Stem Cells vs. PRP for Severe Shoulder Arthritis-Shoulder Replacement Alternatives?

by Chris Centeno, MD /

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shoulder replacement alternative

Is Regenexx-SD a viable shoulder replacement alternative for the most severe shoulder arthritis patients? JW is a middle aged chiropractor from back east with a severe shoulder problem. The patient had been told for years that he desperately needed a shoulder replacement surgery if he wanted to continue to work. When his nephew (a local chiropractor) called me and asked me to review his films, I was doubtful that we could help his uncle. On these films, JW had severe shoulder joint arthritis with no cartilage and huge bone spurs. In addition, his rotator cuff muscle was severely degenerated with many tears. Basically, saying his shoulder was a mess was an understatement. He had also already tried and failed cortisone, SynVisc shots, and PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections. It should be noted that he didn’t try these things and they worked for awhile, he tried them and had absolutely zero positive benefit. In addition, even strong pain killers did little to help his severe and constant shoulder pain. Since his nephew is a good friend, we agreed to try a Regenexx-SD procedure. We injected his own stem cells under ultrasound guidance into his rotator cuff muscles as well as into his shoulder joints. Here’s JW’s recent e-mail on his response:

“…it’s been four months since I saw you and my ROM is not significantly better.  However, the days that I feel  reasonably pain free have increased.  It’s now rare that I  wish I had some pain meds that would be effective.”

While JW isn’t turning out to be rock star patient, he did have a positive response, his first to any treatment he had tried. We will be moving forward with additional treatments, but I think JW is a good example of what we see clinically in our very severe arthritis patients. Patients like JW (the worst of the worst) can still respond to Regenexx-SD or Regenexx-C, despite having failed multiple other injection treatments like PRP. Some have a complete remission, many will need multiple treatments and get meaningful partial improvement, and some won’t respond. Again, our goal is to set reasonable expectations for patient’s like JW and let them make the choice of whether to proceed.

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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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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