Coping with knee pain once was a way of life for Robert Waggoner, 62, a retired probation officer.
“I had pain in my left knee as the day progressed,” said Waggoner. “It was difficult going up and down stairs and if I exercised for an extended period of time, it became painful.”
The south Toledo resident tried shots, glucosamine supplements, arthritis medications and therapy, but none of that seemed to make a significant difference. Despite an MRI indicating extensive damage to his knee, he was reluctant to have knee replacement surgery.
One visit with his doctor changed all that.
Waggoner was happy to learn from his doctor, Roger Kruse, MD, ProMedica Physicians, that he was a viable candidate for a non-surgical procedure called Regenexx-SDTM that uses his own stem cells to repair injuries.
“Stem cells become many different things depending on where you place them,” said Dr. Kruse. “We can use the Regenexx family of advanced regenerative medicine procedures for osteoarthritis of the knee, hip or shoulders. We can also use it for tennis elbow, jumper’s knee or Achilles tendonitis.”
Bone marrow cells were removed from Waggoner’s hip in a 30-minute procedure. The cells were processed, and injected into his knee later that day. Waggoner was able to go home shortly after with instructions to limit his activity for a day or two.
“I wore a brace for six weeks,” said Waggoner. “I could walk, do my normal activities and even ride a bike. After eight weeks, I was free to do whatever I wanted.”
Dr. Kruse said, “The benefits of regenerative medicine are that it’s your own body healing itself so it’s safer and much less risky than major surgery. Plus there’s not much downtime.”
Waggoner said friends and family were surprised by how much more he was now able to do after having the Regenexx procedure. He can run for several miles at a time and go up and down stairs without any pain.
ProMedica is the only health system in Ohio that offers the advanced regenerative medicine procedures. Most stem cell procedures currently cost $6,000 and the platelet rich plasma procedure costs $900.
“While it’s expensive, I would tell others to look at this as an alternative before you decide to have a knee replacement or partial knee replacement,” said Waggoner.
If you think you may be a candidate for Regenexx, visit www.promedica.org/regenerativemedicine for more information and to fill out a contact form.