Avoiding Knee Replacement and Back Fusion and Still Dancing in the Caribbean

Our orthopedic surgery care system is dangerously broken. Why? Surgeons teach patients to obsess over the structure of their bones, cartilage, and joints to sell surgical procedures that we now know, for the most part, aren’t needed or are barely better than doing nothing. That same “scared into surgery” fate would have befallen Sherry, but after being told that she needed knee replacements and having a low back MRI that would have doomed her to a huge low back fusion, she skipped both surgeries, and here she is dancing in the Caribbean thanks to the expertise of Dr. Hyzy and Regenexx. How did that happen?

The Knee Replacement Game Is About Selling Devices

One of the craziest things in modern medicine is that we have been amputating painful knee joints and inserting metal, ceramic, and plastic devices for decades without a single randomized controlled (RCT) trial showing that this is a good idea. Think about that, because in no other area of medicine outside of the reality distortion field that exists in orthopedic surgery would performing millions of invasive and high-risk surgeries be tolerated without strong evidence of efficacy.

In fact, as I have blogged recently, we now know that research has shown that knee replacement has been deemed to be NOT cost-effective in most cases for which it’s being done. Meaning that only patients with severe functional issues (I can’t walk around the mall) benefit. In addition, that RCT? It was finally done, and the results were pitiful. See my video below for more details:

Regenexx Updates in Your Inbox

Join our free newsletter.
Join the Regenexx Newsletter
Subscribe to Blog

The Lumbar Fusion Game Is About Selling Devices

If you thought that the fact that we were amputating knee joints without much evidence was bad, meet lumbar fusion. While there are a few patients that actually need this surgery to bolt together backbones, they are few and far between. Most patients who don’t need this surgery get talked into it because physical therapy or steroid shots don’t work. After the surgery, the ones that don’t get some awful complication from the procedure soon find out that while one problem was fixed, they now have a new one developing. This is called adjacent segment disease. To learn more, please see my video below:

The King Is Dead, Long Live the King

Orthopedic surgery has been the dominant way to treat patients with musculoskeletal pain who don’t respond to physical therapy. However, from what we’ve seen over the last decade and a half, regenerative medicine combined with expert education on how to place cells and platelets into the precise area of orthopedic damage (interventional orthopedics) can replace about 70% of all elective orthopedic surgeries. These patients who would otherwise get surgery can now avoid it for less cost and far less invasiveness and downtime. To learn more about interventional orthopedics, see my video below:

Learn about Regenexx procedures for knee conditions.

Sherry’s Knees and Back

Sherry, by all traditional surgical metrics, needed bilateral knee replacement surgery. She has what’s called “tricompartmental” arthritis, which means it’s in all three parts of the knee joint. The same holds true for her back. She has arthritis pinching nerves (stenosis), degenerative discs, and arthritic facet joints, so she’s also a fusion candidate. But Sherry knew from her research (she’s a published author) that there was another way without exposing her to the serious risks of these procedures.

Dr. Hyzy performed a bone marrow stem cell procedure using her own cells last year. She’s also had two DDD procedures where the area around her irritated nerves (epidural), arthritic facet joints, withered stabilizing muscles, and lax ligaments were injected with her own platelets and growth factors. This is her report of what’s happening as a result of her procedures:

“THANK YOU DR. HYZY AND CENTENO-SCHULTZ CLINIC!  Six weeks ago I was in horrible back pain (5 s1- S1) with two pinched nerves, and had trouble walking. On April 23rd, Dr. Hyzy and his team treated my back so my husband and I were able to go on a cruise to the Southern Caribbean for a much needed vacation. On May 11th, without back pain, I was able to walk through all the airports, went everywhere on the cruise ship, went on two island excursions and danced with my husband, including Motown Disco night, almost every night!  In Curasao, I was pulled onto the stage (picture) to dance a historic custom dance with the locals and did great. Not bad for a 70 year old lady and you, Dr. Hyzy and Centeno-Schultz made it possible! You are truly a God-send and I am so thankful for you!”

The upshot? Most of the elective orthopedic surgery happening today is unnecessary and can be replaced by interventional orthopedics using regenerative medicine. For Sherry, that meant avoiding three huge surgical procedures and still dancing in the Caribbean!

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

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at info@regenexx.com

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.

livechat button