There are many younger patients these days that find themselves needing a knee replacement, This morning I’d like to write about a brother and a sister who both found themselves in that precarious situation. The 57 year old brother is a patient of ours because a knee replacement wasn’t a good solution for his active lifestyle. As a result, he sought out a knee replacement alternative. He had already undergone a lateral meniscus surgery in 1998 and had tried prolotherapy. His MRI showed tears of the posterior horn of both the medial and lateral meniscus tissues as well as thinning and fraying of the articular cartilage with subchondral marrow edema and a chronic sprain of the ACL. He was told a knee replacement was the next step.
Dr. Schultz felt he was a fair candidate for the Regenexx-SD stem cell procedure, so he decided to give it a try. Rather than injecting stem cells blindly somewhere into the knee joint, Dr. Schultz targeted his ACL under c-arm fluoroscopy and his meniscus using ultrasound guidance. The result on a recent 1 year registry questionnaire? No pain, no problem getting in and out of a car or climbing stairs, or sitting. He describes his overall improvement as excellent and more than 100% recovered.
He came to my attention again yesterday when I was contacted by his sister who took the other route for her knee and underwent a knee replacement. She was surprised by her brother’s recovery and wanted to know how it was possible that he improved through just an injection when her own experience of a knee replacement was such an ordeal.
The upshot? Successful treatment involves being able to accurately diagnose the problem. Treating this patient’s knee required that we realize that his ACL needed to be targeted as much as his meniscus/cartilage and also that we use very precise placement of cells into these structures with more than one type of imaging. In addition, as I told his sister yesterday, like for many, many other patients we’ve seen since 2005, thankfully a knee replacement is no longer the only option!