Can a Baker’s Cyst be Treated without Surgery?

Medical illustration showing a healthy knee and a knee with a Baker's cyst


We often see patients with large knee Baker’s cysts that want stem cell treatment. One concern is that these large joint effusions (lots of fluid on the knee that in this case pushes out the back of the knee) will make accurate stem cell placement impossible. These cysts in the back of the knee usually restrict normal range of motion and are painful for the patient. As a result, we’ll often recommended drainage before we undertake stem cell therapy for the knee.

Baker’s cysts are usually treated by draining them in a blind fashion (without guidance) and then injecting high dose steroids. This helps for awhile, but then the cyst comes back. Many patients undergo surgery, but this is invasive and requires  a lot of downtime and has higher risks than injection. A few years back we published on a non-surgical injection technique to get rid of these cysts. Below is a video of our clinic’s method to drain the baker’s cyst and then inject a sclerosant to close the cyst. A sclerosant is a substance that helps to scar down tissue. The most common use of these medications is to get rid of varicose veins. The procedure works well and often allows us to get the patient ready for later stem cell treatment without having to resort to surgery.

This video below exemplifies the Regenexx Difference. In this case, the use of sophisticated diagnosis and imaging guided injections procedures to replace surgery. Rather than injecting or implanting magic stem cells blindly and not knowing where they might go or what they might do, we expect much more diagnostic and therapeutic accuracy.

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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

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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.