought.  After knee surgery my cartilage in my left knee decreased fairly rapidly to zero where I could not walk more than a few hundred feet per day max and every step was extremely painful.  I would step out of the car and try to figure out how many feet I had to walk, and could I manage it.   And I had to quit my job.  After less than one year after left knee surgery, even walking a few hundred feet was very painful and that is all of the walking I felt  I could do in a day.  I was almost measuring these few hundred feet and saving them so I could walk from the curb to the grocery store, then use the electric cart to do my shopping or just get some chores done around the house.   I tried injections of synovial fluid.  It did not help my left knee although I had significant improvement in my right knee.  Then the physician gave me cortizone injections in the left knee and it caused me to gain about 15 pounds within 3 weeks and I had real trouble reducing these increased pounds and realized a couple of years later that this induced insulin resistance.  I am convinced of it.  In 2008 I learned of Dr. Centeno’s clinic and I had stem cell treatment.  My total recovery was slow.  Provided I don’t climb up and down stairs and don’t step up on too many curbs per day, and don’t carry two much I could walk without a wheel chair.  I didn’t walk too far.  I came to measure my walking abilities by how many times I could walk around stores the size of Costco.  At first it was one store once or twice a week and normal walking around the house and office (but not excessive walking).  That was a great achievement for me.  Gradually it became about 3 stores by 2009, and now in 2012 I can step up over occasional curbs – still avoiding the steps so I don’t have to curtail my walking.  I went with my step daughters to Alligator Land in Oct of 2012 and walked from 2 to 5 in the afternoon barely stopping at a normal walking pace.  After that it took my knee 3 weeks to recover back to normal. Although now I didn’t curb my activities, just experienced more pain while doing those activities.  What is normal?  I can take a break every hour and walk about 100 yards each time at least 6 times per day.  I can walk the equivalent of 6 to 7 stores the size of Costco several times per week.  I walk through xxx Mall and back to the car once or twice.  Walk from the parking garage to my car – another 300 yards.  I can also greet customers at the front door a few times per day.  Probably walking another 1,000 feet each time.  And I can visit a bunch of smaller stores and restaurants.  When I travel by air, I no longer need the wheel chair.  I haven’t used the wheel chair for travel since July of 2012.  I take small strolls here and there – not to far, maybe a couple of thousand feet.  However, I believe that at 61 years old in just a few days, that I am still consistently improving.  For one year now I I have been following a mostly vegan lifestyle to reduce my cholesterol (dropping the fish and dairy so I can lose weight), taking hemp and flax seeds, eating soy and lots of beans. I believe that for the most part I am reducing the cortisol that increased from receiving the cortizone shots and slowly my body is losing those pounds.)  I do hope your clinic can continue to give patients the “gift” of their own stem cells implanted as this has proven such a blessing to me.  I am overwhelmed at the continued increments of improvement that I am continuing to experience.  At first you think it is not much, but it continues to improve.  I am almost observing that when I “overdo” my walking sometimes, that eventually I can increase my walking over time although this could be me imagining things.   I cannot run and dance – at least not yet, and may never be able to again – but I am leaving a lifestyle that is unhindered because I am able to walk without thinking about whether or not I can do it.  I can walk fast, even out walk my husband for small spurts.   For the last several months I have added carrying a back pack around instead of using a purse.  This way I can carry more stuff.  I estimate that I can carry about 10 pounds and I am now increasing my aerobic activity because I wear it anytime I leave the office or house.  At first I noticed I was breathing heavier but now my breathing is normal.  That is my latest improvement.  I am now able to bear more weight. I can stand up for longer periods of time, especially if I move a little.  I cannot add the computer to my backpack yet as it’s too heavy and it impacts my knee.  I can also carry n the lighter grocery bags which I couldn’t do before without impacting my knee.  When my knee is impacted it takes me longer to walk within a more comfortable zone.  When it is impacted the pain on walking is increased but I can still do it if I want to bear the pain.  Most of the time I am so busy at work I don’t feel my the pain.

 Please use this testimony for any reason to promote your good work.”

NOTE:  Any case reports or patient results presented on this web-site are not indicative of all patient results. Like any medical procedure, all Regenexx procedures have a success and failure rate.

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
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