My brother tore his knee cap tendon and quadriceps playing tennis a number of years ago. His torn knee cap surgery recovery was awful – many months spent in a brace and on crutches and years to get the quadriceps muscle strong. His knee has also never been quite the same. Is there a better way that skips the big surgery? Check out these MRIs from our Washington, D.C. area RegenexxNetwork provider Stem Cell Arts. This is a patient of Dr. Robert Wagner’s who tore his knee cap tendon, underwent surgery, and then re-tore the tendon. From Dr. Wagner’s e-mail to us:
“Severe quad tendon tear 6 months ago. Surgical repair went well but tore again 2 months later while doing PT. The post operative repeat tear is noted below in the 3T MRI images.
He elected to avoid repeat surgery and proceed w/ Stem Cell Injections. The bottom 3T MRI images were taken 3 months after Stem Cell Injections were completed.
Overall, he has very little discomfort and is gradually increasing his activity. We have started w/ water aerobics / low impact exercises. Needless to say, he is very happy and refuses to do physical therapy. “
You can see from the pictures above that on the pre stem cell injection MRI’s (side views) there’s a white gap in the red dashed circle, just above the knee cap. This represents the tear in the tendon that should be attached to the knee cap. On the top down view from before the procedure, you see the white bone in the red dashed circle. This is swelling in the bone to go along with the swelling under the knee cap (that sea of white). On the post stem cell injection images, note that on the side views in the yellow dashed circle, the white gap is mostly gone. In addition, on the top down views, the swelling in the knee cap (now yellow dashed circle) is gone as is the sea of white swelling under the knee cap.
I wanted to highlight this great MRI finding today because of what’s happening next week. We are hosting another RegenexxUniversity session for our network providers. This is one of the things that makes Regenexx different. Regenerative medicine gives doctors a chance to reinvent how they approach patients – in our case through Interventional Orthopedics rather than Surgical Orthopedics. The former uses a needle to inject certain structures using precise imaging guidance (in this case ultrasound where you can see the tear) and the latter uses traditional big surgeries with big downtimes and big potential complications. Most stem cell use today for orthopedic injuries is either a blind injection without guidance or just throwing magic stem cell pixie dust in with traditional big surgeries. The Regenexx Interventional Orthopedics difference is precise injection. For example, we are the only group of providers to establish a precise skills list that we expect our network providers to know. Each precise guided injection is linked to a skill that has to be checked out in cadaver training for that doctor to say that he or she is certified in the Regenexx approach to injecting that body area. For example, there are about 10 different injection procedures for the knee, 10 for the shoulder, etc… Orthopedic surgeons aren’t trained to do these procedures, so when we add a surgeon he or she needs extensive retraining from surgical to interventional orthopedics. Neither are general practitioners trained to do these procedures. So this next week we’ll spend a day on each body area and check our doctors off on a skills list that’s about 60 procedures long.
The upshot? If you have a knee cap tendon tear like the guy above, consider interventional orthopedics through precise stem cell injection versus surgical orthopedics. The fact that this great MRI and patient result exists is a testament not only to our advanced stem cell procedures, but also the advanced skill set of Dr. Wagner and our entire network’s dedication to precise injection procedures. This is exemplified by our course this next week, where our providers will be the only ones using stem cells in the nation to be checked off and certified in specific skills that are designed for a new medical specialty-Interventional Orthopedics.