Health & Wellness
Stem Cell Orthopedics: A New way to fix Joint Problems
by M. Walter M.D.
We now have the technology to use a patient’s own stem cells and blood products (growth factors) to regenerate almost any tissue or structure in the body. Stem cells are a game-changer, and will soon revolutionize almost every branch of medicine. In the orthopedic field, we have about an 80% success rate* with common problems such as osteoarthritis of the knee or hip (even bone-on-bone), rotator cuff, back or neck pain, sports or other types of injuries and many other conditions. Once successful, the improvements tend to be long-term because we have rebuilt and corrected the underlying structural problem and therefore addressed the root cause of the pain.
*success rate is defined as 50% or better improvement in pain and disability at the 6-week mark
The stem cell procedure, typically performed in about 4 hours, is minimally invasive and considered very safe. Using a gentle technique called Liposculpting, we harvest 60 to 120 ccs (2 – 4 ounces) of fat from the patient’s belly or flank. We then isolate the stem cells, then mix them with growth factors from the patient’s own blood (Platelet Rich Plasma) to activate and stimulate the growth of the stem cells.
One important advantage of the stem cell approach is the minimal downtime – patients can return to basic activity in 1 – 2 days. Active rehab is recommended with an early return to activity to help stimulate the blood flow to joints and help them heal properly. “Movement without load” is the guiding principle. Since stem cells address the root cause of joint problems and rebuild damaged tissues at the cellular level, once a patient improves, the results tend to be long-lasting.
Since stem cell regeneration is a healing process, it is impossible to predict how quickly patients will notice improvement. Some patients feel significant improvement within days, while others don’t see any benefit until after the first month has passed. If patients have not improved substantially by the six-week mark, we can assume that the stem cells (which remain alive and active for about 6 months) are sluggish and recommend a booster session of growth factors to reignite the stem cell healing process.
COST & BENEFIT
Unfortunately, stem cell procedures are not yet covered by medical insurance programs. The cost for the procedure depends on how many joints and areas are involved, but typically, the all-in cost varies between $7,000 and $12,000. However, for many, the benefits of stem cells are well worth the cost. Although stem cells cannot fix all problems, I consider that for many cases, stem cells are the treatment of choice. This option should be carefully considered before a patient chooses to undergo surgery. Stem cells are powerful regenerative dynamos that can fix many orthopedic problems in a most elegant and amazing manner. This is truly the medicine of the future!
About Dr. Mark Walter, M.D.
Stem Cell Orthopedic Specialist
As a pioneer in the field of stem cell orthopedics, Mark Walter, M.D. is one of Florida’s top regenerative orthopedic specialists. He has trained and worked with the top regenerative orthopedic
teachers in the world and written and lectured extensively on subjects in the field. Dr. Walter received his M.D. from McGill University (1980), is board-certified in Family Practice (C.C.F.P.) and is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Medicine. He has been dedicated to the specialty of regenerative orthopedics for sixteen years and has treated over 10,000 patients with this approach.
Dr. Walter is founder of the Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute located at 1250 Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, Florida. To sign up for a free seminar (offered monthly) or for more information please call (941) 955-4325. For additional details, please visit StemCellOrthopedics.com or Regenortho.com.