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Stem Cells and PRP saved my knee!

Lois O. sat on the bench in front of the Tower of London wondering how she let this happen. After retiring as a school teacher, she and her husband planned a trip a year; this year being England, Ireland and Scotland…and here she was… again on the bench due to the severe knee pain she was experiencing.

As her husband walked off to enjoy the attraction that she would need to experience watching the video he recorded, she vowed to seriously commit to researching the best orthopedic surgeon in New York to save her knee as soon as she returned home.

Besides traveling, Lois lives in NYC where walking is a necessity as well as the most convenient mode of transportation in many daily situations.

Lois returned from her trip exhausted and determined to find the best knee surgeon in NY. She received a referral to Dr. Steven Struhl from one of his patients who had a successful partial knee replacement. After meeting with Dr. Struhl and discussing her best plan for treatment, they decided that rather than have knee surgery she could be a good candidate for a non-surgical treatment of both stem cell therapy followed up with PRP injections.

Needless to say, a non-surgical treatment intrigued Lois, however she was unfamiliar with what stem cell injections entailed.  Dr. Struhl explained that Stem cells are the only cells in the body able to morph into other types of specialized cells.  When the patient’s own stem cells are injected into a damaged joint, they appear to transform into chondrocytes, the cells that go on to produce fresh cartilage.  Additionally, they seem to amplify the body’s own natural repair efforts by accelerating healing, reducing inflammation, and preventing scarring and loss of function.

“Since the stem cells come from your own body, there’s little chance of infection or rejection. Stem cell injections are done on an outpatient basis and tend to have a quick and easy recovery.”, explained Dr. Struhl.

Five weeks after the initial stem cell injection and one PRP injection, Lois woke up and thought, “What do I feel?  NOTHING!”  The unbearable pain that Lois had to suffer through every day disappeared.  “This has made a dramatic impact on my life and I can go out without suffering!”, cheerfully explained Lois.

Dr. Steven Struhl keeps an open mind to explore the best possible solution for someone to get back to his or her active life.  Dr. Struhl proves that the first option does not always require surgery.

Dr. Struhl’s pointers knee injuries during a hike

If you live in the state of New York, chances are you do a lot of walking.  Whether it’s daily living in the city or hiking some of Westchester County’s beautiful trails, at some point it is not uncommon for the everyday New Yorker to experience knee pain or suffer a knee injury.  Dr. Steven Struhl M.D., a NYU faculty member and one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Westchester County and NYC provides some insight if a knee injury occurs while one is hiking.

Here, in Westchester County, we are lucky to have some fabulous hiking trails that I encourage everyone to explore.  One of my favorites is Westmoreland Sanctuary, near Mount Kisco, this forest contains ponds and cascading streams, and is a perfect way to spend a day getting away from it all.

I would like to give you some pointers as what you should do if you experience knee pain on a trail. 

  • Apply ice (if possible)
  • Try to find a walking aid such as a stick or a walking pole
  • Get help (depending on severity)
  • If severe, try to make a makeshift splint

To insure that one remains injury free during a hike it is best to pick a terrain that is suited to your ability level.

So if you are testing your hiking skills climbing Anthony’s Nose (part of the Appalachian Trail) or enjoying an easy stroll along the Mianus River Gorge Preserve, keep in mind that Dr. Steven Struhl’s 23 years of sports medicine experience can help you with any tumble you may have experienced on that trail.

Dr. Struhl leverages the most up-to-date techniques to provide the best treatment from non-surgical options (stem cell injections and PRP therapy) to using robotics to perform partial knee replacements.  So contact either Dr. Struhl’s Westchester or NYC office today to get you back to enjoying the great outdoors here in Westchester County.

NY Yankee Masahiro Tanaka….Is PRP the answer?

As we all know, star Yankee rookie pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has been diagnosed with a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) in his elbow.  Monday we will all hear if he will need surgery or not.

The one bright side to the news was that the three doctors who looked at Tanaka’s MRI said that it was only a partial tear, about 10% or so. These doctors all ruled in consensus that he should receive a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, and that afterward he should start a throwing program that could potentially bring him back to the mound in six weeks if all goes well.

Dr. Steven Struhl’s input:

According to Dr. Steven Struhl, MD, NYU Faculty Orthopedic Surgeon and Board Certified physician, “… it’s not a matter of whether they [PRP injections] work or not; it’s a matter of how much damage is too much damage to expect any non-surgical treatment, whether it be PRP or anything else (such as stem cell therapy) to be able to work. At some point the level of damage exceeds a nonsurgical solution. ….”

Since the damage to Tanaka’s UCL is less than 10%, PRP therapy was a valid consideration prior to UCL surgery.

Not just for professional athletes

You can potentially treat any part of the body that has a ligament, tendon or muscle tear with PRP. Sports oriented/active patients who do not want to settle for surgery and want to get back to the sports they enjoy can also benefit from PRP injections.  They have been utilized for tendon injuries such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, jumper’s knee and hamstring tendons.  PRP can also be injected into muscles and is used sometimes to treat bursitis, meniscus tears, rotator cuff tear, ankle sprain and both hip and knee osteoarthritis.

PRP Therapy – Platelet Growth Factors

Platelets are a natural source of a myriad of growth factors in their natural and biologically-determined ratios.  PRP is thought to promote physiological wound healing and rapid soft and hard tissue regeneration by delivering growth factors at high concentrations to the treated site.

Click here if you want to read “What is PRP?”.

PRP Medical Study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine last July

METHODS: Thirty-four athletes with a partial-thickness UCL tear confirmed on MRI were prospectively followed. All patients had failed at least 2 months of non-operative treatment and an attempt to return to play. Each patient received a single type 1A PRP injection at the UCL under ultrasound guidance. The same treating physician at a single institution performed all injections with the same PRP preparation used. Patients completed a course of guided physical therapy and were allowed to return to play based on their symptoms and physical examination findings. Outcome scores, including KJOC and DASH scores, were collected after return to play and were compared with baseline scores. Ultrasound measurements were collected at final follow-up and compared with pre-injection values.

RESULTS: At an average follow-up of 70 weeks (range, 11-117 weeks), 30 of 34 athletes (88%) had returned to the same level of play without any complaints. The average time to return to play was 12 weeks (range, 10-15 weeks). One player had persistent UCL insufficiency and underwent ligament reconstruction at 31 weeks after injection.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that PRP is an effective option to successfully treat partial UCL tears of the elbow in athletes.

Dr. Steven Struhl convenient for New Yorkers

In the unfortunate case that you, or someone you know sustains an elbow, shoulder, or knee injury, and contemplating if PRP is for you, be sure to remember Dr. Steven Struhl, NYU Faculty Orthopedic Surgeon specializes in break through techniques with offices in both Westchester County and NYC.

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