06 September 2012

The Regenexx Stem Cell Procedure For My Left Knee



Since my last follow-up back in April I have actually had more Regenexx activity, only this time it's my left knee. So I can no longer refer to my right knee as my Regenexx knee because they have both been treated with Regenexx. The right knee was treated with Regenexx SD and the left knee was treated with Regenexx SCP. Here's the story on my left knee.

After the treatment of my right knee, Dr. Centeno demonstrated how tight the ACL is now in my right knee. It's nice and snug with no extra play in it and the tears in the meniscus have healed very well. This is exactly the result we were seeking and what allowed me to continue cycling throughout the summer. This summer my business schedule got in the way quite a bit but I still managed to ride the legendary Triple Bypasss and also my annual stop at Copper Mountain to ride in the Courage Classic.

Unfortunately we noticed how loose the ACL was in my left knee. Performing a simple Lachman test indicated a remarkable amount of slippage, so we decided to get a MRI on the left knee to check it out. After doing so, we were able to see that the ACL was definitely intact, but that there were some spots around the meniscus and the medial collateral ligament that were experiencing some wear and tear. I have never suffered any injury to my left knee, but I do experience stiffness in it. Given the success I had with Regenexx SD on my right knee, I decided to have my left knee treated with Regenexx SCP as well. I just had the final injection eight days ago. Right after the injection I experienced quite a bit of pain and discomfort and the range of motion in my left knee was far from 100%. Here's the breakdown of the treatment:

July 5 - Receive prolotherapy injection and micro-damage to the left ACL, MCL and meniscus. This is basically an injection of dextrose directly into the ACL along with some additional micro-damage using needles. This all causes irritation to the areas that are being targeted for treatment because it causes the red blood cells to flood into the area to heal the irritation and damage. Although it's a weird feeling during the injection right into the ACL, this treatment didn't slow me down one bit with regard to cycling.

August 1 - Receive another prolotherapy injection and micro-damage to the left ACL, MCL and meniscus again. Same thing as one month before.

August 28 - Blood draw to use for the stem cell plasma injection.

August 29 - Receive the stem cell plasma injection to the left ACL, MCL and meniscus. This injection was painful and immediately afterward I had a very difficult time putting any weight on my left leg. In fact, I went home and used crutches for two days until the pain subsided enough to begin walking.

Today, a little over one week after the injection, I have nearly 100% range of motion back and I am starting to walk longer distances. I am still having some trouble at night so I put a pillow between my knees to try to level out my left leg a bit. I've already started doing some light spinning on my road bike with it on my trainer. So far, everything is tracking similarly to my experience with my right knee. Now it's just a matter of following the regimen from the doctor and allowing the treatment take effect.

The Regenexx SCP procedure that I had performed on my left knee last week was less than half the cost of the Regenexx SD procedure. I had no injury in the my left knee, just wear and tear from getting older. But I'm hopeful that I will experience the same outcome as my right knee. I look forward to the day where I can run many miles without knee pain.

16 comments:

  1. has there been any mri's of your right knee indicating that the injury has healed?

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    1. Yes, I had a MRI on the right knee back in May and it indicated that the two tears to the meniscus had healed.

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  2. So 2 months have passed - how is the left knee feeling? And if you could explain, what is the difference between SCP and SD procedure? Is it less expensive? What was your final out of pocket cost to have both knees done? I have been in touch with a clinic here in the SF Bay Area about the procedure & tomorrow will see my primary Dr. to arrange the MRI(s). Thanks for the blog.

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    1. The left knee is doing very well. In fact, I've been running for a month now. When performing the Lachman test, there is still some laxity in the left knee, but I'm not too worried because I'm not seeking perfection. My right knee is really where my concern lies and it's doing great.

      The difference between SCP and SD is defined by the source from which the stem cells are harvested. SCP harvests stem cells from the bone marrow in your hips vs. SD which harvests stem cells from your blood. The SCP procedure is very similar to what other clinics refer to as a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment. SCP is much less costly as compared to SD (I paid about $2400 for the SCP treatment vs. about $5600 for the SD procedure).

      Good luck with your pursuit of treatment.

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  3. Thanks for all the great information. I am really happy it is working so well for you. I have already had a total knee replacement on my left knee (10 years ago...doing great) and would LOVE to avoid such a big (painful and long recovery) surgery on my right knee. I have had prolotherapy on my right knee several times over the past 3 years with minimal positive results and the fact that insurance doesn't pay for stem cell therapy...makes it even less appealing. Prolotherapy is at least reasonably affordable...$215/treatment.
    Anyway your blog has given me food for thought. Also the difference between the SCP and SD therapies was a little confusing. Isn't SCP from the blood, Stem Cell Plasma,not the bone marrow? Which would account for the price difference....because it's much easier to harvest.

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    1. As explained on the Regenexx website:

      Regenexx-SD (Same Day)-A bone marrow based stem cell procedure. Spinning down bone marrow in a bedside machine produces a set amount of stem cells to be injected. Regenexx-SD can concentrate those cells many times over bedside centrifuges.

      Regenexx-SCP-(Super Concentrated Platelets)-How can you supercharge your own stem cells? Our SCP procedure yields a much more pure and higher concentration of platelets then is normally found in bedside machine made platelet rich plasma.

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  4. thanks for these posts on regenexx. i had meniscus trimmed in right knee in 2006 at age 58 and it is doing fine. however my left knee has been a problem for several years. mri 2 years ago said degenerative tear medial horn and mild oa in patella compartment. does my age now 65 disqualify me? reading charts it seems some poor candidates(not sure if age is key determinant) so almost as well as average and good. anyway, any opinion. it doesn't hurt to run, but gets painful and full squat is a problem. and, since i live in ga, the closest is alabama or florida. would you trust your knees to anyone but the innovators? thanks in advance

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    1. After having both of my knees treated with Regenexx, I will never opt for surgery again if I don't have to. Search the my blog and you will find write-ups of all of my experiences with Regenexx. My advice to anyone suffering from knee trouble is to be evaluated for Regenexx to see if you're a candidate.

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  5. Congratulation on your recovery, I'm glad to see Regenexx really works.
    My brother has a herniated disc condition, so we had a phone appointment, we live in Brazil, but as the back surgery is still new and, somewhat on test we didn't go through with it.
    As his condition has got worse, we are thinking about Regenexx again.
    Then, I'm looking for more information on the back surgery, I wonder if you know anyone/ blog/ website that I could contact.
    And,what are your thoughts about the downside of stem cells? I read about the risk of cancer.
    Well thanks in advance.

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    1. Unfortunately I do not know anyone who has had the Regenexx treatment for a herniated disc or any other treatment for the spine. My suggestion is to speak to someone at the Centeno-Schultz (http://www.regenexx.com/) about the treatment.

      The only downsides to stem cell treatments that I am currently aware of are the cost (because it is not typically covered by insurance) and the chance that a single treatment may not be enough (you may require more than one treatment therefore costing more money).

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  6. Hi Bruce, hope you're doing well and your knees are no longer giving you any problems. I would like to know if your MRI scan has showed that the ACL to the right knee has healed up as well? In the Regenexx website they actually only mention about the treatment of meniscus tears and not really the ACL. I've got ACL laxity in my right knee after an injury as well, it is not bad enough to have surgery but not good enough for almost all forms of sports now. Also do you do any pivoting sports now? Sorry for so many questions and thank you very much!

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    1. I never actually had a follow-up MRI after the treatments. We based my outcome success on my level of pain (which was zero), my level of ability to participate in the sports I play (I actually started running again after nearly 20 years of no long distance running) and the tests my doctor performed on my knees (the laxity was completely gone and he was really tugging on my knees to test them).

      Although I am running longer distances than I ever have, I decided to stop playing competitive soccer (much to my dismay). Even though I love soccer, I decided it was time to hang it up competitive play because two of my 3 major knee injuries occurred playing competitive soccer. I still run, cycle, swim and hike and I intend to do these sports for a long time to come.

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  7. This sounds encouraging! I injured my knee playing aikido but did not tear my meniscus or have any visible damage on two mris. I experience significant pain when I walk though, with every step. Do you think this could help me? What are the chances that things could get worse?

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    1. If you have pain with every step you take, clearly there is something wrong. It sounds like you should schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor to have your knee examined. You may be a candidate for the Regenexx treatment but you will need to be evaluated to diagnosis the situation.

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  8. Your blog encouraged an active 68 year old woman with patellofemoral pain "runners knee" to do both SD and SCP. Had procedure Oct 30th.. not even a month and I already have a great outcome (90% improvement )which is remarkable since I am living in a cold climate Chicago and have arthritic tissue surrounding right knee cap.
    So glad I did not do a complete knee replacement as medical community recommended. Glad to be able to run up and down stairs and will soon pick up my golf clubs for daily rounds and get back to yoga and tai chi when I spend 1st quarter 2014 in So Cal.
    Giving a big thank you to Dr Mitchell Sheinkop out of Weil Clinic Des Plaines IL ( who studied under Dr Centano for
    being able to triple the amount of stem cells injected -something that 2 months ago had to be done off shore. Would do it to my left knee after reading your new post when it gets to that point.

    True test will come in the first 6 months of 2014.. but so far nothing negative to report.

    Marilyn OConnor
    boomtozoom@aol.com

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  9. Hi! I was wondering what time of meniscal tears you had....vertical, radial, flap, etc. and we're they in the red or white zone. I'm 28 year old competitive runner with meniscus tear in which I have one Dr tell me it's in the white zone while the other says its in the red zone ( and repairable). Hoping to avoid a menisectomy! I am very interested in stem cell, but am curious of the type of meniscus tears you had. Thanks!

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