Stem cell therapy in orthopaedics is quickly becoming a popular option for patients with conditions like arthritis or those experiencing pain in their muscles or joints following serious injuries. While there are many surgical procedures that are successful at correcting defects, many patients are drawn in by the shorter recovery time offered by stem cell therapies, which use patients’ stem cells – often drawn from their bone marrow – to repair damaged cartilage or tendons.
Many recent stem cell procedures have shown very successful results for older patients who were looking for relief from painful joints that interfered with simple daily tasks like walking. Two of the most recent success stories come from patients who received stem cell therapies on their arthritic knees and shoulders.
Stem Cell Therapy Improves Arthritic Shoulder
Anne Rudolph is 63 years old and lives an active lifestyle as the owner of a restaurant in Marco Island, Florida. A local orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Leon Mead, offered Rudolph stem cell therapy to regenerate damaged joint surfaces in her shoulder, which had been causing her a lot of pain. She told Naples Daily News that she is very impressed with her results. She healed quickly, noting that she feels almost no pain. In fact, she is already back managing her eatery just a few weeks after her procedure. Mead had her use a sling and perform light rehabilitation exercises at home.
Mead pointed out that traditional grafts used with surgical procedures can take up to a year to heal. Numerous stem cell therapies have proven that they cut this recovery time in half, according to Dallas, Texas, researcher Neil Riordan, who networks with Mead.
“It speeds it up dramatically,” Riordan told Naples Daily News. “Surgeons who are using [stem cells] are seeing how fast their patients are healing. They become hooked and want to use it with all patients.”
Rudolph is not the first patient that Mead has performed stem cell therapies on. He has treated 80 patients with the therapy and plans to use it for many future patients. He explained that although the surgery is not the answer to everything, it will enable orthopaedic surgeons to help patients in a way they could not before.
Adventure Seeker Finds Solution to Knee Osteoarthritis
Adventurous 67-year-old Gail Fatato has been living life on the edge since she was young, driving race cars and participating in sports like downhill skiing. Due to injuries she experienced as a teenager, she later had to deal with pain from osteoarthritis in her knees.
She told the Lohud Journal News that she was no longer able to complete simple daily activities because her pain was so bad. When doctors suggested she get a knee replacement, she was determined to find an alternative solution that would not take as long to heal.
“I figured if they can get all of these basketball players and football players out there playing again, there isn’t any reason why they can’t help someone like me,” she explained to the news source.
When she was offered stem cell therapy by Dr. Steven Struhl, an orthopaedic surgeon in New York, she found what she was looking for and went forward with the procedure. After just 10 days following surgery, she told the Lohud Journal News that her pain had decreased significantly, pointing out that there was no longer a stiffness in her knee muscles. She is already able to bike and lift small ankle weights to get some of her strength back.
Although stem cell therapy is still considered an experimental procedure, numerous studies and success stories like Rudolph’s and Fatato’s shows that the treatment holds great promise for the future.