ACL Stem Cell Musings and the Regenexx Holiday Party

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ACL tear stem cell

If you read this blog, you know I love the holidays. It’s a time of year that I can shift into low gear, which for me is saying something. It’s also a time of year I can give back to our employees who work hard all year. This weekend at our party, an ACL stem cell story emerged that typifies what’s likely to happen as we innovate more and more using advanced interventional orthopedics. Resistance to change and an orthopedic surgeon acting out against a college offensive lineman is what this story is all about.

70% of All Patients Who Currently Get ACL Surgery Don’t Need It

If you read this blog carefully, I have always hedged the above statement in some way. I have usually placed the word “likely” in front of the statement. However, at the turn of the year, we will have been performing our precise ACL stem cell injection procedure for about seven years. At this point, I have seen enough to know that the above statement is true. However, that doesn’t mean that we still don’t have much to prove. We do. We have a second research paper that has still to be published. We have the first part of our ACL stem cell randomized controlled trial (RCT) to publish. We also have yet to complete the full RCT which is still recruiting.

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Brendan’s Story

Brendan is the son of our bookkeeper. He was born to play offensive line in football, as his six and a half feet and size make him a formidable tight end. Hence, he quickly bagged a scholarship to play college football as he graduated high school. In addition, he has also been at almost all of our holiday parties from the age of about eight through this year.

As is common in college football, he eventually sustained an ACL injury. Since his mother knew us well, she asked if we could use our then new ACL stem cell procedure to help her son. Why? She knew from my writings that ACL surgery wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. That the ACL graft weakens the muscle from which it’s taken. That the new graft goes in at too steep an angle to be an effective protection system for the knee. Finally, that the new and very artificial ligament has none of the position sense capability it requires to fire muscles to protect the knee.

We treated Brendan’s ACL and it healed. We then treated a second ACL tear on the other side and it healed. His MRI images are below:

A Backward Orthopedic Surgeon

Like most college teams, Brendan’s had an orthopedic surgeon as its team physician. He wanted to operate on Brendan’s knees, and he was politely told no. After his MRIs showed that his ACLs had healed, the surgeon continued to block Brendan’s return to the field. This was even after Brendan demonstrated 700+ pound squats and his physical exam was normal. The surgeon refused to acknowledge that a stem cell procedure like an injection could have allowed this player to avoid surgery.

As life would have it, Brendan eventually became an assistant offensive line coach at the school, taking his fate and making lemonade out of lemons. However, over the last five years, many orthopedic surgeons who considered stem cell procedures to be voodoo have begun to use them in their practices. We also now have orthopedic surgeons retraining in interventional orthopedics, seeing the handwriting on the wall. Finally, the evidence base that supports what orthopedic surgeons do every day has cratered, with study after study showing that most common orthopedic surgical procedures are no better than sham surgeries.

How are Brendan’s knees? They’re 100%. As I learned at our Christmas party, he never looked back. He does everything he wants to do and now is coaching kids. He knows he would have had no issues playing his last two seasons as a tight end, but this kid doesn’t hold a grudge, He’s just thankful that he doesn’t have surgically implanted artificial ligaments.

The upshot? The world is changing. Most of elective orthopedic surgery will be replaced by precise image-guided interventional orthopedics without surgery. By the way, if you’re an orthopedic surgeon in Aberdeen, South Dakota, you were an idiot. If you’ve grown an open mind in the past few years, we would be happy to retrain you in what will replace most of your specialty over the next 1–2 decades.

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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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7 thoughts on “ACL Stem Cell Musings and the Regenexx Holiday Party

  1. Janet Miller Wiseman

    This is absolutely fabulous news. I am soon to do the email application and send my two recently taken MRIs of my right and left shoulder. The X-Rays show that there are spaces between the bones and cartilage! Janet Miller Wiseman [email protected]

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      That’s great news! We’ll keep an eye out for it!

  2. Bob

    What type of pain is involved with bone marrow extraction and with stem cell injections? Also, what are the immediate after effects of the injections (pain, swelling, etc)?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      For Regenexx Procedures Only: Most people have said a Bone Marrow Aspiration is similar to Dental work, you feel pressure, but not pain. Topical and numbing injections which don’t harm stem cells are used to keep patients comfortable. This is important because most commonly used numbing agents do damage stem cells.The same numbing agents are used with the injections and they are about as painful as a shot you’d get at a Dr’s office. If you’re someone who typically has problems with injections, please tell your Doc at the exam. After effects are usually some minor pain and swelling. All Regenexx procedures are designed to promote normal activity as soon as possible. The complete Regenexx stem cell protocol is actually a series of injections that happen over the course of about a week, depending on your unique situation. These injections include a pre-injection, the same-day stem cell extraction and re-injection procedure, followed by a post-injection of multiple proprietary platelet mixes a few days later. Please see: and

  3. Lisa Talley

    This is encouraging information for sure, but what about a kid who has already had two ACL surgeries (because we didn’t know better at the time)? And now he has had a re-injury of one of the knees. He has refused surgery at this point( I can’t blame him) but he also does not want any further procedures. Is there anything you can do to reverse surgeries that were already done and then do stem cell procedure? (probably a dumb question) This kid is a truly gifted athlete(especially in basketball), but now that all seems lost. What do you think the future holds for people who have already had an ACL surgery when they should have done a stem cell procedure?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Yes, we do treat patients who have had ACL surgery, which is particularly important in young people because of the issues created by the surgery. Please see: If you’d like to see if he would be a Candidate, please submit the Candidate form so we can take a look and weigh in.

  4. Arshad Hussain

    Excellent job indeed and good news for the promising future of intervention orthopedics

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