Knee AVN (osteonecrosis) Helped with Stem Cell Injection

by Chris Centeno, MD /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

Knee avascular necrosis (AVN- also called osteonecrosis) is a dreaded disease where the bone begins to fall apart. It was once thought that this problem occurred due to bad blood supply to the bone (hence the name).  While this may still be the case in some circumstances, AVN is likely more often caused by bone cells that are unable to keep up with the normal wear and tear that happens to all bones. This means that more bone cells die off due to normal use than can be replaced by new bone cells (mesenchymal stem cells differentiating to osteoblasts who then make new bone cells). So placing more stem cells in the AVN area to make more bone might help. This is the case of a woman in her 70’s who has had multiple knee surgeries and refused to give up and get a knee replacement due to concerns about complications. She was diagnosed with AVN of the knee and had this area watched with serial MRI’s for years. She had tried the latest and greatest technologies for her knees and wanted stem cells when they became available. As a result, she came to see us for the Regenexx-C procedure with injection of her own bone marrow stem cells into her medial femoral condyle of the knee (area of the AVN lesion). Above are the pre and post stem cell treatment MRI’s. (she lives on the east coast, see we were unable to get her imaged on the same machine). The left two MRI slices (1/2 and 2/2) are front views of the knee and the AVN lesion on the top left picture is encircled in the dashed line. It’s the dark color in the otherwise white bone. On the bottom right pre-treatment image, she has a fracture in the bone which is about to flake off. We felt it unlikely we would save this piece, so the treatment was focused on stopping the AVN above, as if left unchecked, the rest of that side of the knee bone would have continued to collapse. The after treatment pictures are on the right. The upper right picture shows normal bone signal in the dotted circle (no AVN lesion) and the lower right picture shows that the piece that was hanging on in the pre-treatment MRI has flaked off and been reabsorbed by the body. The summary is that the lesion has dramatically improved in this end-stage knee, due to an injection of the patients own stem cells under x-ray guidance into this bone AVN lesion. The radiologist’s impression is below. Has her pain changed in that knee? I spoke to her last night and she stated that it used be very swollen and painful all the time, but now the swelling is markedly down and the pain has significantly receded since the injection. The upshot? We’ve had good experience treating AVN lesions with using the patient’s own stem cells to treat certain lesions and stopping the progression of the AVN. There are a number of published reports on this technique, so others have confirmed that using the patient’s own bone marrow stem cells can halt the progression of this horrible disease. It should be noted that we don’t know the long-term outcome of the treatment yet, but in the 9 month time frame, things are going very well.

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.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.