Kobe Bryant has done it; Payton Manning has used it, and you can as well.
People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are easing joint pain in their knees, hips and shoulders using their own stem cells.
“I started having knee problems when I was 38 years old,” said Betty Hudson, who has lived an active life for 71 years.
“I broke my knee skiing,” recalled Hudson, who has since been through surgery and steroid injections. But, when arthritis sets in, she could barely walk. So she tried something else — fat stem cell treatment.
“That's where we get the healing,” said Dr. Bill Johnson. He takes adult stem cells from your own fat, concentrates them, then puts them into an area that doesn’t heal well on its own.
“We're able to concentrate those healing cells and get healing and rejuvenation where, left to themselves, those tissues can't,” said Johnson.
Injured cells release messengers called growth factors, which attract stem cells to where the damage is telling them what to do.
News 8 watched the stem cell retrieval process up-close which took no more than 15 minutes. It takes longer to separate the stem cells. The final step is injecting them back into the knees, hips or shoulders, for instance. Then, the patient can go home.
“We went to the [State] Fair yesterday, and I walked about five miles and I had no pain in my knee,” said Hudson, who had the procedure twice—the first, more than three years ago. She said her left knee is now completely back in commission and her travel schedule is packed. She recently took a family cruise to Ireland.
“When I got off the ship, I walked on this cobblestone street and the pedometer said I walked 6 miles that day and I did it virtually pain free,” said Hudson.
She is even planning to get back on skis this winter for the first time in more than 30 years.
I'll probably take it easy because of my age and my other bones,” she laughed. “But not because of my left knee.”