An avid hiker and downhill skier, our 62-year-old female patient was suffering from left knee osteoarthritis (OA) and facing her second total knee replacement. The orthopedic surgeon that performed her right knee replacement suggested a medical research study on stem cell injections taking place at Geraci Spine and Sports Medicine.
The patient entered the study as my first participant. I followed a protocol developed by researchers and physicians in Australia using a cavitation system to yield stem cells from adipose (fat). Tissue was taken by a mini-liposuction from the area below the belly button. Approximately 60 cc of adipose tissue was taken from the patient and placed in a special cavitation system that yielded about 2 million stem cells, which were then injected into her left knee along with 4 cc of platelet rich plasma (PRP) under fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance.
The patient then received a booster PRP injection eight weeks later as part of the protocol. Three weeks post injection, she started physical therapy for a total of eight weeks.
After six months, a repeat MRI of the left knee was done and compared to an MRI pre-stem cell injection. The radiologist confirmed growth of hyaline cartilage – the cartilage that is lost in OA. As part of the protocol, an MRI will be done at one and two years post-injection, and cartilage measurements will be made again and compared to the previous studies.
The patient states that her knee has significantly improved with decreased pain and increased function. In fact, thanks to the progress made from the PRP injections, she has since resumed hiking and skiing again.