Long-term Outcome of Knee Stem Cell Injections: The Effect of Multiple Prior Knee Surgeries

by Chris Centeno, MD /

knee stem cell injectionsRW is a very active gentleman with chronic right knee pain in his mid-fifties who was first seen at our Colorado clinic in 2008. That knee had been injured 18 years earlier and had undergone multiple surgeries including a failed micro fracture surgery. Prior to the micro fracture surgery in 2007, he had multiple HGH injections under ultrasound guidance in Florida, until that approach no longer seemed to be helping. These shots generally gave him shorter term relief toward the end of the series. His right knee MRI showed a 7 mm defect in the cartilage in the trochlear groove. The patient ultimately received several Regenexx-C stem cell injections into the right knee trochear groove cartilage lesion with his last being approximately 1.5 years ago. He also eventually had his more severely degenerated left knee (which was scarred from 7 surgeries) treated with Regenexx-C knee stem cell injections as well. After these treatments he was able to return to bending, squatting, climbing stairs, and other sports that he avoided prior to the procedure. He was even able to participate in high level Pilates until he recently re-injured the surgically scarred left knee by flexing it too deeply (likely tearing some of the scarred knee joint capsule). While the less operated right knee is still doing well without symptoms, he ultimately required a debridement surgery on his left knee to clean out the scarring from the multiple past surgeries. He’s now back in our clinic to get the left knee re-treated with stem cells using the Regenexx-SD procedure. RW illustrates a few things about knee stem cell inections. First, knees with more surgical history are less likely to achieve long-term results (the right knee which has had less knee surgery is still doing very well, while the left knee with 7 prior surgeries didn’t enjoy as prolonged an effect). I’ve blogged on this issue in the past. In addition, now that RW has reached the 1.5 year mark for significant improvement in his right knee, he’s well beyond the effects of other injection based treatments such as steroid shots or hyaluronic acid injections (SynVisc, OrthoVisc, Euflexa, Hyalgan, etc…) In addition, the right knee had already failed a  surgical micro fracture procedure. In this patient, we were able to provide prolonged relief of pain and increased activity without the need for another surgery. Instead of a more invasive procedure, RW just had a series of injections of his own stem cells into his knees.

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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Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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