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Adipose Stem Cell Musings

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I had an adipose stem cell injection done to my right knee 4 months ago. Just thought I post some thoughts for others to consider. It's brief and hence cryptic, but this is just to get an idea up for consideration for your own research. Generally I suffer from osteo arthritis on the inner compartment of the right knee. I messed it up 35 years ago doing stupid shit on over cranked Salomon 505's. Not the best combo. One MCL tear repair and 2 scopes later, I'm having to pay up. I can still ski, but only in deep, overhead powder. Seriously, it's pretty rough anytime things ice up a bit. I can turn right, but left is a tiptoe. Love moguls, but have to be on a low calorie bump diet.

 

Two surgeons have said it's time for a total knee. But along comes an acquaintance who just had a stem cell treatment done. Ex rodeo fellow who couldn't even get in a car proper. I'm not a doc, but he described the same issues as me w/ regard to constant pain and range. His results were quite good. He told me he demo'd a squat much to the chagrin of his doc. He's still in good shape a year later. And in considering a TKR, what does one have to lose? It's not like TKR doesn't come w/ significant risks especially w/ regard to maintaining status quo skiing again. Lots of TKR success stories too, but as stem cell procedures get better, one wouldn't be a candidate. 

 

And so I jumped on board w/ Tahoe Medical Spa here in Incline Village: Rebecca and Matthew Gelber to name names, two of the nicest, sincere folks and *avid* skiers. You can read about the process, just do a search. The last thing you'd want to do is piss off a skier, especially over on TGR.

 

Things were right on the curve. Nothing in the first month or so. Then the pain would go away and cycle better/worse, but on an improving upslope. Lifting my foot up while standing was painful. I could actually pull past 90 degrees w/o pain for the first time in I can't remember. Amazing. Then 3 months in, I probably tore the meniscus sailing in some rough conditions (another bad hobby, damn). No point going to a surgeon. All I can say is one month later (now), things are improving back to baseline pretty quickly, reinforcing  me to think when you do injure a knee, there should be a minimum wait of several months to see how the body gets it back together. Also leading me to think having the stem cell/PRP was speeding things along. I'm thinking a lot (not all) of arthroscopic surgeries are done way too prematurely. And they are subtractive, each surgery putting more stress on the remaining material. I watched the video of my knee of the last surgery and was a bit saddened to watch the meniscus being bitten away knowing it will never come back. But pure speculation on my part other than being a participant and an engineer. Just what I would do, and am doing, this go round. No mistaking my knee is still sore, but at least it's on its way back to a manageable level.

 

In summary, I could've been a better testimonial until I screwed myself in the middle of this. I am amazed at the comeback having done similar things in the past. One month is pretty quick to get back on my feet. And, probably like you would do since you're reading this on a skiing forum, I went on yet another rough sailing event this past weekend, albeit w/ great emphasis on keeping the knee out of harms way. It's gotten good enough in one month from hobbling around to going yacht racing.

 

On a lighter note, one should consider the "while your in there" opportunity to let some air out the spare tire that overinflates w/ age. The liposuction to get a few tablespoons of adipose stem cells is a a bit of an inconvenience and time consuming to get over.  Might as well take a few gallons while you're at it for the trouble.

post #2 of 9

Really interesting, sCrewz.

 

I'd love to hear more.  

 

(I had prp done on a somewhat troublesome knee a year ago and couldn't tell any difference at all.)

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sCrewz View Post

I had an adipose stem cell injection done to my right knee 4 months ago. Just thought I post some thoughts for others to consider. It's brief and hence cryptic, but this is just to get an idea up for consideration for your own research. Generally I suffer from osteo arthritis on the inner compartment of the right knee. I messed it up 35 years ago doing stupid shit on over cranked Salomon 505's. Not the best combo. One MCL tear repair and 2 scopes later, I'm having to pay up. I can still ski, but only in deep, overhead powder. Seriously, it's pretty rough anytime things ice up a bit. I can turn right, but left is a tiptoe. Love moguls, but have to be on a low calorie bump diet.

 

Two surgeons have said it's time for a total knee. But along comes an acquaintance who just had a stem cell treatment done. Ex rodeo fellow who couldn't even get in a car proper. I'm not a doc, but he described the same issues as me w/ regard to constant pain and range. His results were quite good. He told me he demo'd a squat much to the chagrin of his doc. He's still in good shape a year later. And in considering a TKR, what does one have to lose? It's not like TKR doesn't come w/ significant risks especially w/ regard to maintaining status quo skiing again. Lots of TKR success stories too, but as stem cell procedures get better, one wouldn't be a candidate. 

 

And so I jumped on board w/ Tahoe Medical Spa here in Incline Village: Rebecca and Matthew Gelber to name names, two of the nicest, sincere folks and *avid* skiers. You can read about the process, just do a search. The last thing you'd want to do is piss off a skier, especially over on TGR.

 

Things were right on the curve. Nothing in the first month or so. Then the pain would go away and cycle better/worse, but on an improving upslope. Lifting my foot up while standing was painful. I could actually pull past 90 degrees w/o pain for the first time in I can't remember. Amazing. Then 3 months in, I probably tore the meniscus sailing in some rough conditions (another bad hobby, damn). No point going to a surgeon. All I can say is one month later (now), things are improving back to baseline pretty quickly, reinforcing  me to think when you do injure a knee, there should be a minimum wait of several months to see how the body gets it back together. Also leading me to think having the stem cell/PRP was speeding things along. I'm thinking a lot (not all) of arthroscopic surgeries are done way too prematurely. And they are subtractive, each surgery putting more stress on the remaining material. I watched the video of my knee of the last surgery and was a bit saddened to watch the meniscus being bitten away knowing it will never come back. But pure speculation on my part other than being a participant and an engineer. Just what I would do, and am doing, this go round. No mistaking my knee is still sore, but at least it's on its way back to a manageable level.

 

In summary, I could've been a better testimonial until I screwed myself in the middle of this. I am amazed at the comeback having done similar things in the past. One month is pretty quick to get back on my feet. And, probably like you would do since you're reading this on a skiing forum, I went on yet another rough sailing event this past weekend, albeit w/ great emphasis on keeping the knee out of harms way. It's gotten good enough in one month from hobbling around to going yacht racing.

 

On a lighter note, one should consider the "while your in there" opportunity to let some air out the spare tire that overinflates w/ age. The liposuction to get a few tablespoons of adipose stem cells is a a bit of an inconvenience and time consuming to get over.  Might as well take a few gallons while you're at it for the trouble.

you know there is a thread on this right now?  Yes, rehab (at home or with a pro) and at least 6-12 weeks of rebuilding strenghtening unless you get an X-ray/MRI and know the extent of the damage and the doc says you need surgery of course. 

 

 

Bob, did you read any of the thread?

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

you know there is a thread on this right now?  Yes, rehab (at home or with a pro) and at least 6-12 weeks of rebuilding strenghtening unless you get an X-ray/MRI and know the extent of the damage and the doc says you need surgery of course. 

 

 

Bob, did you read any of the thread?

 

Hi, Finn.

 

No, I hadn't read any of that thread, but I have now.  It's all very interesting (and confusing) and I hadn't realized that Regenerex had anything to do with stem cells, so that's why I had previously ignored the thread.  Now that I've read it, I guess I'm dubious and open-minded at the same time.

 

The reason I'm dubious is, as you've pointed out, there seem to be a whole bunch of different treatments and procedures under this umbrella of "stem cell treatment" and there's essentially no evidence that any of them do anything.

 

The reason I'm open-minded is that I find personal anecdotal experiences to be informative.  Over the last 20+ years, I've had interesting results in my own knees.  I blew an acl in 1990 and when I had the reconstruction (at Duke University), my doc told me that I already had significant osteoarthritis in that knee and I would probably be a candidate for a total knee within ten years.  Six years later, my OTHER knee became really painful and my Duke doc recommended a Salt Lake City doc, who ended up being the one who's done the surgeries on Tiger Woods.  That doc did a menisectomy while I watched and then showed me the big holes in my articular cartilage.  He said the only way to treat that was microfracture, which he then did.  

 

Having actually seen the damage to the bone surfaces with my own eyes real time and watched the procedure, I honestly didn't believe for a minute that the microfracture "healing" would hold up for even one season once I started skiing again.  Post-op, the doc also recommended that I start taking glucosamine and chondroitin.  He flat-out told me that there was lots of evidence that the gluco/chondro didn't do anything for a pretty high percentage of people, but he couldn't see any harm in it.

 

So, I ended up having a procedure (microfracture) that apparently doesn't work very well for a significant percentage of patients and I took - still do, I'm afraid to stop - a snakeoil supplement (gluco/chondro) that also doesn't work for a significant percentage of patients.  That was 16 years ago.  I've probably skied a thousand days or more since then and that knee still doesn't bother me at all.  I mean none.

 

So while I certainly understand the skepticism about this stem cell stuff, I also have some personal anecdotal experience that seems to contradict the science of the studies of other treatments.

 

So, when I see new ideas like this, I'm interested in following the concept.

post #5 of 9

Yeah, nothing is without risk, and nothing is foolproof. It might be expensive (not much more than my semi-failed toe arthroplasty, though), but it's not very invasive, and I've heard enough good stories from people around here to consider it for myself (once they will do the C procedure again, though -- and this liposuction version sounds great! two birds one stone!)

 

Email excerpts from my friend who did this (keep in mind she was mid- to late-60s when it was done, as well.)  She was going to start skiing again last year, but decided to have the TKR on her other knee instead (since the C procedure for the Regenexx that she had wasn't avbl anymore).

 

 

 

3 months post treatment:

 

I secretly hope for a complete recovery, but that's unrealistic.  Right know I'd say I'm at hummmmm......it's been so long since I've had a healthy knee that it's had for me to judge.......am I at 50% or 70% or even more????  I now go up and down stairs with ease...I squat with ease.... especially on the toilet  -gross, right....let me tell you what a pleasure it is  to "squat down" whithout holding on to a wall, a counter or the toilet seat.  It's the little things in life - right??  Like stretching out full bore in the morning and popping - no -JUMPING out of bed with no pain....whatsoever.......not even a twinge.  I still get twinges and some "popping" when I work out on the eliptical or the bike, but, again, nothing serious.

 

Will I continue to improve?  I have no idea.  Others that I've talked to say they continued to see improvement for up to a year.  So, maybe my hopes of a complete recovery aren't so far fetched. I gotta say, I'm thrilled with my progress so far. 

 

14 months post treatment:

 

Much better.......I still have issues with the "ratchet effect" on the lateral side and it can still catch when I'm curled up asleep and suddenly stretch out.....aside from that.....I can squat with NO pain, I can lunge with NO pain, climb stairs with NO pain, walk, do the elliptical, bicycle, weights, bend down, all NO pain.  Sometimes when I overdo, going downstairs is uncomfortable, so I'm careful.  I cannot run - need the brace for that.  But, I can play tennis and do not have pain afterwards and I don't have to ice.  I've  had a synvisc injection and a cortisone injection to try to help the slipping, ratcheting effect.......neither have worked.  I've also had prolo injections (hate them) and IMS treatments.  So far, NOTHING has helped that part of the knee.  I guess it's my lot in life to wear the brace when I play tennis.

 

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've also considered the MSC Regenexx thing which was top on my list for awhile until they got axed in the US and I found out how much it was going to cost. The Regenexx C can still be done in the Cayman Islands, but that's a long way from Denver. I also was considering knee interpositional devices like Conformis, but it didn't sound appropriate for skiing. And there are some irreversible aspects like a complete menisectomy. They would dislocate on deep knee bends on some folks. Others ended up worse. So it was TKR or give this adipose thing a try. A lot less of a gamble to do the stem cell thing. I am still hopeful I will net out, but I don't expect to at this point given the new injury. But if there was a report today of 3 ft of pow in Tahoe, I wouldn't hesitate based on the state of my knee right this second. But I'm stupid. 

I know there's little info on anything definitive regarding statistical efficacy. These studies cost millions and those who can afford them may not be incentivized. Why should they be? Prosthetics and surgeries to deploy them are hot right now. So it's left to the little clinics, the early adopters to add to a pool of anecdotal data yea or nay. For those that don't like to gamble, don't have the discretionary funds, and don't have the time to stage this in, this is not for you. I just figured since these are your own cells, probably little chance of things getting worse. So that's all there is right now, just testimonials. Tahoe Medical has a few dozen of these under their belt, and I may be the first one to not have good results because I messed up. But I'm not behind either. 

When you have painful, old, wobbly knees that ache around the clock, and are considering your ski career may be coming to a close, you get a lot less discriminating about what may be "snake oil".

post #7 of 9

again, if it works for you go for it. regarding studies. One reason for studies is to be able to understand why something works. If you don't understand why or how, how do you improve it or measure its efficacy? There are a ton of grants and such for these studies that show some evidence of efficacy. The Problem is that there have been studies but they don't support  it works. I don't believe they have even conducted their own studies.  Since I already have a lof of those parts, I do pay attention to these things, that's how I came across them. I am always open to new treatments. ART therapy has proven to be a fantastic therapy for my impinged nerve (tere's pronator) and I know it worked for Seg as well as a couple of my other friends. It has been studied and proven to show some level of efficacy in those studies. that's why I tried it.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sCrewz View Post


 

And so I jumped on board w/ Tahoe Medical Spa here in Incline Village: Rebecca and Matthew Gelber to name names, two of the nicest, sincere folks and *avid* skiers. You can read about the process, just do a search. The last thing you'd want to do is piss off a skier, especially over on TGR.

 

 

I recently read your thread and decided to send my x-ray out them.   Your right,  very nice people.  They took over an hour to discuss my hip and knee issues and to suggest treatment options.

I was very impressed!  I can't do anything at this time, because I had a Cortisone injection this week and they recommended waiting at least six weeks before any alternative treatments.

 

How is your knee now?

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

shredhead,

 

Glad to hear your jumping into the fray w/ Tahoe Medical Spa. I consider them friends now.

Very sorry to hear about your knee/hip. Hope you can get it back to where you need it to be.


As for me,

It's been 4 months since my last post. In that post, I mentioned halfway through the "gestation" period,

I did something bad to my knee where I had a setback. My fault going out sailing in rough conditions.

So I can't testify that I'm pain free right now. But I can say this: after injuring it again and hobbling around,

difficulty sleeping, clicking in the joint, etc., I just did a ride in Downieville in CA this past weekend. 5200

vertical feet downhill, some parts pretty rough and rocky. The knee was sore afterword. And I could bitch

about it since I love to bitch. But in reality, going from re-thinking the total knee option to riding Downieville

in 4 months gives one pause. You decide. Stem cells, or I'm just a freak of nature being able to heal on

command? Who knows. But I'm definitely going into the ski season as is.

 

One more item pertinent to me is the loss of weight. "For every pound lost, there's 7 lbs of shock load taken 

off the knees.", as was told to me by several docs. And I can feel a strong correlation of knee pain to my

weight. I must be on a cusp, since losing just 7 lbs is enough to feel a significant improvement, a loss

which I'm just starting into now (again) in prep for the ski season.

 

Good luck to you.

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