A Comment from a Reader…

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If you read this blog, you know that I often write about what I experience on a day-to-day basis. With daylight savings gone and the “fall back”, I was up extra early this morning and wanted to highlight a comment from a reader. So let’s dig in.

The Comment

I get emails all the time from readers and other patients, but this one caught my eye:

Dr. Centeno,
I want to thank you so much for your daily blogs. Having had several procedures at Regenexx Tampa Bay by Dr. Leiber and Dr. Papas, I find these blogs extremely interesting and a confirmation that I chose the right doctors to treat my issues. I was able to avoid back fusion, wrist, hamstring and glut minimus and medius surgeries. I am so grateful to have found Regenexx. Before choosing Regenexx I interviewed several stem cell “doctors” and several surgeons regarding my issues. Of course, the surgeons recommended surgery and said stem cells would not help and not one stem cell doctor I interviewed evaluated me. They just quoted me an outrageous price and couldn’t even explain what to expect. Even with my limited knowledge of stem cells I knew something wasn’t right. After my interview with Dr. Leiber, I was sold on Regenexx. Both he and Dr. Papas’ evaluations were exactly as you described.
Again, thank you and thank you for taking the time to read my email!

Sincerely,
Sally Serralles

First, when you’re up in the wee hours of the morning trying to think about a topic for the blog, it’s great to have an email like this as it’s an instant topic!

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Stem Cell Doctors

To illustrate Sally’s point, let me review this past two weeks as medical director. We just had about half a dozen physicians who applied to be part of our national network in the last two weeks. Two of those didn’t have the base experience to be able to perform an exam like the one Sally described at Regenexx Tampa. They also didn’t have the requisite image-guided injection experience, so both were turned down. Meaning, they were told we wouldn’t add them to the network. Now that makes no financial business sense, as each of these doctors would have added to the profits of the larger company and each could have been a financially successful Regenexx affiliate. So why do this? For the reasons Sally highlighted above.

What Sally experienced is what I see every day. Most physicians or alternative medicine clinics out there who claim to know what they’re doing with orthobiologic procedures have no idea which end is up. Why? There is no training on this stuff in medical schools, residencies, or 99.9% of the fellowships out there. Hence, to figure out which end is up, all physicians need copious hands-on training. Yet few take the time to get trained unless that training is a prerequisite. That’s what Regenexx does. We require excellence in training and require it every day from our sites.

Maintaining Excellence

How can an ever-growing national network keep standards VERY HIGH? Going back a few weeks, I threw down a gauntlet when I started talking about the type of expanded physical exam that I expected every Regenexx network site to perform. That’s what Sally experienced through Dr. Leiber and Papas at Regenexx Tampa Bay. Since I left my office email on that blog, two people wrote me about problems they experienced at two sites. I immediately reached out to those sites, pulled their medical records, and once it was confirmed that both didn’t deliver the type of exam I expected, both were called out and put on notice that they needed to up their game.

Again, if any reader has a problem with any Regenexx network site, here is the email that goes directly to my desk: [email protected] Nobody reads that email other than me and nobody screens it. Since I get many emails in a day and I’m still a practicing doctor, I can’t say that I can always get back quickly, so if you don’t hear back ping me again.

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Trust Your Gut

What Sally also experienced was that little voice that tells us something’s not right. That she wasn’t in a medical clinic when she went to other sites offering stem cells, but instead, more of a timeshare sales event. You should also trust your gut. If you walk into a clinic and the emphasis is not on the physical exam performed by a physician specialist (and NOT a nurse or PA) and not on why you’re a good or poor candidate, then walk out. If the emphasis is more on the sale and it feels pushy like buying a used car with deals that expire today, then walk out.

The upshot? Thanks to Sally for brightening my day! As the Chief Medical Officer for Regenexx, while I love getting emails telling me where we’re not delivering on the expectations I set, I also love hearing about when we’re exceeding expectations!

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. View Profile

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at [email protected]

NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

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