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Mike’s Musings: Stem cell injections – so far, so good

Well, I did it. I had a few million stem cells injected into my right knee as an alternative to knee surgery.
As many of you know, in a column a few months ago I asked readers whether they had had the surgery and what their experience was. I received more emails and mailed letters than I can ever recall getting from a column subject. I am very appreciative, particularly from those writers that provided alternatives to knee surgery and stem cell injections.
In the end I went forward with stem cells last Monday. Here’s how it went. I arrived at the clinic and was whisked into a waiting room. A PA came in and asked the usual medical questions even though I had filled out all my medical history online. I was then escorted to a surgical area, told to lay on my stomach.
Here is where they harvested the stem cells. The PA administered bio freeze over the lower back from which they were going to take stem cells. Then a small tube/needle was injected to grab millions from the affected area. Easy peasy as they say. No pain and they grabbed about 20,000,000 stem cells in 20 minutes.
Next, I was taken to another waiting room where I was fitted for a knee brace. The contraption seemed cumbersome, and we questioned whether it would do what we had expected. In earlier consultations we were told a brace would be worn to push the inside of my knee outwards, because in my case my knee has a pronounced inward bent. The fitter was adamant he had the right brace, and all would work out.
After a half hour of that, the doctor came in and we had a lengthy conversation on what he was about to do. We then went back into the surgical room, and he used a needle to inject about 8,000,000 stem cells in my bad knee, and for good measure injected another 6,000,000 in my good knee. The whole procedure took less than 15 minutes without any more pain than the cortisone shots many of us get.
The remaining stem cells that were harvested from lower back were sent to a cryogenic lab where they will be frozen for future use. You can use them to treat arthritis on any part of your body. Heck, some people use them to treat cancer. But they are there for safe keeping now until I want to use them again.
I found the whole experience fascinating and extremely easy. Of course, the cost is not easy to swallow, and most insurances will not pay anything towards the procedure. I could immediately feel more strength in my knee and over the weekend I noticed my limp had disappeared. I was walking normally for the first time in three years. However, I still have difficulty with my first few steps, after sitting in a chair for a while, however, I suspect that will subside soon. The full effect of the injections won’t be noticed for a few months so I can’t wait.
But about that brace. My knee is still pointed inwards. I have asked for a new brace because I believe the one, I was fitted with is counterproductive. It is pushing my knee further inwards. I’m sure once I get the right brace and wear it for an extended period – six to eight weeks, my knee will straighten.
Until then I am enjoying the preliminary results of the injection. Would I recommend it to everyone? Let’s see how I feel in a couple of months.

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