Disease treated: Knee arthritis, edema and osteonecrosis of the left knee
I have been an active athlete all my life and frequently enjoyed water skiing, tennis, alpine skiing and jogging. I have suffered from recurring knees problems for the past 10 years. The first problem in my left knee appeared in 1998 with a knee-locking syndrome. An arthroscopy showed that my femur’s condyle cartilage was damaged, so the treating physician proceeded with debridement and some Pridie drilling. I was fine and free of pain for the next 5 years and I was able to maintain my pre-treatment activity levels.
“The post-treatment MRI showed a distinct decrease of the subchondral edema.”
However, severe knee pain returned in 2003 and the MRI showed further deterioration of the cartilage. Another arthroscopy with debridement and some Pridie drilling was performed, during which my treating physician noticed that the problem was more severe than anticipated. The cartilage of the inner condyle and the trochlea was severely damaged. The lesions were approximately 12 and 10 squarecentimeters respectively. My Doctor recommended osteotomy to reduce the stress on the condyle but I wanted to wait and seek less invasive solutions.
In February 2004, I decided to proceed with an Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation; a very complicated and delicate surgery which lasted about 10 hours. During this procedure about 26 Millionchondrocytes were implanted. Then I underwent a rehabilitation program for about 1 year. A follow-up arthroscopy in February 2005 showed that 100% of the condyle and about 80 % of the trochlea cartilage had re-grown. Afterward however, I discontinued my active sports life and, as a consequence, gained about 20 kg.
Stem cell therapy
The knee started to hurt severely again in 2008. An MRI confirmed an edema and an osteonecrosis of the femoral condyle. I was told that an artificial knee might be my only option, but a relative of mine who is a research professor advised me to wait a little for further progress of new autologous adult stem cell therapies that seemed very promising to him. At that point, I began to investigate this subject.
When the orthopedist saw my MRI, he was not particularly positive about the possible outcome and confirmed the difficult situation of my knee. But he too advised me to give it a try. I agreed and after collecting a small amount of bone marrow and separating the stem cells from it at a cGMP laboratory, he injected them into my knee.
Pre-treatment MRI with subchondral edema.
Post-treatment MRI with decreased subchondral edema.
Post-treatment MRI (After 2 years)
The post-treatment MRI showed a distinct decrease of the subchondral edema. Prior to my stem cell treatment I was neither able to walk nor drive a car without pain medication. I immediately stopped taking the pain medication after therapy and my pain diminished. I was able to run 50 meters a few weeks ago, which is tremendous progress for me.
Currently, I am trying to lose the excess weight. To me stem cell therapy seemed like the best, last resort. Compared to the more invasive, time consuming, physically straining surgical options that were offered to me, stem cell therapy appears to be a minimally invasive, cost effective procedure that has brought me excellent results.