Avoiding Joint Surgery

Regenerative therapies optimize health, restore arthritic knees.

Even at the age of 64, Elizabeth Liburdi still loves the nightlife. Put her in a club with a live band or DJ, and no matter the genre of music that’s playing, she’ll ride the energy like a surfer riding a wave and dance the night away.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Elizabeth has resumed her active lifestyle.

“I love dancing to all kinds of music, from disco to hip-hop or whatever it is the kids are dancing to these days,” Elizabeth says. “I love being out on the dance floor, so I usually get out to the clubs four, five or six times a month if I can.”

A retired electrologist, Elizabeth also enjoys swimming, water aerobics and cooking, but there was a time not too long ago when aggravating knee pain prohibited her from doing most, if not all, of those activities.

“I was completely restricted from just about everything for about two years,” Elizabeth confirms. “And it all started about 15 years ago, when I had thoracic surgery. After the surgery, I developed fibromyalgia, and from there, my health declined.”

During her decline, Elizabeth suffered a ruptured colon, a hernia and severe arthritis in her knees. It was while she was being treated for her ruptured colon that she read an article about stem cell treatment and began considering that as an option for her knees.

“I was told I needed to have replacement surgery on both knees, but I had it in my mind that I was going to do the stem cell therapy where they use donor cells from umbilical cords instead,” Elizabeth says.

“I was really hooked on doing that, but then I read this article in Florida Health Care News about Regenerative Biologics Institute and the way they do stem cells. After reading that, I decided to go see what they had to say.”

Signature Treatment

Regenerative Biologics Institute (RBI) is one of the few clinics in the country that has both stem cell scientists and physicians working together to ensure patients get the best possible stem cell therapy.
During her first visit to the practice, Elizabeth met with Jason Griffeth, MS, a stem cell scientist who explained why choosing RBI over a facility offering stem cells from umbilical cords would be her best option.

“The claims that some clinics make that they can do a simple injection of umbilical cord stem cells and rebuild cartilage to the way it was when you were a kid are false, misleading and have never been supported by any scientific publication,” Jason says.

“Some patients may want to believe that because it’s the easiest injection anyone can perform. But it simply isn’t true. In fact, according to top scientists, these birth tissue therapies don’t even contain live stem cells.

“Some of them do contain growth factors which can be beneficial when combined with living cells from a patients’ own body. RBI is one of the only clinics in the country that offers this combination.

“At RBI, our signature treatment is TruGenta Injection Therapy, which uses mesenchymal stem cells. We retrieve millions of those cells from the patient and combine them with platelet-rich plasma [PRP] taken from the patient’s blood.”

“My knees feel great. . . . I’m dancing and enjoying life again. That would not be possible without the stem cell treatment from Regenerative Biologics Institute.” Elizabeth

Mesenchymal stem cells are naturally programmed to heal and repair soft tissue and work in several steps, Jason informs. Once injected into the area of need, such as a knee, hip or shoulder joint, they adhere to the local tissues and bone and begin to replicate.

The stem cells then crowd the area and start to fuse together. This fusion can potentially result in the formation of new tissue. Adding the PRP and other bioactive growth factors further stimulates the mesenchymal stem cells to grow within the joints.

To enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome, patients at RBI are typically guided through a pre-injection optimization period during which their bodies are prepped for the stem cell injection, which is administered through real-time ultrasound guidance.

This optimization period, which usually takes a couple weeks to complete, is designed in large part to reduce inflammation throughout the body because inflammation can reduce the number of stem cells that survive.

Felice Haake, DO, creates each patient’s individualized optimization program. Those programs often include peptide therapy, an emerging regenerative treatment that naturally optimizes a patient’s health and well-being.

“Peptides are small proteins that are natural to us,” Dr. Haake explains. “We call them cell-signaling molecules, which means they’re little amino acids bound by peptide bonds that connect to a receptor on a cell and basically tell the cell what to do.

“I sometimes use a gardening analogy when talking about peptides because they allow us to get the soil right when we combine them with the TruGenta injections. There are peptides for pretty much every ailment, and they do a multitude of things.”

What a Difference

Elizabeth was so impressed with RBI’s presentation that she abandoned her original plan to undergo therapy using cells from umbilical cords and agreed almost immediately after meeting with Jason and
Dr. Haake to receive the TruGenta treatment.

“I was so impressed that before we even left the RBI parking lot, I said to my husband, I think we should get this done here because I like these people so much better than the other place,” Elizabeth reveals. “He said, I agree; you should do it here.

Elizabeth’s treatment began with a three-week optimization phase. She then received her stem cell injection in August 2019, and soon thereafter, the effect of the stem cell injections really kicked in.
“My knees began to feel a little better shortly after I received the stem cell injections,” she says. “But it was after I got the platelet-rich plasma injections that I really noticed a difference. And, oh, what a difference.

“I was in New York in January 2020 to see another doctor for this hernia I had, so I’m walking in New York, which is one thing. But at one point, we had to get on the subway, and to get to the subway, we had to go down this long flight of stairs.

“Before RBI’s treatment, I needed to stop at each step on a flight of stairs because my knees hurt so bad. So I’m thinking, All right, here we go, and I get halfway down the stairs, and I’m feeling pretty good. So then I start walking down the stairs like a normal person.

“At first, I was like, Wow, look at this, and then I got all the way down the stairs, and my husband is just ahead of me. I decided to turn around and went back up the stairs, came back down again and didn’t feel a thing. I couldn’t believe it.

“When I finally got back to my husband, he was wondering where I went, and when I told him, he couldn’t believe it. If you had told me before that I was going to have to walk two flights of stairs, I would have cried. There was no way I could have done that.

“But now, my knees feel great. And the peptides even allowed me to quit the CELEBREX® I was taking for my fibromyalgia. I’m dancing and enjoying life again. That would not be possible without the stem cell treatment from Regenerative Biologics Institute.”

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