Stem Cell Clinic Reviews: Perception vs. Reality

by Chris Centeno, MD /

stem cell clinic reviews

A while back, I booked a hotel room and learned a lot about the differences between the real deal and a copy of a copy. The hotel room looked great in the pictures, so I excitedly booked it online. When we got there, perception and reality were quite different. The really hip furniture that looked great online, turned out to be badly executed and flimsy. It was clear that the whole experience had been crafted to look great in a photograph. Once we laughed about it, it stuck in my craw that night that I had somehow missed the mark on this one.

In many ways, this lesson also applies to stem cell clinic reviews. This became clear this week, when I evaluated a patient who had his knee treated with a same day stem cell treatment at a university. The treatment didn’t work.

Orthopedic Stem Cell Clinics and Treatments – Good vs. Great

When I began to ask questions about what the other doctor did, it wasn’t long before I heard the first serious problem. The copy treatment had shorted this gentleman in the number of cells harvested. Rather than trying to maximize the number of stem cells taken from his bone marrow by drawing small volumes of cells from 3 – 5 sites on each side of his pelvis, the doctor had taken larger volumes from only three sites on one side.

We’ve known since the 1990s that drawing smaller volumes from more bone marrow sites maximizes the number of stem cells. Our own internal research has confirmed this many times. Why didn’t this university physician know this? He had taken a weekend course on stem cells from the manufacturer of the automated bedside centrifuge that he used and the instructor (who I know) never bothered to educate himself in the published literature.

The next critical error during his university stem cell procedure was to inject both knees without knowing the dose of what was being injected. Why was this an issue? Our recently published research showed that there should be a minimum total number of cells injected into each knee from the isolated bone marrow. However, this university physician didn’t have the capability to count the number of cells that were available. Based on our proprietary processing technique, which extracts many more stem cells from the bone marrow than an automated bedside centrifuge can muster, the likelihood of a patient his age having enough cells for a bilateral knee injection is only 21%. This means there’s about an 8 in 10 chance that his knees received too few cells to produce the desired results. This was of course compounded by the fact that the draw technique described above reduced the number of stem cells that were in the sample before it was even processed by the machine.

There were many more little things, like the fact that a pre-injection wasn’t used, or that the procedure was performed in an exam room, rather than a formal procedure room with fluoroscopy and ultrasound capabilities like the four we have in Colorado and around the Regenexx Network.

The upshot? This patient had visited someone who I consider to be a good and solid medical provider, and who is more knowledgeable about PRP and stem cells than most of the doctors out there who are performing these procedures. Despite that, there are stark differences between what a Regenexx provider does to maximize the likelihood of a successful outcome and what was done for this patient. While I can’t guarantee this patient a successful outcome from his Regenexx procedure, I can absolutely assure him afterwards that everything that we can do in 2016 to maximize his procedure outcome has been done.

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56 thoughts on “Stem Cell Clinic Reviews: Perception vs. Reality

  1. David Davenport

    Is this university physician located in Atlanta, by any chance?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      David,
      We deliberately did not give any identifying info:)

  2. Doug Gray

    My problem is a every site I visit spends a lot of time criticizing their competition how on earth do I figure out who is the real deal. I’m more confused now than when I started researching this procedure . My doctor keeps pushing me to another knee replacement although I feel my first one is failing after only 4 years. I really hope.stem cells will work better on my other knee.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Doug,
      We can understand your frustration! As the practice who first used stem cells to treat orthopedic injury and conditions in the country, and who has published 33% of the world’s research on the use of bone marrow stem cells in orthopedics, it is more concerning than frustrating to see websites popping up out of nowhere offering treatments like amniotic stem cells which contain no live anything, and clinics offering treatment by doctors who took weekend courses and see this as a business opportunity who don’t have anywhere near adequate training. These will be helpful: http://www.regenexx.com/blog/stem-cell-experts-bending-reality/ http://www.regenexx.com/blog/does-your-stem-cell-doctor-know-what-hes-doing/ A good resource is the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation: http://www.interventionalorthopedics.org. Here is how we treat knees, you will find links there to outcome data, etc. http://www.regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/knee-surgery-alternative/ Here is the link to our Research page: http://www.regenexx.com/stem-cell-research/

  3. Beth

    Why do you get the stem cells from bone marrow instead of from fat? I was told that you can get a lot more stem cells from fat than from bone marrow.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Beth,
      I’d love to be able to tell you that’s true, but it’s simply not. The stem cell count in fat is higher, but it’s about the type of stem cells, and the stem cell count for stem cells that are in any way useful for orthopedic issues, is geometrically lower. http://www.regenexx.com/blog/new-stem-cells-found-bone-marrow/http://www.regenexx.com/blog/new-stem-cells-found-bone-marrow/ http://www.regenexx.com/blog/fat-vs-bone-marrow-stem-cells-2/http://www.regenexx.com/blog/fat-vs-bone-marrow-stem-cells-2/

  4. Edmond Bell

    Why my medecare is not taken for Stemcell i am 80 years old and > need this is not fair to old people

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Edmond,
      Generally Medicare follows insurance, and unfortunately the Insurance Industry does not cover stem cell procedures. It would make so much more sense both medically and financially for people to have access to them rather than joint replacements.

  5. Dawn Branson

    How or what do the stem cells do to heal the joint area. Hip or knee. This is the part I don’t understand.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Dawn,
      Your body is designed to repair itself daily. Osteoarthritis occurs when the local stem cells in a joint can no longer do their repair jobs effectively and a “catabolic joint stew” begins to breakdown tissue. Regenexx stem cell procedures correct this chemical environment and bring a whole new set of repairmen to the situation. This explains more thoroughly: http://www.regenexx.com/stem-cell-cartilage-regeneration/

  6. Erik Zetterberg

    I would like to follow up on the question that Beth asked on Jan 13th;

    Why are Bone Marrow stem cells better than Adipose derived stem cells? The cell count gained from fat is much higher than bone marrow and with the new fat separation techniques used, the fat MS cells can be quite useful for cartilage and spinal disc repair. At least this is what I hear. What position does Regenexx take on this?

    I am in the Market for stem cell therapy.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Erik,
      I’d love to be able to tell you that’s true, but it’s simply not. The stem cell count in fat is higher, but it’s about the type of stem cells, and the stem cell count for stem cells that are in any way useful for orthopedic issues, is geometrically lower. http://www.regenexx.com/blog/new-stem-cells-found-bone-marrow/ http://www.regenexx.com/blog/fat-vs-bone-marrow-stem-cells-2/

  7. Jackie Adams

    Please provide a list of good Regenex clinics in the Chicago area.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Jackie,
      There are two Regenexx Providers in the Chicago area: Dr. Siddharth Tambar, MD at http://www.chicagoarthritis.com/, and Dr. Mitch Sheinkop, MD who treats hips and knees exclusively, at http://www.sheinkopmd.com/.

  8. Fred

    I performed prolotheraphy on my shoulder but did not heal my problem.
    Same Doctor went to a weekend course and now offers Prp, but reading your article gives me second thought going back to him.
    Can you please recommend a few doctors in Los Angeles, and Orange County California, please?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Fred,
      Sure! There is a Regenexx provider right in Los Angeles: http://www.healthlinkcenter.com/, and several others in California. Here is the Interactive Regenexx provider list: http://www.regenexx.com/find-a-physician/

  9. Glenda

    I am 66 and already had knee replacement in both knees, also hip replacement. I don’t want any more surgeries. Now my shoulder is in constant pain, I see my orthopedic doctor every 3 months for injections, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I have no cartiledge in my shoulder and he want to do replacement. i am scared to death. My friend is having the Regenexx proceedure in a few months in NY. I do not understand why Medicare will pay for replacement but not pay for Stem Cell – Regenexx. I want more info and a doctor in St Pete or Tampa Florida area. thank you

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Glenda,
      At some point, the majority of orthopedic surgeries done today will be replaced by needle based procedures like stem cells. But for now, here is some information on our Shoulder procedures: http://www.regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/shoulder-surgery-alternative/ Be sure to submit the Candidate form so we can see if this would be a good fit for your situation.

  10. Ed

    I need some treament for my left knee, a replacement is 100% out of question, i’d rather deal with the pain,
    What is average cost out of pocket for stem cell treatment for my knee

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Ed,
      Agree, joint replacement should only ever be considered when all other options have been tried and failed. The cost varies, based on what needs to be done. Let’s start by taking a look at what’s going on with your knee, and then we would know whether you’re a Candidate for a procedure, and what procedure or procedures would be necessary in your case. Submitting the Candidate form will allow you to upload your MRI’s, medical history, and have an in depth discussion with one of our Physicians. You’ll find the Candidate form here: http://www.regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/knee-surgery-alternative/

  11. Farshad

    I’m in Toronto. Is there a clinic around for Regenxx stem cell?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Farshad,
      Unfortunately, there are no Regenexx Locations in Canada, but here is the Interactive list to find the closest to you: http://www.regenexx.com/find-a-physician/

  12. Farshad

    Is it safe to get the second injection if any failure in the first time?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Farshad,
      Yes. As long as the appropriate amount of time has passed between Bone Marrow Aspirations if stem cells are being used.

  13. Jennie Braun

    I am facing hip replacement in Apr. will this treatment fix a hip that is bone on bone! And is there a clinic in Sarasota, Fl. I have family there that cloud give a hand after the procedure.
    I live in Wi and I know there is one in Il. Does this really last the first time or another procedure must be done at a latter time? I need to know about this very soon.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Jennie,

      If your hip is actually bone on bone, meaning you have very severe hip arthritis, it’s unlikely that the same day stem cell procedure would be enough, and the Cultured procedure only done in Grand Cayman, would likely be needed. However, hip replacements are often recommended when not necessary,”bone on bone” is often used loosely, and back issues gone undiagnosed can negatively affect hip replacement outcome. An exam to look into those issues would leave no stone unturned. Here are the locations where that type of exam is given: http://www.regenexx.com/find-a-physician/ Please see: http://www.regenexx.com/hip-replacement-back-pain/

  14. Randall Martin

    If the knee is clearly bone on bone, then what?

  15. Matt shah

    Is stem cell therapy appropriate for herniated/ bulging disc. What is ur rate of success if u have done this procedure thanks

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Matt,
      Yes, in the right cases. Please see: http://www.regenexx.com/can-day-stem-cell-procedure-reduce-disc-bulge-size/ and http://www.regenexx.com/blog/stem-cell-disc-treatment/ To see if you’d be a good Candidate, please submot the Candidate form.

  16. Denise

    Do you know any Drs who are treating Chronic Lyme nuero issues with stem cells in the Midwest? I know it is a pretend disease but let’s just pretend it is real for the sake of the question.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Denise,
      Sorry, no we don’t, but this is an area where caution is needed. There are some great forums where patients share what has and hasn’t worked. If we hear of anything worth looking into, we will contact you.

  17. Dave

    So, Boom! My doc in FL last week had me get an X-ray and MRI on my right knee due to pain in the medial area of the right knee. “Mildly complex tearing including vertical and oblique tear components of the miniscus!” Osteoarthritis yes! I read somewhere on this site that age is a limiting factor in providing viable stem cells. I’m 68. My neighbor up in Breck, where I spend my time, had the procedure done in Denver at least 5+ years ago and while he was told he would need a total replacement by others your procedure worked! At 68, can you harvest enough stem cells or am I headed to elsewhere? Miniscus? I can ride a bike all day no pain but impact is no bueno. Too old?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Dave,
      No, you’re definitely not too old for a knee procedure, and there shouldn’t be a problem in harvesting enough stem cells. There are also things patients can do to improve your stem cells before a procedure. We have Provider in Florida, and depending on your distance from them, you can either submit the Candidate form on their website to establish Candidacy first, or if you’re local you can call to set up an exam to establish Candidacy and bring your MRI. Please see: http://newregenortho.com/ and https://regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/knee-surgery-alternative/

  18. Carol Finley

    Do you have good regenexx provider near Philadelphia, Pa

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Carol,
      Here is the Interactive Regenexx Provider Location link. There is one less than 15 miles away, but several in the general area. Check what body areas are listed to the right of the Clinic name. Please see: https://regenexx.com/find-a-physician/

  19. Shawn Lord

    I have had shots in my knee and the pain just about go away hours after the shot? How long will it take for Regenexx to work?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Shawn,
      It depends on what type of treatment is done – this is not a one size fits all type of procedure. What type of shots have you had in your knee?

  20. M.Renderos

    Is there a regenexx in los Angeles and las Vegas?
    Do they numb the knee or put the patient to sleep?
    Where can I find cost?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      M. Renderos,

      Yes, We do. Here is Regenexx Las Vegas: https://regenexxlasvegas.com/ and our Los Angeles Regenexx Provider is Healthlink Center http://www.healthlinkcenter.com/ Generally, we use a specific local anesthetic which does not negatively affect stem cells. Other options are available if needed. The cost depends on what type of procedures are needed in your particular case.

  21. Michael Paul

    Is there a regenexx in Toronto, Canada?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Michael,
      Unfortunately, we don’t have any Regenexx locations in Canada, but we do have Canadian patients who travel to the US for treatment. Please see: https://regenexx.com/find-a-physician/

  22. Joseph McColl

    I have a torn labrum in my hip, am very active, cycle, hike, ski, fly fish. My hip is causing me to not enjoy these activities at the same level before the tear. I am 62 years old and in great shape. My orthopedic surgeon said this may be an option but the success ratio was not great. I really don’t want to have surgery! Have you had success with hip labral tears?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Joseph,
      Yes, we treat Hip Labrum Tears regularly. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/hip-labrum-tear-stem-cell/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/hip-labrum-stem-cell-procedure/

  23. Judy Miller

    How do you know that the stem cell goes only to the knee or joint needing repair and not to some of the organs?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Judy,

      That’s not an issue with Regenexx treatment, as we use imaging guidance to get the stem cells precisely where they are needed, as they need to be in contact with the injury. It could however be a valid concern with other types of stem cell treatments, especially those administered by IV. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/let-us-know-think-new-regenexx-difference-video/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/orthopedic-stem-cell-treatment/

  24. M Rahman

    My wife has been recommended to receive shoulder replacement surgery. Her MRI results state: “Mild acromioclavicular joint degenerative changes. Severe glenohumeral joint degenerative changes are noted characterized by near complete loss of articular cartilage, subchondral edema, subscondral cystic change and osteophyte formation.
    The long head of the biceps tendon is well situated within the bicipital groove. Diffuse glenoid labral degenerative changes and deformity are noted with probable tearing inferiorly. A small joint effusion is seen with synovial thickening.
    There is mild supraspinatus, infraspinatus and subscapularis teninosis.
    X-Rays taken yesterday indicate “Rather severe degenerative change at the shoulder between the humerus and the glenoid. Mild AC joint degenerative changes.
    Is stem cell therapy suitable to treat her condition instead of shoulder replacement surgery? If not in the US, is stem cell therapy more advanced in other countries?
    Thank you.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      M Rahman,

      All joint replacement should be the last resort after all conservative measures are tried first, as they are irreversible. Shoulder replacement outcomes are among the worst of all the major joints. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/shoulder-replacement-recovery-rotator-cuff-damage/ An MRI is a static picture and not enough to make treatment decisions, especially joint replacement. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/can-treat-severe-shoulder-arthritis-injection/ https://regenexx.com/blog/shoulder-labral-tear-surgery-pros-cons/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/watch-advanced-image-guided-injection-shoulder-step-procedure-suite-dr-schultz/. If you would like to see if your wife is a Candidate for a Procedure, please submit the candidate form

  25. Bill

    Hi,

    I have a complex tear on the posterior horn of my medial meniscus on my right knee. I had an MRI and one ortho doc said he would need to shave off the tear and couldn’t repair since not enough blood supply to heal that area. I went to another ortho who said he could repair it and would use Amniotic stem cell injection at the repair site to aid in the healing. I’m 52 year young male in good shape who plays league tennis (how I tore it). Is Regenexx something better to consider or is repair surgery a better option? I’m in the Irvine, CA. area Thx.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Bill,
      Meniscus surgery and removing any part of the meniscus is a net negative, and, none of the amniotic “stem cell” products we’ve tested, and have had others re-test have contained any live or viable stem cells. Avoiding the lifetime of issues created by removing, cleaning up, shaving off, etc. sections of the meniscus, and instead, getting your own stem cells to the area in precise image guided injections has the greatest potential. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/orthopedic-stem-cell-treatment/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/should-i-get-meniscus-surgery/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/can-you-treat-a-meniscus-tear-without-surgery/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/meniscus-tear-treated-with-stem-cells-rather-than-surgery/ and https://regenexx.com/results/before-and-after-mri-library/knee-mri/

  26. Sandra Diaz

    Am interested to know if there any providers on the Ohio area was told I need both knees replaced and would like to avoid this

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Sandra,
      There are 2 Regenexx Providers in Ohio and one not too much further in Pittsburgh – just put in your City and State or Zipcode. Please see: https://regenexx.com/find-a-physician/ and https://regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/knee-surgery-alternative/

  27. Joe

    Have you done any procedures on individuals with TMJ problems and if so what was used and what were the success rates? Thanks.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Joe,
      Yes we’ve had good success in the right patients. Since the tmj attempts to stabilize the neck when the neck muscles fail, many patients have both issues. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/stem-cells-help-patient-severe-tmj-issues-chew/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/stem-cells-help-patient-severe-tmj-issues-chew/

  28. Toni Walker

    Could you recommend a clinic near Tampa or Sarasota FL? What area of the body (bones) do you collect the stem cells? I’ve read your entire website and I am convinced this is for me as I will not have knee replacement. I am bone-on-bone in left knee and right knee is not better, I am 72 years young.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Toni,

      Great to hear! We harvest the stem cells from the back of your hip (iliac crest). Yes we do have a Clinic right in Sarasota.https://newregenortho.com Knee replacement wasn’t an option for Demetrios either, and Dr. Lieber in Sarasota treated him Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/knee-arthritis-stem-cell-treatment/

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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