Avoid Meniscus Surgery: An Elite High School Athlete Uses Injections Instead

by Chris Centeno, MD /

avoid meniscus surgery

Why would you want to avoid meniscus surgery? After all it seems like every athlete at some point or another in his or her career gets a knee surgery, isn’t it a rite of passage? Well there are issues that the recent research has revealed with this approach. First, meniscus surgery seems to work no better than a placebo operation. Second, removing parts of the meniscus likely leads to more knee arthritis. As a result, many athletes are avoiding meniscus surgery by having their own blood platelets or stem cells percisely injected into the meniscus tears to promote healing. Can this work for a young, elite athlete? Dr. Newton recently treated the young woman shown above (making a three pointer in the state championship game) with the Regenexx-SCP procedure (a precise ultrasound guided injection of her super concentrated platelets) and we recently received this e-mail from her dad:

“Dr. Newton,

I wanted to give you an update on my daughter, Kristen Vigil’s progress.  Kristen, is a fairly high level high school basketball player, as she is a starter on her high school team, Lutheran HS, which won the Class 2A state championship in March.  She injured her meniscus in September 2013, and had to play with pain over the next several months.  In fact, without KT tape, she could have never completed her high school season.  As soon as the season ended, we consulted a doctor, who is the team doctor for one of our professional Denver sports teams, and he recommended surgery, which would require appx. 6 months recovery time.  A parent on our team heard about this and recommended we contact your clinic, as this parent had heard good results from someone else. 

Kristen was treated about 6 weeks ago, and I have to admit, although I was truly hoping this would work, it was hard to not be skeptical.  However, since it was fairly affordable, we figured we had nothing to lose, as we could always pursue surgery.  Well, let me tell you, I am a believer.  After her 30 days of rest, we slowly worked her back into shape.  She just played in a basketball tournament this last weekend, and for the first time in nearly a year, was able to play 100% pain free.   

I can’t recommend your clinic enough.  I am so thankful my daughter avoided surgery and is healthy again.   

Dominic Vigil”

The upshot? I’ve blogged before that as a nation, we need to stop treating our young athletes with aggressive and invasive surgery like we do our pro-athletes. Kristen is a great example of what can happen when an athlete chooses to unleash the healing power of her own platelets or stem cells!

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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