Knee Replacement Pictures Scary? You’re Not the Only One

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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Anyone who has taken a gander at knee replacement pictures on-line knows that the procedure is not pretty. First there’s the demolition: The surgeon creates a long incision in the skin to access the knee joint and then amputates (or cuts out) all or part of the knee bones and joint. Next the surgeon uses power tools to sculpt the end of femur (upper-leg bone) and the tibia (lower-leg bone). Once the demolition is complete, the surgeon will insert the artificial joint made of metal, cement, and polyethylene—materials that sound more suited to high-rise-building construction than to the human body.

After viewing the disturbing images of this surgery, Joel, a former competitive body builder, drew the line at the knee replacement suggested by his doctor. Joel just wanted to regain some of the active lifestyle he enjoyed before his knee problems set in. It was a chance conversation with a friend that led Joel to explore and find success with a nonsurgical option using his own stem cells.

Joel’s Story

Joel had always been active, a former competitive body builder who’d almost made it to the professional level. After retiring from competition, he still maintained a work-out and training schedule to try and keep in shape. Then, at the age of 50, he started having knee pain, and the next thing he knew, he couldn’t even walk up the stairs. Like many with the sudden onset of arthritic knee pain, this wasn’t how he planned to age. As his quality of life deteriorated, he decided he needed to do something about it. He did what most people would do—he went to the doctor.

The Doctor’s Solution? Pain Medication

Before long, Joel was on pain medication three times a day just to try to get enough relief to get through his daily activities. He felt terrible. He was gaining weight and was short-tempered due to the constant pain. Soon everyone around him noticed a very different man. When the pain medication wasn’t working, and its effects were intolerable, his doctor sent him to an orthopedist.

The Orthopedist’s Solution? Arthroscopic Knee Repair

Like most patients, Joel felt that arthroscopic knee surgery would be the magic wand that would fix his knee problems once and for all, so he underwent a bilateral procedure. During an arthroscopy, two small incisions are made through which a camera and surgical instruments access the knee joint to cut out various parts and pieces of the degenerating knee. Several studies have concluded that routine arthroscopic knee surgery isn’t effective, and, indeed, that was Joel’s experience. Two months later, not only had Joel’s pain not been relieved, it had, in fact, gotten worse. This often happens once the cushioning meniscus and cartilage are removed from the knee in this type of surgery.

The Orthopedist’s New Solution? Gel Injections

Vicosupplementation treatment (gel injection) is the injection of hyaluronic acid into the knee joint. The idea is that the gel-like substance will coat and lubricate the joints and provide for ease of movement and relieve the pain. Joel was given many gel injections to try to conquer his pain, but this also didn’t work. It felt like his knees were floating and unstable, and this made him feel even worse. Prior to this, his activity level was at about 75% of normal, but now, as his pain worsened, his activity level bottomed out at about 5%. He was miserable.

The Orthopedist’s Final Solution? Knee Replacement

After the orthopedist suggested knee replacement, and after so many other shattered hopes following failed treatments and procedures, Joel was cautious and uncertain. He did some online research on knee replacements and was disturbed by the knee replacement pictures of human carpentry that he found. He thought to himself, surely this couldn’t be the only option left? Did he really need a knee replacement? Luck kicked in for Joel when a chance conversation with a friend led him to look into stem cell treatments.

The Successful Solution for Joel? Stem Cell Treatments

Joel soon found Regenexx, and in May and October of 2015, he received our patented stem cell procedure using his own stem cells. As Joel relays above, the procedure was able to improve his function and pain, and within one month, Joel was off the pain medication. Six weeks later, he began working out again and he was finally able to again experience that welcome endorphin rush! He now has no limitations, is fully active, and has returned to the Joel everyone knew before pain took control of his life.

The upshot? A chance conversation helped Joel reclaim his active lifestyle without the invasive surgery that was planned. Had Joel undergone the knee replacement he didn’t actually need, he might still be in pain and still be on medications. Additionally, he might still not be able to perform the activities he loves despite having a knee replacement. Why? The most common pain score after a knee replacement surgery has healed is a startling 5 out of 10!

Are you considering a knee replacement? Or are you just now starting to experience knee pain, and you’re wondering what your next step should be? Perhaps this article is that chance conversation for you.

To find out if you might be a candidate for a Regenexx stem cell procedure, complete our Regenexx Procedure Candidate Form online.

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14 thoughts on “Knee Replacement Pictures Scary? You’re Not the Only One

  1. Robert Boehlert

    Am interested in having this done. What percentage is the failure rate.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Robert,
      What joint are you thinking of having treated?

  2. lolita arienza

    My left knee is terribly painful 2 doctors advised me to undergo. Knee replacement but I’m hesitant I prefer stem cell therapy how much does it cost it might be too costly I might not be able to afford it but its yr only remedy that could restore he strength of my knee and relieve the pain

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Lolita,
      We do several different types of procedures on knees. Has your doctor told you what he thinks is the cause of your knee pain?

  3. LOUIS GAUTHIER

    I am bone on bone in right knee,also have osteoarthritis, can stem cell treatment provide cushioning I need?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Louis,
      That’s a very common situation for our patients to present with. http://www.regenexx.com/blog/stem-cells-and-bone-on-bone-arthritis/ http://www.regenexx.com/blog/osteoarthritis-pain-not-related-to-structure-again/ If you’d like to find out if you’re a good Regenexx Candidate, fill out the Candidate Form on this page: http://www.regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/knee-surgery-alternative/

  4. Simone

    Louis . that was my situation bone to bone on my left knee , I have a complete knee replacement on my rith knee 5 years ego , I wis I know regenexx at this time I’m still having a lot pain time to time as my left knee a have the stem cell donw in August 2015 as to today I’m very happy with the procedure . That rely painfull for the firt day . But very much worthted Good luck to you .simone

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Simone,
      Having had a total knee replacement on one knee, and a Regenexx stem cell procedure on the other puts you in a unique position to evaluate the effects of both. So glad that you are doing so well, and thanks for sharing your experience with Louis!

  5. Gary baillio

    The article about Joel suggests there were two procedures. One in May and the other in Oct. was this in fact two stem cell procedures? Just wondering if in his case it may have been necessary to have it done twice?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Gary,
      The caption at the end of the Video says that “In May and October of 2015 Joel Sarette received the patented procedure using his own stem cells called Regenexx”. I will inquire as to whether that was one procedure on each knee, or two procedures on one knee.

  6. Neville White

    I hear lots of great stories from people who recently had the stem cell procedure. I would like to here from people 3 to 5 years out from the procedure. Are there any long term studies and what are the results.

    thanks
    Neville

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Nelville,
      Regenexx has the largest Registry of Orthopedic Stem Cell patients that exists. All patients are contacted at predetermined time points for years with questions regarding their recovery, pain and function, the answers are analyzed by our biostatistician and the registry data continues to guide research. If you click on “Research” on the menu across the top of the Regenexx website http://www.regenexx.com , you will see links to “Research Overview” (our peer reviewed published studies), Current Clinical Trials, and “Procedure Outcomes and Safety Data”. We also have Regenexx patients who have approached us and asked to be available to people who would like to speak to people who have had Regenexx procedures. If you would like to speak to someone, or there is a particular procedure you are interested in learning more about, please let us know.

  7. Mike Nelli

    I’ve watched an entire two hour surgical knee replacement video. Definitely not for the squeamish.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Mike,
      Agree! Surgically removing a huge joint like a knee, and inserting a metal prosthesis is an incredibly radical step when the vast majority of knees can be saved!

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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