Severe Shoulder Arthritis Stem Cell Update: I’m Blown Away

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When I first met John at our licensed Grand Cayman advanced stem cell site, I was amazed that he could still work out. Here was a guy with such severe shoulder arthritis that he had surgeons sharpening their knives, wanting to replace both joints. Despite this, somehow he was trying to work out, but was struggling. Thirteen months later, a video arrived in my e-mail inbox showing him tearing through big weights. I was dumbfounded. So let’s take a look at John’s shoulder’s this morning.

Shoulder Arthritis and Stem Cell Treatment

I’ve always been very impressed with some of the results we’ve seen through the years with shoulder rotator cuff tears and arthritis. Back in 2015, we published on almost 200 patients who we had treated with a same-day bone marrow stem cell procedure for either a rotator cuff tear, shoulder arthritis, or both. The results were very good:

shoulder stem cell research

Since then, we’ve been in the middle of a randomized controlled trial in patients with rotator cuff tears. Compared to physical therapy, the results have also been excellent:

shoulder rotator cuff research RCT

Hence, after treating hundreds of patients with shoulder arthritis, John came to the right place, with the world’s largest experience in stem cell injections used to treat shoulder arthritis. However, there was a real concern about whether this would work, let me explain.

Learn about Regenexx procedures for rotator cuff conditions.

The Story of John’s Shoulders

I first met John in the summer of 2016. I was staffing our licensed, advanced stem cell treatment center in Grand Cayman that month, and John was there for his reinjection of culture-expanded stem cells. When I looked at his MRIs and X-rays, he had end-stage shoulder arthritis from a lifetime of heavy weight lifting. He also had adhesive capsulitis, meaning that his range of motion was very poor because the shoulder capsules had “shrink-wrapped” around the joint due to chronic inflammation. His bone spurs were massive, and he didn’t have much cartilage left. Finally, his rotator cuff tendons were a mess. Given the severity of all of this, I wasn’t overly optimistic we could help, but I was willing to try.

He was flared up that day and had been for the past month. His bone spurs were so epic that a simple capsular distension procedure (injecting advanced platelet lysate into the joint to stretch it out to provide better range of motion) had flared him up. This was because the bone spurs weren’t allowing normal range of motion to take place.

The treatment in Grand Cayman consisted of several injections:

  • High-dose stem cells in both large shoulder and AC joints with fluoroscopic guidance
  • Stem cell-enhanced PRP to inject all of his rotator cuff tendons on both sides with ultrasound guidance
  • The same stem cell/PRP solution to inject his biceps tendons with ultrasound guidance

John’s recovery was slow. I spoke to him at one point about getting his bone spurs removed surgically, but the surgeon had told him that he wouldn’t perform this procedure because he really needed shoulder replacements. Hence, after the first six months or so postinjection, I lost track of him. That was until this week when I got the video you see above.

Where Is John Now?

This past week I got an e-mail from John where he sent the video and wrote, “As far as pain and comfort, I would say I am 80% better. 13 months ago, my quality of life was at zero, having pain turning on the ignition in my car. Now I can do all of the little things like that with no pain, and can sleep better on my side also.
I still have some problems, but am miles farther along than I was a year ago.”

The upshot? I am impressed with John’s ability to lift like this despite his severe shoulder arthritis. Those bone spurs have never been removed, but they don’t seem to be bothering him much. While the effects took a while to kick in (six months at least), the results blew me away. Just goes to show you that our modern orthopedic model, focused on structure and hell-bent on removing bone spurs and joints is likely ridiculously wrong.

The Regenexx-C procedure is not approved by the USFDA and is only offered in countries via license where culture-expanded autologous cells are permitted via local regulations. 

Join us for a free Regenexx Shoulder Webinar
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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