Ask Dr. C-Episode 6 -Why is Regenexx the Best?
It’s that time again and for today, I’ll focus on one specific question. This is because it’s such a key one that every reader can learn something. Let’s dig in.
What makes Regenexx any better or different than any other stem cell treatment centers?
I’ve spent the last 15 years of my career answering this question and it’s one I’m sure many people have when they first get introduced to Regenexx. What makes this company any different than every other stem cell treatment being offered? After all, they seem to be a dime a dozen right now. So let’s explore this through a top 10 list. The top reasons why Regenexx is VERY different:
Training, training, and more training.
In real estate, it’s location, location, location. For stem cell and other orthobiologic therapies, it’s training, training, and more training. Today, you can break this into the “Scarily Untrained”, the “Barely Trained”, and the “Well Trained”. Let’s dig into these:
Countless chiropractic and alternative health offices are involved in scams to sell expensive dead stem cell treatment (more on that below) to patients. If you’re not going to take the time to figure out the difference between dead and live stem cells, why would you take the time to hire someone who is adequately trained? The best example of how this lack of training in these offices is the video below. This is from a chiropractic course training nurses and others how to perform fake stem cell procedures and of course, the injection being taught is also faked:
Why is this “scary”? Because the wrong type of injection in the wrong place can kill a patient.
In this next category, we have about 90% of the MDs or DOs or physician extender mid-levels (like NPs) that work for these physicians. As the British saying goes, everything is “just a few sandwiches short of a picnic”. Meaning, that the details that can make or break a stem cell procedure outcome haven’t been taught nor leaned. For example, something as simple as using a long-acting anesthetic called Marcaine around the stem cells will kill those cells before they have an opportunity to work. Or take the example of an NFL player I treated who had gotten an “ACL stem cell” procedure performed at a famous sports medicine clinic. The clinic couldn’t use C-arm fluoroscopy to properly guide the needle so they used ultrasound and botched the procedure:
All of our Regenexx physicians must have the basic training that will allow them to guide needles at the level of our standards. They then go through additional training through our network and are required to take additional training beyond that through the Interventional Orthobiologics Foundation (IOF). They are then required to attend annual training updates. So while you can find physicians out there as well trained as our Regenexx doctors who aren’t on our network, trying to figure out who is who would be almost impossible for the average patient. However, at Regenexx, you know you have that quality if they’re on our network.
2. Real live stem cells
This would seem like a no brainer, right? If a clinic says that it’s injecting live and functional stem cells that must be accurate. However, regrettably, in 90% of the cases these days, what’s termed a stem cell injection is actually dead before it ever hits your body. The best example is umbilical cord and amniotic “stem cell” products that are all dead tissue. See the video below to learn more:
At Regenexx, if your doctor says you’re getting an injection that contains stem cells, we’ve researched that process to make sure that’s an accurate statement. In addition, this is why we take those stem cells from your body.
3. Flexible lab platform
At most clinics who use your own platelets, fat, or bone marrow, what they can do with that tissue is very limited. Meaning that each different tissue requires a different one-size-fits-all machine that can usually only produce one product at one concentration. In addition, many times the concentrations needed to maximize the effects in your body can’t be achieved. Let’s dive into just that last statement.
When doctors make PRP, they use a little bedside centrifuge and kit that can only do one thing. It also usually only produces platelet-rich plasma which is one concentration, usually at 3-5 times concentration over what was found in the blood. However, based on our research there’s a problem with that PRP:
What we found in this study published by our lab scientists is that middle-aged and older tendons need much higher concentrations of PRP to maximize their healing potential. These levels of concentration aren’t achievable by these bedside machines, which is one of the many reasons why Regenexx physicians use a Flexible Lab Platform. This is an actual mini-lab that allows one of our trained technicians to get to those higher concentrations and do many other things that bedside machines and kits can’t accomplish.
4. Imaging Guidance
You’re about to get into your car and someone tells you that they want to spray paint your windshield black as seeing where you’re going is highly overrated. Do you? A. Say great, I agree and get behind the wheel or B. realize that driving your car without being able to see where you’re going is suicide? If you answered B, you just came up with the reason why Regenexx requires all of its physicians to use imaging guidance and why you should never let anyone stick a needle into your body “blind”.
Regenexx is Interventional Orthopedics or also described as Interventional Orthobiologics, which means that all of our doctors use either ultrasound imaging or fluoroscopy or both to guide the stem cells to the precise spot where they’re supposed to go. The other guys mostly just place the cells somewhere in the vicinity of where they should be. For example, inside the knee joint rather than inside the part of the meniscus that’s torn or inside a ligament tear. Check out my video below on the differences between the average injection and what you get at Regenexx:
What is a registry? That means that patients are tracked at set time points for outcomes and complications after the procedure. How many stem cell clinics out there do this? Almost none. Why? It’s expensive and time-consuming. However, not only do we track our patients in a registry and have been doing that longer than anyone else on earth, you can see that data in real-time right here:
Just click on a joint to see how thousands of Regenexx patients did with that procedure. This is real patient-reported data, not filtered testimonials. You won’t find that at any other clinic.
6. Clinical Research
Does this stuff work? That’s a question that almost all clinics out there just can’t answer with any reasonable data to back up that statement. Not at Regenexx, since we’ve published a good chunk of the world’s clinical research literature on using stem cells to treat orthopedic problems. In fact, no other clinic system has much published at all, so none is even a close second.
Why is this important? Because, changing the technique for how the cells are harvested, how the cells are processed, or how they’re applied can make a huge difference in whether the procedure works or not. Hence, only at Regenexx will you find published research on exactly what we do and how we do it:
You might see some research papers listed at other sites, but almost always, when you check into those papers they’re not on what that clinic offers. Hence, whether the procedure that specific clinic uses works or not is anybody’s guess.
7. Lab research
How cells are processed is a huge deal. Let’s take bone marrow for example. It has many different types of cells including several different types of stem cells. How do you maximize the amount of the cells you want while getting rid of the cells you don’t want? That’s not a trivial thing, but at Regenexx, we have a full university-level research lab on-site at our Colorado HQ where we can easily answer these questions.
Take for example how we process bone marrow. Our lab research demonstrated that there were valuable stem cells in the bone marrow that the average little bedside machine and kit were throwing away. We identified this cell source, characterized it in the lab, and came up with processes to preserve it. So every bone marrow stem cell patient we treat gets those extra cells that would normally be thrown down the drain.
Regenexx and our team in Colorado invented this feild of Interventional Orthobiologics. That’s a very strong statement, but one we can back up. For example, when I began this work in 2005, there was nobody else in the US using bone marrow stem cells to treat things like arthritis or spine problems. In the whole world at that time, nobody else had ever injected bone marrow stem cells into a disc or a ligament or a joint. Those firsts lead to Regenexx being in a leadership position and eventually to myself and others being the founders of the Interventional Orthobiologics Foundation. Rather than keep that organization a Regenexx only concept, we open-sourced it and gave it away to the field so that others could define the guidelines for the best practices for interventional care. Now IOF has little to do with Regenexx except that we require all of our providers to take their courses.
9. Not afraid to upend the surgical applecart
Do you really need surgery? That’s a common question, but not one that most people often get an honest answer to. Why? The old saying applies here, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.
If you go to an orthopedic surgery office, you will be more likely to get a surgical recommendation than if you go to a Regenexx provider who knows that your problem can be fixed without surgery. We even have orthopedic surgeons on our network who have imbibed this idea that there is an ever-increasing array of problems that no longer require surgery.
However, in many surgical practices, even if there is a physician that offers non-surgical orthobiologics, that provider’s hands are often tied. Let me give you an example. I have a colleague who works in a large orthopedic practice. Our game-changing procedure that replaces the need for ACL reconstruction surgery (Perc-ACLR) is not something he could ever perform on his patients. Why? His surgical partners would never allow him to cannibalize their surgical schedules by taking patients who were surgical candidates and moving them to a non-surgical procedure.
10. Real insurance coverage
We have some amniotic and umbilical cord fake stem cell companies out there claiming they can get insurance coverage for what they do. That’s as fake as their stem cell injections. Why? They’re using a Medicare reimbursement code that only applies to skin wound healing and not to treat your knee arthritis. Once Medicare figures out that scam, your doctor will be threatened with federal prison and have to pay back hundreds of thousands in Medicare payments and fines. His attorney’s fees alone keeping him or her out of jail will be in the tens to hundreds of thousands. Where do you think all of that cash will come from? You. That’s right, you likely signed a form that says that if your doctor doesn’t get paid by an insurance company, you owe the money.
Regenexx has actual insurance coverage for these procedures with contracts that allow specific employers to pay for what we do. That’s about 8 million covered lives and growing. That increases every day as we add more and more companies to this plan.
Why is that happening? See above. Nobody else on earth can replicate all of the parts and pieces that make Regenexx special. Hence no other group of physicians on earth has pulled this off.
The upshot? Why is Regenexx the best that’s out there? I hope I answered that question!