HealthWatch: Regenerative Medicine

Health Watch

Aurora BayCare Medical Center offers cutting edge regenerative medicine.

The treatments could be the answer for those who are in pain from acute or chronic tendon, ligament or joint injuries- are not candidates for surgery and nothing else is working. It could help reduce pain and improve function.

Jean Healy has always been very active, “Do a lot of hiking, biking, anything, anything outdoors,” said Healy.

Which is how she got injured last August while playing softball, “Running after a fly ball, hit the ground and just excruciating pain the knee kind of hyper extended,” explained Jean.

Jean went to her doctor, “I think we were checking mostly the knee. Did I tear anything in the knee? Nothing. And he said give it a few weeks,” said Jean.

But it wasn’t healing, “I could walk on it a little bit but I couldn’t stand in one position for a long time, I couldn’t walk more than two or three blocks,” said Jean.

So her doctor took an MRI which showed, “Evidence of a likely tendon tear,” explained Ryan Woods, MD, orthopedic sports medicine, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

She was sent to see orthopedic sports medicine doctor Ryan Woods at Aurora BayCare Medical Center who took a diagnostic ultrasound of the injury, “It showed a high grade partial thickness tendon injury to the distal hamstring,” explained Dr. Woods.

Dr. Woods says since the torn tendon wasn’t fully torn off, Jean wasn’t a candidate for surgery. She tried physical therapy to see if the injury would heal itself. She got a little more flexibility but, “Couldn’t walk up and down stairs, couldn’t just walk 3 to 4 blocks so the pain was excruciating,” said Jean.

So Dr. Woods suggested regenerative medicine, “Regenerative medicine refers to treatments that use orthopedic biologics, is how I prefer to say it, materials to basically jump start a repair or healing process by using kinda natural mechanisms,” explained Dr. Woods.

Jean had two options. A bone marrow stem cell injection or a platelet rich plasma injection. Jean chose the latter. Dr. Woods injected Jean’s own platelets under ultrasound guidance into her tendon tear, “So the platelets that we decided to use came from her own blood what the platelets do is they go into areas of injury and jump start a new repair process they deliver the growth factors that the body uses naturally to try to repair injured tissue,” explained Dr. Woods.

Jean says after the procedure she could do a lot more in physical therapy, “We got back on doing the hamstring machine, doing squats,” said Jean.

Nearly 10 months after surgery, Dr. Woods says the injury is still in a remodeling phase but Jean says the pain is gone and she is back to enjoying much of her active lifestyle, “Now I’m up to running about a mile and a half, kayaking, biking,” said Jean, “I am very pleased with what, it was miraculous.”

And although Dr. Woods says her tendon will most likely never be 100-percent– Jean is glad she got the procedure, “My goal is to be able to do everything I could before which would be like the softball,” said Jean.

Aurora BayCare was one of the first medical facilities in the area to offer these biologic treatments.

To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email healthwatch@aurorabaycare.com.

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