Honesty Is Key: Not Every Patient Is a Good Candidate for Stem Cell Treatment

by Chris Centeno, MD /

stem cell treatment candidacy

One of the things that was very clear at the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation meeting this past week was that there are two opposing forces offering “stem cell” therapies out there. On the one hand, you have the doctors like the ones lecturing at IOF, who are working hard on the science of who responds best to which treatments, even while helping many patients with investigational care. Then you have the scammers to whom all of this is just one big sales funnel. In that world, reducing the number of people getting specific treatments just messes up the spreadsheets of patient revenue.

Regenexx and Candidacy

Given that the physicians that began Regenexx were the first in the world to offer many common orthopedic stem treatments, it makes sense that we would also be the first to publish information on candidacy. We have published many different papers in this area on everything from who is and isn’t a candidate for bone marrow stem cell treatments to the appropriate dose for same. In addition, we have the world’s largest registry of these treatments going back 14 years. No academic medical center on earth is even a distant close second in that area. Hence, we pride ourselves in being honest with patients.

Occasionally, Interventional Orthopedics Isn’t the Solution

Just like there are times an interventional cardiology procedure simply isn’t going to be enough for a heart patient and they are referred for heart surgery, there are also times when our patients truly are poor candidates for an interventional orthopedics procedure and we find it necessary to actually recommend surgery. Case in point is a patient seen by Dr. Markle, who was a poor candidate for stem cell therapy and whom Dr. Markle recommended for surgery. We recently received a letter from this patient that confirms in a powerful way why we believe honesty is always the best policy. I’ll let his letter explain the rest.

Dear Jason Markle: I took your advice when I visited you in 2016 and went ahead with total joint replacement using a doctor who is an expert at the Anterior Approach. His name is Jeffrey Salin, MD and he practices at The Kansas City Bone & Joint Clinic in Overland Park, Kansas. I highly reccomend this doctor for his competence, confidence, candor and manor. The first hip was replaced in November 2017 and the second one is being replaced tomorrow! Not only have I had a full recovery, loss of all pain and an enhanced sence of stability and security but I also have almost no visible scar. I am, frankly, amazed at how effective this surgery has been for me with a tiny, nearly invisible scar just above the hip where he glued me back together. Within two weeks I was 95% mobil and back out working with the use of a cane for about another 30 days. One year later I rarely even notice the hip was replaced and I have nearly normal mobility, agility and return of strength on that side. 

I want to offer you a long overdue THANK YOU for making the reccomendation for surgery. When I visited you in August 2016 after reviewing my X-Rays and MRI Scan you told me I was too late to be treated with the Stem Cell Therapy and that I should find a doctor ASAP who could do this for me using only the Anterior Approach as I was in jepoardy of bone loss due to the curtailed blood flow to the affected area. I met with two other Orthopedic Surgeons who claimed they could perform the Anterior Approach until just days before the operation at the Pre-Op meeting confessed they “may” be able to do so but were planning to approach the hip “any way they can to get the job done”. After exhaustive research and one year later I located Dr. Salin and it was clear to me he was the man for the job.

In closing, I do want you to know I have had conversations with several other people who have or are contemplating hip replacement and in every case I have reccomended looking into Regennex first. I am certain it would have been easy for you to reccomend the Stem Cell treatment for me which would have been not only costly but would have set me back even further in reaching a solution. Your honesty with me and the specific reccomendation of how to get this done made a huge impression and have led to a very satisfactory outcome for which I am most grateful. My sincere thanks. Please feel free to use this letter as a reference for anyone seeking your help or that of the Regennex Clinic.

Thank you, Russell Armstrong

Thank you for your letter, Russell, and we are so happy to read that your surgery has been a success.

Dishonest Chiropractic “Stem Cell” Clinics Would Have Treated Russell

Unfortunately, there are many chiropractic clinics and others out there performing fake “stem cell” therapies that would have treated Russell as their only consideration for candidacy is can the patient pay? They claim they really can treat everybody and every case…and they can do it with amniotic stem cells, which if you read this blog, you well know these are scams as these birth-tissue products contain only dead stem cells. Patients are spending a great deal of money, even their savings, on this magic pixie dust treatment in the process.

Please don’t fall prey to these dishonest providers and clinics. Make sure the physician evaluating you and performing your stem cell treatments is an interventional orthopedics physician certified through the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation (IOF). In addition, only Regenexx physicians can access a database of over 20,000 treatments that goes back 14 years to see what works and what doesn’t and in whom. No other physician outside of our network has access to that data.

The upshot? At Regenexx, we are science-driven and always have and will be. That means we collect data on every consented patient and then use that information to publish articles in the peer-reviewed literature. We also use it to refine our candidacy process about who is and who is not a good candidate. Hence, we’re proud to say that anywhere from one-fourth to one-third of the patients walking into our offices are not good candidates, and we’re also proud that this earns us nothing. Why? That’s what good medicine is all about.

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6 thoughts on “Honesty Is Key: Not Every Patient Is a Good Candidate for Stem Cell Treatment

  1. Anthony Wiertel

    Hello Dr. Centeno; I appreciate your sharing this letter. I am bone on bone in both knees and have severe osteoarthritis. My orthopedic surgeon recommended a bi-lateral knee replacement. I’ve had a phone consult with Dr. Adelscheimer in your Pittsburgh Office. This is the closest Regenexx location as i live in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Adelscheimer stated I would be a good candidate for the bone marrow stem cell treatment as a solution to my knee pain. It’s great to see your integrity is first and foremost regarding the honesty in evaluating your patients as candidates. Kate Wickert and the Pittsburgh group have been both professional and congenial in my preparation for the procedure. Thank you very much!

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Anthony,
      Happy to share it – great to hear!

  2. A.N.MAUSKAR

    Recently I read about ORAL stem cell therapy.Is to any good?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi A.N.MAUSKAR,
      PRP has been used by Oral surgeons for quite some time. We treat TMJ issues, but beyond that, we don’t have any information on dental stem cell therapy. A good place to check for research in any particular medical area is PubMed.

  3. Pamela Hasford

    If Anthony Wiertel is “bone on bone” (which I’m assuming means no or very little cartilage) in both of his knees and has severe osteoarthritis, how will the bone marrow stem cell treatment treat his pain if there is no cartilage to regenerate?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Pamela,
      The obsession with knee cartilage is misplaced as there are as many knee patients with no cartilage that have no pain as there are knee patients with cartilage in severe pain. Therefore, determining what’s causing the pain and dysfunction in each individual case is critical in making both Candidacy and treatment decisions. We treat bone on bone knees regularly and successfully, but that does not mean every patient with bone on bone knee arthritis is a good candidate and this is why the Candidacy process is crucial. Hip arthritis is very different than knee arthritis and the criteria for hip arthritis Candidacy is different. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/new-research-knee-and-hip-oa-are-different/

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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