Greg is a 51 year old who fell from a ladder and tore the back part of his medial meniscus (radial tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus). Greg limped around for three months and then decided he didn’t want surgery. Instead, he presented to our clinic and we determined on exam that this was likely the cause of his pain. As you know, research now shows that knee meniscus tears are not always the cause of pain, so a good exam is now needed to make sure. His decision for his meniscus tear treatment was to avoid surgery and have his own stem cells harvested, grown in culture, then injected under imaging guidance into the tear. He was seen for a series of injections, and 6 months out from these, he reported this week 100% improvement in his knee pain symptoms and a significant improvement in function. As a another discussion, a different patient seen yesterday in clinic needed adjustments in his treatment plan beyond the meniscus. This patient also had a significant meniscus problem, which was treated during his first two procedures. This area significantly improved. However, it was detected on his exam that he has ongoing instability in this knee due to a lax ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and tendinitis in his patella, which left him with continued anterior (front) knee pain. As a result, we needed to change the placement of cells from the meniscus to the ACL and patellar tendon to treat these secondary issues. So while the first case was smooth sailing from the start, the second patient had knee instability that needed treatment in addition to the meniscus. This brings up the importance of specific targeting of certain knee structures versus just blind injections in the joint. The research in this area supports that specific placement of cells would be more effective than just blindly injecting cells into the joint. This second patient also brings up the ortho 2.0 concepts I have blogged on in the past. As always, not all patients do as well as Greg.
(Please note, this patient was treated with the Regenexx-C cultured stem cell procedure and not Regenexx-SD. While Regenexx-SD does rely on the same stem cell type that was used to treat these patients and other clinics have reported good results using similar procedures that don’t rely on stem cell culturing, Regenexx-SD clinical effectiveness has not yet been established.)