Knee Stem Cells? Is This a Thing? George’s Story

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What’s the deal with knee stem cells and does this procedure work long-term? George is a patient with severe knee arthritis from way back who reached out to report what he experienced after having his own stem cells injected into his knee. Let’s review.

Types of Stem Cell Treatments

There are lots of different types of treatments out there that are called “knee stem cells,” but few involve any actual stem cells. For example, a common one is called an “umbilical cord” stem cell therapy, but this is a scam. Why? Our lab and several others has done this research and shown that the umbilical cord products being used by these clinics contain no actual mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), despite claims to the contrary (1-3). For example, here are the results from a CSU study of 5 umbilical cord products all claiming to contain MSCs:

umbilical cord predictive biotech

Up top, the sterile white circles from the umbilical cord products used by the scam clinics all show no stem cells, which in this test (CFU-f) will show up as purple dots. At the bottom are the bone marrow samples of elderly men and women and note that all of those samples have stem cells (purple dots). Hence, the argument that these scam clinics make that their products contain millions of live and viable stem cells while you’re too old to have many stem cells in your body, is false. In fact, it’s the opposite. Your body has loads of stem cells while the products used by these clinics contain no viable and functional stem cells. Hence, any procedure involving knee stem cells needs to use those found in your body.

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George’s Knee

George was in his 70s when he first saw Dr. Jackson at our Iowa Regenexx clinic.  He had severe “bone on bone” knee arthritis. These are his own words:

“In 2014 I was scheduled to have a partial knee replacement on my right knee. I read an article about stem cells while in Vail. I had Regenexx stem cells followed by PRP on my medial right knee in September 2014. It was followed by PRP…The first set showed bone-on-bone…I have not needed additional PRP or stem cells.”

So how did George fare long-term with his knee stem cells? He reached out to us on Facebook to tell us. Again, in his own words, this is what he can do now:

“I skied the blacks and double diamonds in Breckenridge in February. I had additional PRP at the end of February. I have skied around-300,000 vertical in Colorado every year since until this year when my trip was cut short because of Covid-19. I also road bike over 5,000 miles per year. We try to average 20 mph for 20 plus miles. I have ridden 1,600 miles thus far this year. Most of the miles have been on my smart trainer riding on Zwift because of the weather. I will be 78 in June.”

It should be noted that we also treated George’s low back stenosis in 2018 in Colorado.

The Truth About Knee Replacement?

Many patients considering knee stem cells have been told they need a knee replacement, but what does the research show? The best research to date performed on knee replacement compared that invasive surgery to physical therapy (4). Here are the results:

  • About half of the patients who got knee replacement reported some sort of serious complication
  • About three-quarters of the patients in the physical therapy group decided not to get a knee replacement
  • While the knee replacement group seemed to have better functional improvement than physical therapy using some metrics, in others, there was no difference between the two treatments.
  • The surgeons in the study needed to perform 6 knee replacements before one patient reported that they had at least fifteen percent better function

We also performed a similar randomized trial using bone marrow knee stem cells versus physical therapy, with much better results than were reported by the above study (5).

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Have You Been Told You Need a Knee Replacement?

We have specialist physicians who use knee stem cells instead of joint replacements who can see you via Telemedicine or in-person in their COVID-19 safe clinics. Click below to set up an appointment from the comfort of your own home via Telemedicine using your phone, tablet, or computer:

The upshot? If you’ve been told you need a knee replacement, maybe, like George, you can avoid that huge surgery using knee stem cells instead of amputation of your joint. We have physicians waiting who can see you online, or, in-person to help see if you’re a candidate!



(1) Berger D, Lyons N, Steinmetz, N. In Vitro Evaluation of Injectable, Placental Tissue-Derived Products for Interventional Orthopedics. Interventional Orthopedics Foundation Annual Meeting. Denver, 2015.

(2) Becktell L, Matuska A, Hon S, Delco M, Cole B, Fortier L. Proteomic analysis and cell viability of nine amnion-derived biologics. Orthopedic Research Society Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 2018.

(3) Panero, A, Hirahara, A., Andersen, W, Rothenberg J, Fierro, F. Are Amniotic Fluid Products Stem Cell Therapies? A Study of Amniotic Fluid Preparations for Mesenchymal Stem Cells With Bone Marrow Comparison. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2019 47(5), 1230–1235.

(4) Skou ST, Roos EM, Laursen MB, Rathleff MS, Arendt-Nielsen L, Simonsen O, Rasmussen S. A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Total Knee Replacement. N Engl J Med. 2015 Oct 22;373(17):1597-606. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1505467

(5) Centeno C, Sheinkop M, Dodson E, et al. A specific protocol of autologous bone marrow concentrate and platelet products versus exercise therapy for symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial with 2 year follow-up. J Transl Med. 2018;16(1):355. Published 2018 Dec 13. doi:10.1186/s12967-018-1736-8

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

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

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