Legendary Kiteboarder Still Flies Thanks to Stem Cells

by Chris Centeno, MD /

Some people really are like superheroes in that they’re fearless and have mastered an extreme sport that leaves us mortals in awe. So when I first saw Dimitri’s kiteboarding video, I chuckled at his amazing feats and just said, “Wow!”. That was even more satisfying because I knew that Dimitri was facing arthroscopic knee surgery for a meniscus tear and said “No” to surgery and “Yes” to a precise knee meniscus stem cell injection of his own stem cells.

Dimitri’s Diagnoses: Knee Arthritis, Meniscus Tears, and a Baker’s Cyst

After years of damage being done to Dimitri’s body due to his extremely active lifestyle and competitive kiteboarding, an MRI found advanced knee arthritis and meniscus tears. The meniscus is located in the knee, and acting as a shock absorber, it helps protect the cartilage. Normal wear-and tear with aging or injury can cause meniscus tears. The arthritis and tears had also caused synovial fluid to leak out of the joint, creating a Baker’s cyst, a fluid-filled lump, behind his knee. The cyst was irritating nerves and muscles, and all of this together was causing pain.

Dimitri wasn’t sure what to do, but he knew there was one thing he didn’t want—surgery! He began looking for treatment options that didn’t require surgery or drugs.

Why Not Surgery?

Dimitri’s answer to this was pretty straightforward: “I don’t like people going into my body…drilling and putting in plates and cutting things out…Who likes that?” Let’s take a look at what he might have had to endure with surgery.

First, meniscus surgery is bad news! I’ve shared before how the majority (greater than 90% in fact) of meniscus repairs aren’t really “repairs,” so to speak, but are actually excisions in which the torn parts of the structure are cut out. And as I’ve mentioned before there are no spare parts in the knee; the meniscus is there for a purpose. We also know that patients who undergo America’s most common orthopedic surgery, meniscus surgery, don’t fare any better than patient’s who just undergo physical therapy. In addition, removing part of the meniscus, the shock absorber in the knee, increases the forces on the cartilage and can either lead to an early onset of arthritis or a faster advance of existing arthritis and even an increased risk of knee replacement. Surgery for a torn meniscus, in most cases, is just unnecessary as the field of interventional orthopedics offers advanced biologics options (e.g., platelets, stem cells, etc.) as Dimitri discovered.

Knee replacement, which treats what is believed to be arthritis pain due to the mechanics of the knee as cartilage breaks down, is often ineffective for pain. It’s treating the wrong problem. Yet, by the time knee arthritis becomes advanced, many doctors have already had conversations with patients regarding the potential for a future knee replacement. While it may seem like the last resort for advanced arthritis, for guys like Dimitri, knee replacement is usually a bad idea. In addition, recent research shows that for more active people with knee pain, knee replacement isn’t that effective.

While discussing his knee issues with a friend, Dimitri learned about the possibility of stem cells and began to research. He found Dr. Leiber, one of our Regenexx Network doctors, and a few months ago, he underwent a same-day knee meniscus stem cell treatment on his knee, using his own bone-marrow derived stem cells. He followed this up with some physical therapy and was quickly back to competing.

Knee Meniscus Stem Cell Update: Watch the Video!

There is no other way to fully explain this 48-year-old legendary kiteboarder’s outcome but to tell you to watch the jaw-dropping video above! This “old-school guy,” as he calls himself, is still accomplishing feats only a rare few could achieve at half his age.

The upshot? Some people really are superheroes and I’d put Dimitri in that category. Both because of what he can do and also because he trusted the innate ability of his own body to heal and Dr. Leiber’s advanced injection skills in a knee meniscus stem cell procedure over traditional meniscus surgery. Here’s to hoping that Dimitri can still do super human stuff for many years to come!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.