The Blind Leading the Blind: Stem Cells placed in a Knee without Guidance

By /

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

interventional orthopedics

We’re advocates for specialty care when stem cells are used for orthopedic injuries. We practice an evolving specialty we call “Interventional Orthopedics” which involves the use of precise imaging guidance for the placement of advanced biologic therapies using new and novel tools. The goal of all of this is to reduce the need for arthroscopic or open surgeries which in turn reduces recovery time and speeds healing. As this new specialty grows, we’ve become concerned about patients being treated for musculoskeletal injuries by non-specialists or using any number of dangerous stem cell processing methods. A patient we just saw in clinic this week only highlights this growing problem. The patient had a patello-femoral problem with arthritis and went to see a physician on the West coast who stated he was a specialist in stem cells. The patient should have been tipped off by the fact that the physician proported by be able to treat everything from Alzheimers to macular degeneration to Multiple Sclerosis with stem cells. The physician then proceeded to place the stem cells using a blind injection behind the patella (meaning he used no guidance, so the cells could have gone anywhere). This is ill-advised, as we always tell patients that stem cells need to be placed with high accuracy, sometimes using a variety of imaging techniques such as fluoroscopy and ultrasound combined. In addition, the stem cells were also harvested blind, so it’s unsure if any stem cells were obtained in the first place. The patient’s stem cell therapy regrettably resulted in a severe chronic swelling in the patellar tendon (new on his most recent MRI) rather than any improvement or lack of effect. He came to us because after doing his homework on-line, he understood that our specialty was the use of stem cells for knee and other orthopedic problems. While any kind of needle based or surgical treatment can make a patient’s condition worse, we feel strongly this therapy could have been performed better with imaging guidance so the physician knew where the cells were going, and avoid stem cell side effects from randomly placed cells of unknown type. In addition, the specialty of the treating doctor wasn’t interventional pain, sport’s medicine, interventional radiology or one of the other specialties one would expect to know how to place medications or cells into a specific area using imaging guidance, it was pathology. Finally, nobody knows how the cells were processed and whether the cell prep might the type likely to be effective in orthopedic injuries, since the physician was treating multiple other types of neurologic conditions presumably with the same cell preparation. The upshot? We’re seeing an explosion in the use of stem cells for orthopedic conditions, which we welcome. However, there’s great confusion over the types of stem cells that work best for orthopedics and we regrettably see non-specialized family doctors, emergency medicine doctors, cosmetic specialists, and pathologists performing complex stem cell placement procedures without guidance or sophisticated knowledge of knee anatomy. You wouldn’t go to your dentist to get a mole removed, so don’t go to your cosmetic doctor to get your knee injected! If you want to know more about picking a doctor to perform your orthopedic stem cell procedure, see our top 10 questions to ask about orthopedic stem cells guide.

Category: Knee, Latest News

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.

LinkedIn
Email