Knee Replacement Question

Here is a question from a tennis player who is getting ready for his first knee replacement surgery in one month …

Stem Cells Help?

Hi George,

I wonder if you might be able to help me, or maybe some of your readers can. I am having a total knee replacement in a month. My Dr. advises that along with the surgery, he is going to do a draw and get stem cells together and add that to the new knee.

He advises that this will reduce the amount of pain, increase the healing process, and reduce the rehab time.

Does anyone have any knowledge of this? Anyone have it done and can advise if this is a good procedure to add to the knee replacement? Insurance does not cover it, but it would be worth it to me if it does all that it claims to.

Thank you for any information or advice.

David Spahn

Any advice for him?

CAT II Finals

Noble and I took to the court Friday vs. #2 seeds Hank Irvine and Evert Jonsson.  While we were still glowing in the aftermath of yesterday upset of the #1 seeded team of Thomson and Thomas (who faced off earlier in the morning in the 75 singles finals), Hank/Evert took it right to us.

Hank Irvine is a fine player on an average day; but Friday he made ZERO UNFORCED ERRORS.  Tough to beat that … and we didn’t.

But it was an excellent three weeks of tournaments for Noble and me: we won all three of our round robin divisions not losing a match; made it to two semi-finals, losing both times to the teams that won the championship, and, in the last tournament, beat the #1 seeds to make it to the finals.

Here are all the finals, with some surprising results…

Hank Irvine, Evert Jonsson, Linda Meyer, me, Noble
Men’s 60 Singles
F (1) Mark Vines d. (2) Dan Waldman 6-4; 6-1
Men’s 65 Singles
F (1) Joaquim Rasgado d. (2) David Robbins Tien 6-1; 6-2
Men’s 70 Singles
F (2) Michael Beautyman d. (1) Larry Turville 6-2; 5-7; 6-3
Men’s 75 Singles
F (3) Jerry Thomas d. (2) Hugh Thomson 6-3; 6-4
Men’s 80 Singles
F (1) Frank Hagelshaw d. (2) Joseph Bachmann 5-7; 6-1; 6-4
Men’s 85 Singles
F (1) Gordon Hammes d. Roland Fuentes 6-2; 6-1
Men’s 90 Singles
F Richard Emmert d. (1) Don Phillips 6-2; 6-3
Men’s 55 Doubles Final Draw
F Garcia/Knestrick d. Collins/Williamson 2-6; 6-3Ret (inj)
Men’s 60 Doubles Final Draw
F Jones/Jordan d. Koelling/Shepherd 6-4; 3-6; 6-2
Men’s 65 Doubles Final Draw
F (2) Ashley/Richardson d. (1) Landauer/Tien 6-4; 6-4
Men’s 70 Doubles Final Draw
F (1) Newman/Turville d. (2) Kimball/Rogers 6-3; 2-6; 6-3
PL Dalphon/Wilkie d. Bailey/Geraci 6-2; 6-2
Men’s 75 Doubles Final Draw
F (2) Irvine/Jonsson d. Hendrix/Wachtel 6-1; 6-0
PL (1) Thomas/Thomson d. Drilling/Kileff 7-5; 7-6(4)
Men’s 80 Doubles Final Draw
F (2) Davie/Fenster d. (1) Anderman/Hagelshaw 4-6; 7-5; 6-4

For any other results, just click HERE

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8 thoughts on “Knee Replacement Question

  1. @David,
    While I have never tried the stem cell treatment, I can tell you from experience that if you are willing to accept that you will not be fully recovered until approximately 12 months, you have a pretty good tolerance for the initial pain (it starts about five days after surgery after you stop the oxy and continues for a week or so) and do pre and extensive post rehab, I can’t believe that the stem cell treatment would add that much. But if money is no object, you have nothing to lose. I was able to start hitting with slow movement at about six months out. I am now completely healed (13 months out) and the knee feels very good. will know more in the next 6 months as I get back into a full doubles schedule on clay only. Due to a full shoulder replacement at 7 months from my knee surgery, it has delayed my start until now. I will be 67 in March, having been play for about 25 years and I was a low 4.0. Good luck!!

    David, thanks for your personal experience advise! george

  2. Hi George,
    I had a total knee replacement several years ago, no mention was made of stem cell treatment, and it has worked out very well. On the other hand I am scheduled for a full shoulder replacement in March and the surgeon has strongly advised using the stem cell treatment ( technically referred to as Bone MarrowAspirate Concentrate or BMAC) as a way of moderating pain, accelerating healing, increasing strength, and enhancing the chances of long term success. In response to questions he said that it’s been his experience and the research thus far suggests that those who use the technique fare better than those who don’t. While I have no first hand experience, at this stage of my life, if there is a chance it will bring about better results, it’s worth it. I plan on giving it the ok.
    Rick Wright

    Rick, sounds like very little downside risk. thanks, george

  3. I had my total knee replacement 10 years and stem cells didn’t come into the conversation with my docs at that time. As it turned out, I had to go back into surgery a month after the replacement for a procedure called MUA or Manipulation Under Anesthesia. Your question piqued my interest on the subject and I found this article on using stem cells with your TKR. Best of Luck!!

    Jim, thanks for the link. george

  4. I tried stem cells in both hips a year prior to hip replacement–The benefit was minimal and short-lived. That being said, much of the data supports better success with knees than with other joints so I would recommend trying it for knees.

    Doc, thanks for your words of medical wisdom! george

  5. When I had my double replacement in 2007 stem cell was not available. Dr Bertram had a proprietary procedure which included injection of my own tissue along with anti inflammatory pain killer. Different from others I had heard from, I had no pain or swelling in either knee after surgery. I was jogging on a tread mill in 7 weeks and hitting 8-9 weeks. I later tried stem cell for wrist and my wife for knee with no success. A fellow tennis player, Doug McCrea, swears by it but says the best place is Regenexx in Sarasota/Tampa.

    Doug, good advice. thanks, george

  6. Have had knee replacements in February of 2015 and August of 2019. Was ready for tournament play within two months both times. Did my own “physical therapy”. Extremely skeptical of the stem cell thing. My sense is that knee replacement has almost become a commodity and the results have become extremely predictable. Adding “magic” to it would seem to me gilding the lily.

    As for post op pain, my surgeon for the second surgery had this weird protocol involving seven different pills that started prior to the surgery. Very weird, but it *worked*. Never went through any significant post op pain for that surgery. OTOH, experienced horrific post op pain after a shoulder surgery.

    Gonna be making a decision this week about whether to continue with the sport. Seeing the wrist surgeon for a final decision on Wednesday to see about removal of three wrist bones and having some cadaver skin stuck in the area. Would *love* to know if anybody out there has had any experience with proximal row carpectomy (PRC).

    Kevin, tennis without you would not be the same! Best wishes. george

  7. George –
    It was nice running into you a couple weeks back. My take on this subject really has nothing to do with stem cells, but another method that I had to figure out on my own and thought I would share. Last year I had a tear in my knee that was fixed in February and before it ever healed found out I needed a partial replacement in the same knee in August. Needless to say, no tennis in 2019. After the second surgery and about 4 months of rehab, I had pins and needles feel that I could not shake. What I figured out was that I had a lot of scar tissue that needed broken up. PT does nothing for this. At our club we have a message therapist that I started with the beginning of December and in the last couple of weeks am back up to three times a week on the courts.
    I hope this helps someone who has been struggling as I was.
    PS They did offer the stem cell option but I was probably too cheap to pick up that bill. They did spin the plasma out of a very large tube of blood they took from me before the surgery, but have no clue if it helped or not.

    Dave, thanks for your first-hand experience. george

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