Avoid Knee Replacement

Stem cell therapy provides long-sought relief from chronic knee pain.

Whenever he hears the song “The Load-Out” by Jackson Browne, Taylor* gets a little nostalgic. Sometimes, he even gets a bit misty-eyed. That song, recorded live during a concert in 1977, describes the life of the members of the road crew for a rock and roll band. It’s a life Taylor was living at the time the song was released.

Stock photo from iStockphoto.com.
“Man, that was a wild time,” Taylor reveals. “I didn’t work for a band as big as Jackson Brown’s band. I was one of three roadies for a band that was usually billed as the opening act for bigger bands, but it was a lot of fun. I got to meet a lot of rock stars, and I saw a lot of the country. It was hard work, though.

“We’d get into a town sometimes just a few hours before the show was to begin, and we’d have to hustle out of the bus and set everything up. Then we’d have to tear it down in a hurry, sometimes before the main act went on. We hauled pianos, drums, amps – all that stuff. It was quite a workout doing that most every night.”

Taylor, now 66, took on the job of a roadie shortly after he got out of the Marine Corps at the age of 24. A friend talked him into it, thinking it would be a good summer job. When the band’s list of gigs extended through the fall and winter, Taylor and his friend hung on and ended up staying with the band until it broke up in 1980.

Following the breakup, Taylor transitioned into a career in construction. He carried into that new job a long list of memories and some interesting stories, including one about the winter night in Providence, Rhode Island, where he slipped on the ice while pushing a trunk with the band’s soundboard in it.

“It was raining when we got into Providence, but by the time we were ready to leave, the rain had turned to snow and the loading ramps in the back of the arena were all iced over,” Taylor remembers. “We were hustling as always to get out of there, and I just slipped and fell straight down on my right knee on the pavement.”

For years thereafter, Taylor dealt with what he describes as “mostly annoying” pain in his right knee. He tolerated that pain all through his time working construction and into his role as the manager and eventually owner of a company that sets up event and party tents. Then, a few years ago, the pain began to intensify.

“I no longer do any of the legwork associated with putting up the tents and taking them down, which is a good thing because I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it if I needed to,” Taylor explains. “That’s how painful my knee got. It went from being a two or three on a scale of one to ten to a nine.

“It hurt from the moment I stepped out of bed every morning and all through the day. Something as simple as walking to my truck to go to work each day became agonizing. I think I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and can usually push through things like this pretty well, but this stopped me in my tracks.”

Taylor’s ever-debilitating pain prompted a trip to his primary care physician who recommended he visit an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon ordered an MRI that showed Taylor was suffering from arthritis and a vast deterioration of cartilage. His recommendation for repair was knee replacement surgery.

“That was not what I wanted to hear,” Taylor says. “I thought I might need some kind of surgery, but I didn’t think I was looking at a total knee replacement. After hearing that, I decided to get a second opinion. It was during my search for another doctor that I discovered a place in Sarasota that does a treatment that can help you avoid surgery.”

“They do a tremendous job of explaining the therapy and how it works and what to expect, and they were right on the mark with me. I’m so glad I chose stem cell therapy over surgery. This was so much easier, and I feel fabulous.” – Taylor

The place Taylor found is Advanced Rejuvenation, a state-of-the-art wellness clinic, where a highly trained team of physicians has been specializing in regenerative injection treatments for nearly two decades and is now considered to be at the forefront of nonsurgical regenerative therapy.

“Taylor came to us with significant arthritis in his right knee,” recalls Ronald S. Bramson, DPM, at Advanced Rejuvenation.

“He was in a lot of pain and was having trouble not just walking but standing. He was leaning on his left leg because he was favoring the right knee so much.

“The good news was that by looking at his x-rays and MRI, we were able to determine that he still had some cartilage left in his right knee. There wasn’t a lot, but he had enough there to make him a candidate for stem cell therapy. Almost as soon as we suggested it as a treatment, Taylor said he was up for it.”

The Body’s Building Block

Stem cells are the most basic of the human body’s building blocks. They are the foundation of all the body’s tissues and organs and can be collected either from the patient or from placenta tissue. Dr. Bramson has experience with both types of cells and understands which option is best for each condition.

“Stem cells harvested from the placenta tissue can be a good option, but people should be leery about doctors promoting these types of cells because most of the companies selling them are not legitimate,” Dr. Bramson informs.

“We do use those types of stem cells here, but they have been highly vetted and sent for outside testing. That’s why our preference is to use the patient’s own stem cells, and we perform the collection procedure right here.”

When injected into damaged tissue, stem cells support the natural healing process by regenerating the damaged tissue and calming down chronic inflammation. That’s why more and more physicians are beginning to use them as an alternative to replacement surgery for failing joints such as knees, hips and ankles.

Stem cells can also be used to regenerate cartilage, tendon, muscle and new tissue in the shoulders, wrists, spine, pelvis, feet, etc. In addition to its versatility, one of the major advantages of stem cell therapy is that the simple injection treatments can be done in a doctor’s office. Afterward, patients are able to return to normal activity within days.

Unlike those who opt for surgery, most patients receiving stem cell therapy notice a reduction in pain and an increase in comfort within a month of the treatment. Most also continue to feel the effects well beyond that period. It is important to note that not all patients are good candidates for the procedure.

Anyone who has absolutely no cartilage left in their knee or has suffered a tear of more than 50 percent of the rotator cuff in their shoulder would be encouraged to try other options first. That was the position Taylor thought he was in when he first visited Advanced Rejuvenation a little more than a year ago, and he wasn’t alone.

Dealer’s Choice

A native of Pleasantville, New Jersey, Calvin* retired and moved to Florida five years ago after working for more than 30 years as a blackjack dealer at a popular Atlantic City casino. All those years of standing on his feet dealing cards took a toll on Calvin’s knees. It was a toll he began to pay shortly before retiring.

“I was about two years from retirement when the pain started to set in,” he says. “At first, all I had to do was take some aspirin or ibuprofen, and that would pretty much take care of it, but after a while, that kind of stuff wasn’t doing me any good any more. The pain was making it hard for me to complete my shift.

“I was already counting down the days to retirement, but for a while there, I was thinking I might have to retire early. I didn’t want to do that, so I started wearing a knee brace – one of those neoprene sleeves. That helped me for a while, but the pain never really went away. Then, after we moved to Florida, it only got worse.”

“I have been pain free for close to a year now. And it’s not like I haven’t been testing my knees. As soon as I started feeling better, I got back on the golf course, and it wasn’t long after that that I started playing a little tennis again.” – Calvin

Calvin, 70, came to Florida hoping to spend a lot of time playing golf and tennis. His knee pain derailed those plans. When the pain got so bad Calvin couldn’t walk to his mailbox to get the mail without needing to rest, he decided the time had come to visit a doctor. Like Taylor, the news he received was rather distressing.

“The doctor did a real thorough examination and took x-rays and everything. When he came into the exam room, he said, It looks like you’re going to need surgery,” Calvin remembers. “He said the cartilage in both my knees was just about gone and that it was virtually bone on bone. But that wasn’t even the worst news.

“He said that from the time I had the surgery until I was completely healed would be six months to a year. I heard that, and I was thinking that at my age, it might take me two or three years to recover because older people like me just don’t heal as quickly as they do when they’re younger.

“I’m the kind of guy who likes to stay active, and I really wanted to get back to playing golf and tennis and so I said, Thank you, but I’m going to see if there’s anything else I can do before I agree to have surgery. It was after that that I found out about Advanced Rejuvenation and decided to see what they can do for me.”

Calvin first visited Advanced Rejuvenation last June. On the advice of a friend, he went there looking to learn about the treatments they offer. By the time he left, he was convinced his best option was to skip surgery and give stem cell therapy a try. Two days later, he made an appointment to have the stem cell injections.

Stock photo from iStockphoto.com.Pain Free Again

Calvin received his stem cell injections last July. He distinctly remembers a day about three weeks later when he woke up, got out of bed and realized the agonizing knee pain he was so accustomed to feeling was suddenly less intense. That pain continued to dissipate over the next few weeks to a point where now, he no longer feels it at all.

“I have been pain free for close to a year now,” Calvin enthuses. “And it’s not like I haven’t been testing my knees. As soon as I started feeling better, I got back on the golf course, and it wasn’t long after that that I started playing a little tennis again. I’m still only playing doubles to lessen the impact, but I’ll be playing singles again soon.”

Taylor’s activity level has been given a boost from stem cell therapy as well. After agreeing to the treatment and receiving an injection into his right knee last January, he felt good enough to begin a light walking regimen last March. Now, he’s jogging lightly on a treadmill for about 30 minutes three days a week.

“Because of the work I did for so long, I was always in pretty good shape and never really had a problem with my weight,” Taylor explains. “That changed as my knee pain increased. I must have put on twenty pounds or more during that time, but I’ve lost most of what I gained since my knee pain has disappeared and I’ve started working out.

“I just feel a whole lot better overall since I had the stem cell therapy. It’s really changed my life. My knee pain had become like a constant companion, something I was always wrestling with no matter what I was doing. Now, I don’t feel it at all, and let me tell you, I don’t miss it either. I feel great.”

Taylor chose to have the stem cell therapy in part because he knows two people who had bad experiences with knee replacement surgery. He says one of those friends had to have the surgery repeated while the other has yet to regain the kind of pain-free functionality Taylor has. That’s why he says he’d recommend stem cell therapy to anyone.

“And I highly recommend they get it done at Advanced Rejuvenation,” he says. “The whole staff there is great. They do a tremendous job of explaining the therapy and how it works and what to expect, and they were right on the mark with me. I’m so glad I chose stem cell therapy over surgery. This was so much easier, and I feel fabulous.”

Calvin echoes those sentiments. He says that from the moment his consultation began, he was impressed with the staff and their attention to detail. He says he can see now why many consider stem cell therapy the wave of the future in terms of eliminating debilitating joint pain.

“The folks at Advanced Rejuvenation know what they’re doing, and they do it exceptionally well,” he raves. “I’ve already recommended them to a couple of friends, and I’ve told them all, before you go see a doctor who will probably recommend surgery, save yourself some time and frustration and go to Advanced Rejuvenation first. They’ll take care of you the right way.”

*Patient’s names withheld at their request.
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