For those interested in getting involved in an exercise routine, it is hard not to come across the world of CrossFit. Over the past couple years, there has been a significant increase in this fitness regime that combines resistance and aerobic exercise. Unfortunately, CrossFit often gets a bad rap due to its perceived propensity to cause injury. Shoulder injuries are particularly common due to the athletes performing snatches and other complex overhead movements. Typically, when one sustains shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff tears, the first visit is to a surgeon. Research has shown that surgery may not be the answer. Fortunately, StemCell ARTS offers patients suffering from shoulder injuries an alternative to treating their shoulder conditions, while avoiding invasive surgical procedures.
Why is this so important to CrossFit athletes? Or anyone, for that matter?
Avoiding surgery also allows the patient to avoid the downtime and recovery that is typically associated with shoulder surgery. Patients are able to get back to the activities that they love, sooner than the patients who undergo surgical procedures. For CrossFit athletes, this means getting back in the gym faster and the ability to keep improving on their fitness. For patients outside of CrossFit, they are able to continue their day to day activity, without much interruption following a regenerative procedure.
Below, you will find a link to an article that features a CrossFit athlete treated by one of the physicians at StemCell ARTS. Bill, a high-level CrossFit athlete was able to avoid surgery to repair his rotator cuff by electing to proceed with the stem cell procedure offered at StemCell ARTS. Click the link below to read more about how Bill is doing following his stem cell procedure and learn more about why shoulder surgery may not be the way to go.
Regenerative therapies are gaining more and more popularity within multiple modalities of the health care field. Orthopedic practices, in particular, are seeing an increase in patients due to professional athletes sharing their experiences with stem cells and platelets for treatment of sports injuries and orthopedic conditions. With orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine professionals, etc. offering regenerative therapies, how does a patient determine which practice is best?
At StemCell ARTS, we use the Regenexx method of processing to produce, what we believe, is the most concentrated and pure version of stem cell and platelets to inject at the patients’ site of injury. What does the Regenexx method of processing mean? Most practices utilizing regenerative therapy as a form of treatment use machines called “bedside centrifuges” to process the regenerative samples. These samples can be full of red and white blood cells and only produce a concentration of 5-7x the concentration found in the human body. By processing the samples by hand, StemCell ARTS is able to produce a pure sample, free of red and white blood cells. We can also increase the concentration to much higher levels.
Not only is Regenexx and StemCell ARTS ahead of the game when it comes to the processing of regenerative therapies, but are also responsible for over 33% of all published articles regarding regenerative therapies. Regenexx is a research consortium that combines the knowledge and experience of over 30 physicians across the country. Regenexx researchers compile this information to consistently examine and improve the method of processing and injection of regenerative therapies.
The video below includes commentary from Dr. Chris Centeno, founder of Regenexx, and describes how the idea of utilizing regenerative therapies for interventional orthopedics came to fruition. By understanding the story behind Regenexx, we hope that patients will see what sets Regenexx-affiliated clinics, like StemCell ARTS, apart from the rest!
Cervical spine (neck) pain is a common condition, suffered by many people. Whether it’s spinal stenosis, a disc herniation, or simply overexertion, the pain can become debilitating and lead to long term suffering. The cervical spine is a vulnerable structure that is comprised of joints and ligaments, working together to support the head. Its susceptibility to injury can result in a number of conditions causing spasm, headaches, or shooting pains. Finding the source of the pain is the first step, since damage in one area can affect many supporting systems. In the majority of cases, cortisone injections can help in the management of neck pain. In other patients, surgical intervention may be recommended. However, there are those who suffer from severe or chronic pain who have exhausted conservative treatment measures, or still have pain post surgery, and are left searching for an alternative solution.
Newly developed biological treatments have provided an opportunity for chronic pain sufferers to experience a long-lasting, natural solution to their neck pain. Regenerative treatments, such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or Platelet Lysate, contain highly concentrated growth factors from a patient’s own blood to attract repair cells and initiate the body’s healing process. In some cases, Prolotherapy, a concentrated solution of Dextrose and anesthetic can be used in conjunction with the platelet procedures, or on its own. Prolotherapy helps stimulate the body’s natural ability to strengthen ligaments and tendon surrounding the cervical spine. The regenerative treatments offered by the physicians at StemCell ARTS can offer relief to patients looking for a solution to their chronic neck pain.
At StemCell ARTS, we often see patients who have had problems associated with knee surgery, such as a torn meniscus needing repair, surgery to correct an ACL injury or a procedure associated with osteoarthritis. Many of these patients did not experience the results they were hoping for and feel that the surgery has failed. In many cases, the surgery actually did not fail; it just did not go far enough into resolving all of the problems that the patient’s knee joint was experiencing.
Take the example of a torn meniscus surgery. The surgery may have been successful in removing the piece of meniscus that was torn, but it did nothing to address the additional instability in the knee, cartilage wear, or potential tendonitis that the patient might have. These types of issues can cause just as much knee pain as what the patient was experiencing from the initial injury.
The physicians at StemCell ARTS can help diagnose additional knee issues that might still exist after surgery. To confirm the existence of further knee injuries, a local anesthetic or nerve block can be administered to accurately pinpoint whether a certain area is the source of the pain. If pain is relieved, it contributes toward confirming the initial diagnosis. The final diagnosis is confirmed through a review of patient history, a physical examination and other innovative diagnostic procedures. Once diagnosed, a treatment plan, utilizing part or all of the following, can be developed to promote healing.
Stem Cell therapy can be used to help complete the final stages of healing within a knee injury. Stem Cell Therapy makes use of the supply of stem cells available in the body to help repair injured and degenerated tissues. The easiest place to harvest these stem cells is from the back of the hip area, under ultrasound or x-ray guidance. This harvesting procedure is well-tolerated by patients and not considered difficult as many patients claim it is not painful.
After bone marrow blood is drawn, it is centrifuged to concentrate and purify the stem cells, as each stem cell specimen is custom designed to meet the needs of the specific injury. Utilizing either fluoroscopy or ultrasound, the stem cells are precisely injected into the injured site to improve the likelihood that stem cells will adhere to the damaged area and promote healing. After the stem cells are placed, concentrated platelets and other adjuvants are injected to stimulate the stem cells to multiply, and then transform into the repair cells needed to regenerate new cartilage. The platelets are injected again two to five days later to keep the stem cells activated and promote additional healing.
Platelets initiate tissue repair by releasing growth factors. These growth factors start the healing process by attracting cells that repair injuries, including critical stem cells. At StemCell ARTS, our Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) intensifies this process by delivering a higher concentration of platelets. The therapy involves a small sample of the patient’s blood, placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the other blood components. The concentrated PRP is then injected into problem areas such as weakened ligaments, injured joints or poor muscle attachments, thus significantly strengthening the body’s natural healing tendencies. StemCell ARTS process for PRP is much different and sets us apart from all others. Because our samples are all hand-processed, we are able to produce PRP that is free of contaminating red and white cells, which can inhibit repair. This same special process also allows us to customize the concentration and volume for each individual and each injury type. This greatly improves patient outcomes. Sometimes just a single injection of PRP will help the knee go through the final stages of repair.
Platelets in the blood release tissue growth factors that aid in the healing process. Normally this occurs slowly over time, but a Platelet Lysate solution that is high in concentration of growth factors can be released immediately into the body. The result is a targeted, faster healing process.
Injected three to five days before the stem cells, Prolotherapy contains a solution of concentrated dextrose and a local anesthetic (steroids are not used). This Prolotherapy solution stimulates the body’s natural ability to repair damaged tissue, encouraging new growth and creating a positive environment into which the stem cells are placed.
By introducing additional growth factors, the hidden knee damage that might be present after a failed surgery can finally be encouraged to heal. These treatments can be the key to finally relieving knee pain in a way that marks a real transformation in the patient’s level of mobility and a return to normal life.
At StemCell ARTS, we see many patients seeking further medical intervention after they’ve had back surgery; especially when the surgery fails to deliver the mobility, activity level and quality of life that they were expecting. Patients who have had spinal fusion surgery tend to fall most often into this category.
After spinal surgery, the spine will lose some mobility in the repaired area, as it has been fused. This fusing forces additional stress in the areas above and below the fused section. If the areas of increased motion are not able to handle the additional stress, they can cause further injuries
Currently, there are pain-specific diagnostic tools available to determine the true sources of continued pain after back surgery. To confirm whether additional back injuries are present, a local anesthetic or nerve block can be administered to accurately pinpoint whether a specific area is the source of the patient’s pain. If their pain is relieved by nerve block, then it confirms the diagnosis that the pain was in the desensitized area. Only after conducting a thorough review of a patient’s history, a physical examination and other comprehensive testing, can a diagnosis can be reached. Once diagnosed, a treatment plan, utilizing part or all of either PRP or Platelet Lysate Therapy, can be developed in order to promote healing.
Platelets initiate tissue repair by releasing growth factors. These growth factors start the healing process by attracting other cells that also repair, including critical stem cells. Platelet Rich Plasma therapy (PRP) intensifies this process by delivering a high concentration of platelets. This therapy involves a small sample of the patient’s blood being placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from other blood components. The concentrated PRP is then injected into problem areas whether they are weakened ligaments, injured joints or poor muscle attachments. The process significantly strengthens the body’s own natural healing process. StemCell ARTS’ system for deriving PRP is much different than other PRP providers and sets us far apart. Because our samples are all hand-processed, we are able to produce PRP that is free of contaminating red and white cells, which can inhibit the repair process. This same innovative process also allows us to customize the concentration and volume for each individual and each injury type.
In certain cases, a patient may have residual nerve pain. In those isolated cases, we can apply a Platelet Lysate solution, as it is a wonderful healing agent for nerves. Platelets in the blood release powerful tissue growth factors that aid in the healing process. Normally, healing occurs naturally over time, but through the creation of a Platelet Lysate solution, a high concentration of growth factors can be released immediately into the injured or damaged area. At StemCell ARTS, we inject the solution directly into the spinal canal, thus allowing the nerves to return to their original integrity that they were before they were after they’ve been traumatized from the initial injury. Studies show that these Platelet Lysate injections can work better and longer than Epidural Steroid injections.
The potential net result of either PRP or Platelet Lysate Therapy has proven to contribute to a significant improvement in the residual issues that a patient can have after surgery, and a return to a full quality of life and previous range of activities can be expected.