Adventures in stem cell based regenerative medicine—Part 2: The first injections

Phase 1 of the injection process begins with injecting a Dextrose solution into the targeted areas to induce an inflammatory response. It is a fairly “simple” procedure, but also a bit of a painful one.

Laying on my side, Dr. Attaman uses an ultrasound device to zero in on where the problem areas are. In my case, there were six:

  • RIGHT supraspinatus tendon
  • subscapularis insertion
  • biceps tendon
  • AC joint
  • SLAP tear
  • inferior labrum

Dr. Attaman is a jazz man apparently. He put on some Jazz music while he worked, which I thought was almost funny. I thought only doctors in movies did that. 🙂

For each location, the doctor first injects some numbing compound, and then injects the solution. While I was being used as a dart board, I asked the doctor: “Do you think this will ever become a standard treatment?”

His answer was interesting:

“I think maybe in about 10 years. The biggest problem is that no large pharmaceutical companies or device manufacturers are lobbying for it to be widely accepted. I heard about one company that might be making an effort because they have a sort of generic stem cell solution they are creating.”

Interesting. So unless there’s someone who can patent/sell something to make money off of the procedure, it may as well be considered voodoo by the insurance industry.  

Never mind the fact that the procedure itself costs a fraction of what orthopedic surgery would cost.

And then we’re done

Anyway, some of the injections were pretty painful despite the numbing agent, particularly the bicep tendon and inferior labrum. My shoulder was definitely stiff and sore for the rest of the day, but still functional. 2-days later it feels almost normal…just in time for another round of pokes tomorrow.

After the initial process was completed I was sent on my way home, to return on August 4th for the bone marrow aspiration and then re-injection of the solution that will hopefully begin the healing process. I was also given a one month supply of Regenexx supplements to supposedly assist with the overall recovery process once it’s complete: a Glucosamine/Chondroitin drink mix, fish oil capsules, and Turmeric complex. (None of these are anything you couldn’t pick up at Costco or supplement store, but I guess they are included in the cost of the procedure.)

Phase 2: Bone marrow aspiration and later re-injection of the solution begins tomorrow (August 4th).


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