Stem Cell Clinic Graft Is Reaching Epic Levels

By Chris Centeno, MD /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

stem cell clinic schemes

This week, while down in Grand Cayman helping patients with our state-of-the-art culture-expanded stem cell procedure using state-of-the-art imaging and advanced interventional orthopedics techniques to take and place cells, for just a few hours, I questioned whether I should stop alerting consumers to the problematic stem cell clinic schemes I see pop up every day. Should the blog instead be purely informational, only highlighting new research studies and patient results? I slept on it and awoke to a new level of graft—stem cell providers who don’t offer anything like our technology and procedures stealing our before and after MRIs!

How Did We Get Here?

So far I’ve seen the following stem cell clinic problems that consumers need to be wary of:

  1. The Research Bait and Switch—Websites that appear to have a bunch of published research listed, but when you dig just a little deeper, all or almost all of the research has nothing to do with the stem cell types used in the clinic.
  2. The Insta-Expert—A provider claims to be a stem cell expert, but once you dig deeper, he or she meets none of the established criteria for same (i.e., research expertise and publications) and basically took a weekend course.
  3. The Insta-tute—A clinic that claims to be a stem cell institute, or similar lofty sounding nomenclature, but would meet none of the criteria for same. No research is being conducted, no young physicians are being taught, and no expertise is being demonstrated. It’s just a name slapped on a doctor’s office.
  4. The Cure-All Clinic—The clinic lists 20–40 different incurable or chronic diseases that it treats, usually with IV stem cells, when very little evidence exists that most of these diseases will respond to stem cells.
  5. Fake Stem Cells R Us—These clinics advertise the miracles of “amniotic stem cells” with one little teeny, weeny, itsy, bitsy problem—the stuff they’re injecting doesn’t have a living cell in it! Yep, while amniotic fluid may or may not help your pain, it isn’t a stem cell therapy. However, without calling it a stem cell therapy, they would have few paying customers.
  6. The Fake Stem Cell Fellowship—While a real medical fellowship requires 1–3 years of dedication as a student getting paid to learn and thousands of hours of work, these physicians have paid for a single or a series of weekend courses and advertise that they are “fellowship trained.” Are they really? Nope…

Now I get to add a new one! The imaging bait and switch!

Understanding Why the Imaging Bait and Switch is a Problem

In order to get to replicable results, we do the following:

  1. We hand select providers who know interventional guided procedures. This means we turn away about 8 in 10 interested doctors because they don’t have the base training to do this well. So no gastroenterologists or plastic surgeons injecting knees!
  2. We train those providers on our specific procedures using cadaver courses and supplemental videos. The injection-mastery list is some 80 items long (i.e., 80 separate procedures need to be mastered and demonstrated to us before a provider is Regenexx certified in all body areas). We take this seriously. As an example, I recently flunked one provider after that physician couldn’t demonstrate to me competence in performing specific procedures. That provider was dropped off the network.
  3. This specific high grade rotator cuff Regenexx protocol is very technically difficult and involves many non-intuitive steps.
  4. We all use the same advanced processing protocols that benefit from continual improvements through Regenexx lab research. Very few of these unique biologics can be replicated outside of our network.

Those Look Like Regenexx Images!

The images below were noticed on several identical looking web-sites this past week. They are our images of shoulder rotator cuff tears before and after a very specific protocol of the Regenexx-SD procedure. How did our patient’s MRI images make it onto web-sites offering everything from amniotic dead cell therapy to IV fat stem cell snake oil? Read on…

Rotator-Cuff-Surgery1

stem-cell-rotator-cuff

When I saw these images of our patient’s before/after shoulder rotator cuff tears, I was a bit dumbfounded for the following reasons:

  1. The physicians who had pilfered the images would never make it into our network. They don’t have the requisite training to perform advanced interventional orthopedics.
  2. The physicians haven’t been trained in our techniques to take and place stem cells using precise imaging guidance.
  3. The clinics don’t use the same cell technologies. Most of what’s being used at these clinics bears no resemblance to what we treated these patients with at our clinic.

The Ethics Behind Claiming a Patient Result as Your Own

So if you don’t have the skill set to match the procedure being performed and don’t use the same technology, is it OK to make patient’s believe that the before and after MRI images are your own? Of course not! First, everything on our site is copyrighted, but putting that one detail aside for the moment, these sites at the very least needed to make patients aware that the results being shown didn’t use their technology. Think of it this way: the car dealer shows you an image of a Ferrari, but he’s really selling a Ford Fiesta!

Who is Behind the Unauthorized and Improper Use of these Images?

Once we tracked down why our shoulder rotator cuff images landed on several different web-sites hawking inferior and at times fake stem cell therapies, the origin of the unauthorized use didn’t disappoint. Turns out that a physician who is a full time businessman and who runs a lead generation network is responsible. What’s that? A marketing company for physician practices that has recently entered the stem cell space.

This brings up an interesting new twist for consumers seeking stem cell treatments. We’ve seen similar advertising schemes before, the biggest issue being that little time and energy goes into screening physicians for specific qualifications or training and patients are usually blind to who will treat them until they at least put down a deposit. In addition, looking at this network a panoply of different technologies is being employed-IV fat stem cells, bone marrow and fat same day procedures, dead amniotic tissue, etc… For each of these, different protocols are also used.

This type of network only works for patients if they believe that a stem cell is a stem cell and a doctor is a doctor when it comes to these therapies. Given the diverse background of the doctors who have our image on their page and the fact that some of them have no clear expertise in interventional orthopedics and that none of them would make it onto our Regenexx network as well as none of them use our advanced technology, buyer beware!

The upshot? I think this Godfather quote is apt: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” Just when I thought I could go back to just blogging about cool stem cell and orthopedic stuff, the explosion in ethically challenged stem cell clinics hits a new low. At this point, a vigilant and educated consumer is what’s needed!

Category: Latest News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 thoughts on “Stem Cell Clinic Graft Is Reaching Epic Levels

  1. stef

    To become a doctor you are supposed to be really smart… How come regenexx is so difficult for these folks ?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Stef,
      To even be even considered to become a Regenexx provider you need very high level interventional injection experience, as well as be at the top of your field in many other areas. http://www.regenexx.com/blog/our-network-providers-are-highly-trained/

  2. Sandy O'donnell

    Sounds like a dilemma! As for me, I will only go where I have tread before! I feel that these “confused”physicians will only make problems for the truly qualified! I am grateful as grateful can be that YOU and your original staff are there when I need you!

    1. Regenexx Team

      Sandy,
      Thanks for the kinds words; we’ll definitely be there! lt is a dilemma as all we can do is get the facts out there…

  3. plastic working machines demag

    You need to participate in a contest for the most effective blogs on the web. I’ll recommend this site!

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Thanks, glad you’ve enjoyed them!

  4. Tommy

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but
    after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found
    it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Tommy,
      We recently launched our new website, so you might have indeed been to the old Regenexx website. But either way, glad you found us!

  5. Leonard

    I believe this is one of the so much vital info for me.
    And i am glad studying your article. But wanna commentary on few normal things, The
    web site style is perfect, the articles is in point of fact great
    : D. Excellent activity, cheers

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Thanks Leonard! Cheers!

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.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

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.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

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.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

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.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

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.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

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.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.