Exact Tennis Elbow Injections of Stem Cells using Imaging Guidance

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is one of the most common problems of active adults. Usually it involves pain at the outside of the elbow that gets worse with bending the wrist backwards such as using a racquet to hit a tennis ball. Injections of steroids into the area can reduce swelling and pain, but also likely weaken tissue and cause the pain to come back more than it was before the injection. Many times surgeons will perform a procedure where they “rough up” the area with a scalpel (fenestrate), but this involves big recovery time. We’ve had success with injecting the patient’s own platelets and stem cell cells into this area. In particular, we often use the Regenexx-SCP procedure to treat this kind of condition. Like with any injection, accuracy helps. At the Centeno-Schultz clinic, rather than performing this injection blind and placing the stem cells into the wrong spot, we often inject cells using musculoskeletal ultrasound. Above is a video of this injection. To the left is the epicondyle bone and the needle comes in horizontally off from the right side. Watching the needle move toward the epicondyle (looks like a mountain off on the left), you get an appreciation of just how easy it would be to inject cells into the wrong spot (miss the mountain). Placing stem cells without knowing where your needle is going is like driving a car with a blacked out windshield, you can do it, it’s just not a good idea.

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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.

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