Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis with Stem Cells
LZ is a 43 year old woman with rheumatoid arthritis who was evaluated by us last year with a history of debilitating right foot pain and rheumatoid arthritis. She originally sought us out because she wanted a foot and ankle surgery alternative. Imaging and exam demonstrated that she had severe arthritis in the talonavicular joint of the foot. This joint connects the ankle bones to the foot bones on the inside of the area between the foot and ankle. Patients with arthritis in this joint commonly report trouble wearing shoes, as any direct pressure causes pain. While we don’t usually treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis, we agreed to cautiously proceed by injecting her own stem cells into this foot joint under imaging guidance. In December of last year she underwent a Regenexx-SD procedure and by March reported 65% improvement in her foot with an ability to do more walking. By the spring, noting improvement in her foot, she was eager to see if we could tackle her hands with more stem cell injections. She had a 4 year history of left wrist pain which hurt at a constant 6-7/10 pain and that was made worse by activities such as opening jars. On her MRI, she had a partial tear of the radial scapholunate ligament with arthritis in the second MCP joint of the hand (joint at the base of the second finger). She underwent another Regenexx-SD stem cell procedure in March of 2011 focusing on these areas. She then underwent a 2nd hand arthritis stem cell same day procedure in May of this year where more finger joints and her bilateral wrists were injected. She recently wrote this note to:
“I wanted to give you an update on my hands. I’ve had very good results in both my hands. I would say I’m about 60% better. I started noticing big changes around my 6-7th week. I definitely have more grip and strength with my hands than before. I am able to open some jars with no assistance. I can shower and get dressed with less pain. My hands don’t hurt as much.”
We’re cautiously optimistic about LZ’s progress and hope that she continues to improve. Since rheumatoid arthritis is such a devastating illness where even simple things like opening a jar can become an impossible chore, any increased function we can give her will help her stay independent.
NOTE: Regenexx-SD is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures has a success and failure rate. Not all Regnexx-SD patients experience the same results.