Blog readers, as you know, these days I tend to only blog on those results that surprise me. I see patients every day that are doing great who have compelling stories about how they avoided big surgeries, but there’s so much to cover on the blog that unless something really sticks out, it doesn’t make it here. I recently noticed a patient from back in 2008 leave a blog comment about his knee, so I thought I would dig into that story this morning.
The Regenexx-C Procedure
As most people know, we have a procedure that is now performed at a licensed site in Grand Cayman where autologous stem cells are cultured to larger numbers. We’ve been performing this for almost a decade and a half in total, having begun in 2005. Hence, we have the world’s longest-running data on orthopedic patients treated with cultured stem cells.
Back in 2008 when this patient was treated, we were still performing that procedure in the United States. Eventually we couldn’t do that due to changes in US regulations and eventually, a site in Grand Cayman picked up the license to perform that procedure. We still bring some of our patients there today.
Mike was first seen in May of 2008. He had progressively worsening knee pain after failing two microfracture procedures. His MRI demonstrated a hole in the cartilage on the outside of his knee and a degenerated and torn meniscus. He underwent the Regenexx-C procedure and this is the email he just sent me:
“(I had a) torn meniscus in my left knee in 2003 from playing Ultimate Frisbee…had the scope…same thing in 2008…another scope, told by the Ortho I needed to give up high impact sports or I’d need a knee replacement by the time I was 50 (I was 41 in 2008) due to the amount of arthritis in the knee. This was unacceptable to me, so that’s when I found Regenexx online…when the Regenexx-C procedure was allowed in the continental US, I had the bone marrow aspiration in the clinic in Denver in May of 2008, the first injection of the cultured cells five weeks later in June, then another injection in July. I came back in January 2009 for a “touch up” injection (you did that one and the one in July, Dr. Schultz did the initial one in June).
I have never “looked back” since. I’m actually more active now at 52 than I was then. So I play pretty competitive pickup basketball 2x a week, Ultimate once a week, and I bowl in leagues 2x a week (sliding on that left knee). And there are times I bowl in tournaments which can consist of eight game blocks of bowling.
I’m not saying my knee is perfect…I DO have some self-imposed restrictions: I never try and play competitive sports back to back days, allowing at least one day of rest in between. And I try not to keep my knee bent at an acute angle beyond 90 degrees, preferring to keep it either stretched out or at a more obtuse angle. But I bet at 52 I’m more active than probably 80-90% of people my age. I really have no issues with the knee, outside of what I mentioned regarding taking precautions, etc.
I did have an MRI in 2015 on both knees (my right knee had loose bodies which were removed) and I was curious how the left knee that had the Regenexx procedure looked at that point in time compared to the MRI back in 2008, so I had the Ortho (new guy I really liked..not the guy from 2008…LOL) compare the two images seven years about to see if any changes in the meniscus, and he honestly said he did not see any difference.
However, despite that, I know had I not had the Regenexx-C procedure I would not be able to do all I do today.
So again, I thank you.”
So there you have it! 11 years after a series of three injections of his own culture-expanded stem cells and Mike is still at it, despite a knee that had failed multiple surgeries! A pretty amazing result given that he should have been a knee replacement candidate by about 2010.
The upshot? As I said, I tend to now blog on stuff that amazes me, as writing almost every morning I need that inspiration! Having said that, my patients and the mostly amazing results they continue to report inspire me every day. In addition, when we have treatment failures, they serve to teach me how to improve what we do!