The First Cut…

I’ve gone under the knife too many times to count. A ripped ACL in my right knee replaced with a new one plus a titanium pin. Many years later a torn meniscus left knee, oh and back surgery L5 S1
thank you very much.

So when I started having pain in my left knee about a month ago that feeling of dread came over me because this time I vow to Not go under the knife again. After both my knee surgeries – it took me 6 months to a year to fully recover even with physical therapy. But the problem with the “first
Cut” is that when one knee is injured the body relies on the other to pick up the slack and lo and behold about 10 years after I tore my ACL doing thae bo in my living room – I was racing down the stairs when all of sudden a wrenching pain disabled me and I knew I had torn something in my left knee –

Recovering from the torn meniscus was easier and faster but due to both knees being injured I developed my unusual gait – a mix of limp and a hop-a-long Cassidy. So back to the present, I did my research while I was in Miami and asked a few medical professionals what was new in the world of orthopedics. To my delight there is one significant one:

The Good News for Bad Knees

Stem cell therapies are being used to treat athletes and it involves Plasma Rich Protein injections. Basically in layman’s terms, cells are extracted from your own blood plasma and then are injected into injured knees and in theory and practice helps regenerate worn out cartilage?

Depends on who you ask:

Stem cell therapies are also being used to treat cancers like leukemia in certain oncology centers on the cutting edge of research. But the bad news for patients is that Most insurance companies refuse to cover these stem cell treatments – leaving patients like me with little choice but to endure knee replacements and lengthy down times. For cancer patients you need to qualify for clinical trials – good luck with that.

Why I wonder won’t insurance companies pay for these treatments? I believe, its to keep surgeons employed- the haters gonna hate and cutters gonna cut. Done deal.

As a matter of fact I’m one of those patients that some doctors hate. An informed one. So when I asked my current Orthopedic surgeon about these treatments. I was met with extreme opposition. These treatments don’t work he said. I countered but in Miami they are using them often on sports teams to good effect. “Only for tendonitis he replied. “Stem cell therapies don’t work on other forms of knee pain.” Case closed. He then suggested I take an anti-inflammatory (Mobic). No thank you – I won’t take anything that makes me gain weight.” He was getting visibly annoyed with me. I’d like to try physical therapy (rehab) again I said. From the peanut gallery “she isn’t a doctor but she plays one on Tv,” my husband said. Sexism in Medicine I was being doubled teamed.

“Was I taking any otc meds (over the counter) he asked? “Yes aspirin the most effective, followed by Advil, and Aleve” I replied. You need to stick with one he said. Take 2 Aleve in the morning and two at night. He gave me a script for 30 days of rehab, and one for an mri – after the mri we’ll reassess where I stand or kneel as the case may be.

I say its time for Insurance companies to stop Saying No to regenerative medicine. After all, at Wake Forest Medical school they are growing human organs in the lab – human organs! and they work. Since Lab grown organs are no longer science fiction why can’t scientists start growing cartilage using the same technique? Thus saving knees, hips elbows rotators cuffs etc..unnecessary replacements.

It’s time for insurance companies and the medical community to say yes to stem cell therapies instead of always paying surgeons to cut you open. After all, Rod Stewart said it best: “the first cut is the deepest,” and the most lasting.

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