Senior Woman Considering Treatment

Should you try Stem Cell?

How good would cell therapy treatments have to be in order for you to consider it?

Think about this question.

You have arthritis. You have dealt with the pain, limited activities and poor sleep, and you know that you must do something.  However, you also know the risk involved in undergoing surgery, have friends who have had the surgery and still have chronic pain,  and have read studies stating that one out of four patients who have total knee replacement continue to have pain. This means that a full 25% of patients who have knee replacement don’t get what they are looking for with the surgery, namely pain relief. Though this is never advertised, the outcomes in knee surgery are not so great. So then, how good does stem cell have to be before you should consider it as an alternative to joint replacement surgery?  Before you read further, think about this question. How effective would cell treatments have to be before you would say “YES, I THINK THAT IS SOMETHING I SHOULD TRY”.

When comparing cell therapy treatments to knee replacement:

  • would a 25% as effective rate be reasonable?
  • would you think 50% as effective as knee surgery would make stem cell something you would consider?
  • or perhaps would you demand that stem cell treatments be at least 75% as effective as knee replacement before you would consider it?

Dr. Hernigou found Stem Cell treatments for Knee Arthritis were better than surgery

Interestingly, the question of how stem cell compares to knee replacement surgery has been asked, and answered and stem cell treatments came out BETTER.

That’s correct. Stem Cell treatments were better than knee replacement in providing pain relief, as judged by patients who had both!

I have referenced this paper earlier, but not in detail and it does in fact deserve to be presented in detail. Phillipe Hernigou, an orthopedic surgeon and stem cell researcher at Val de Mame in France, compared outcomes with knee arthroplasty and stem cell treatments.  Dr. Hernigou wanted to determine if patients who underwent total knee replacement might have done better with stem cell treatments. He found out they did.

Details of the Knee Arthroplasty vs. Stem Cell treatment study

Dr. Hernigou found 30 patients who had severe knee arthritis in both knees. He had the patients agree to participate in a study to compare stem cell treatments and joint replacement surgery.  Each patient would agree to have surgery on one knee and stem cell on the other knee. Hernigou, though an Orthopedic Surgeon, was an early adopter of stem cell therapy but is a researcher at heart.  He had already done research showing injected bone marrow cells can revitalize and remodel necrotic bone. But now he wanted to see if this treatment worked well for knee arthritis.

In this study of knee arthritis Hernigou used  bone marrow cells from the same patient (the same treatments we use at Southcoast Regenerative Medicine), injecting them into the knee to treat knee arthritis. He wanted to compare this to the surgical knee on which he was operating. Hernigou followed these patients for up to 16 years post procedure. In 2018 He published his paper in the International Journal of Orthopedics.

Results of knee surgery vs. stem cell treatments

In the end, patients with stem cell therapy did show improvement in cartilage and 21/30 patients felt the stem cell knee was better than the total knee replacement.

LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN…… 70% of PATIENTS PREFERRED STEM CELL TREATMENT TO KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY!

Conclusions from the study: “Subchondral autologous bone marrow concentrate was an effective procedure for treating young patients with knee osteoarthritis following secondary ON of the knee related to corticosteroids, with a lower complication rate and a quicker recovery as compared with Total Knee Arthroplasty”.

 

What does this data mean for the use of cell therapy in the treatment of Knee Arthritis?

I think it is clear, this data speaks for itself.  Stem cell use in the treatment of knee arthritis can work.  There is no doubt it is worth consideration.

While the patients in this study had osteonecrosis (a more rapid form of arthritis) and were younger than the typical arthritis patient, the disease process is essentially the same in both groups. This study not only shows that patients with arthritis can get pain relief from using their own stem cells, it also shows that patients prefer this treatment to surgery!  Recently the Mayo Clinic published similar results using the same stem cells (from bone marrow, just as we do at Southcoast) for the treatment of knee arthritis in typical older individuals. You can see Dr. Shane Shapiro discuss those study results here.

 

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