Treating Hip Arthritis in a Hiker with Stem Cells
CH is a 51 year old ex-power lifter who was seen in May of last year because he was seeking a hip surgery alternative. His MRI showed severe arthritis and he was considered less than a fair candidate. He knew that as an avid long-distance hiker his chances of returning to this level of high activity if he pursued a hip replacement were not good. In addition, if he instead went with a hip resurfacing and returned to a high activity level, the wear particles from the metal on metal prosthesis may cause other problems. As a result, he agreed to try using his own stem cells in a Regenexx hip arthritis stem cell procedure to see if we could use his “original equipment” to get him back to hiking. The patient had three stem cell injection procedures under exacting image guidance into his hip-the first was a Regenexx-C in July of 2010 and the second and third were Regenexx-SD procedures in August and November 2010.
“I am happy to report on my progress following Regenexx C/SD on my hip. Prior to treatment, my last backpacking trip was January, 2009. Since then, I went through the stages of semi-immobility with osteoarthritis. Last weekend I went on my first Post-Regenexx backpacking trip of 32 miles in two days in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This represents long daily mileage for advanced hikers in this terrain. Although I was apprehensive about trying such a long distance on my first trip out, I did fine. Just a few small blisters on my toes and sore muscles the day after I got back. I had a great time!
Thanks so much for your dedication and continued work in advancing the Regenexx procedures. I promote it every chance I have.”
Again, CH’s treatment was more than just placing magic stem cells somewhere in the vicinity of the hip joint, but involved key aspects of Orthopedics 2.0 philosophy. For example, CH had significant myofascial tightness around the hip muscles leading to abnormal wear on the joint. This had to be addressed before we would treat his hip with stem cells. In addition, like many patients with hip arthritis, he had irritated nerves in his low back. His back hadn’t been addressed because his hip arthritis looked so bad on imaging. This low back issue had to be treated as it was causing significant weakness in the hip girdle muscles and thus leading to a “sloppy hip” which could no longer protect the joint. The upshot? We wish CH many more miles hiking on the trails of life. Do all of our hip patients get these same results? No, like any surgical hip procedure, our stem cell injection procedure has a failure and success rate.