Stem Cell Therapy Going Mainstream

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GRAPEVINE (CBS11) – Plano police officer Jennifer Chapman is trim, fit, and athletic—but, she struggled to maintain that pace. Injured chasing a suspect, she was left with two failing knees, and all before 40.

“Even when standing here, my knee,” explains Chapman with a wince, “it’s almost like a burning sensation, it’s like throbbing. It feels swollen, like I need to constantly move it around.”

When therapy failed to provide relief, she began considering other options. Knee replacement surgery would eventually need to be repeated. So her research eventually led her to Regenexx: a process that puts her own stem cells to work repairing the damage.

“It’s absolutely a revolution,” says Venkatesh Movva, MD, at his Grapevine office. “We start the process of extracting stem cells from the bone marrow. We take it from the back of the hip… that’s a big reservoir of stem cells,” explains Dr. Movva. “Then we process them, concentrate them, and we re-inject those cells back into that cartilage, ligament, tendon, joint (whatever the point of injury), under x-ray guidance or ultrasound guidance.”

Regenexx avoids legal issues by using the patient’s own stem cells that are neither store nor preserved, “So they can regenerate some of that cartilage, or tendon that’s been torn or worn out,” says Dr. Movva.

The entire process is handled in house.

Post injection, the patient goes home and can resume normal activities within just a few days.

Patients are given guidance on exercises to avoid re-injury and the recovery is careful. Officer Chapman had the procedure in October of last year and we’ve been following her recovery.

The only question that matters, is was it worth it?

“Oh, absolutely,” she says. “I suffered longer than I needed to. I would do it 100 times over again. The results were night and day.”

Still, doctors caution that the procedure is not for everyone: some patient’s injuries are too advanced. It can also be pricey—roughly $7,000 and is right now not covered by insurance.

Chapman, too, encourages patients to do their research. But, right now she is relishing having pain free days and looks forward to having more of them.

“Before I had the procedure, I couldn’t work out at all… and if I did it would take me a week to two weeks to recover.  Now, it’s just a couple of days, which is normal. I’m getting back into that routine and building up the muscles to get back where I was.”

And although she’s still following doctor’s orders on her recovery, when she works out now and feels ‘the burn’…it’s not because of two bad knees.

“I’m looking to seeing where I’m at in 4 months.”

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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