What to look for in your Regenerative Physician:
Since I left the cradle of orthopedic stem cell and regenerative research at Stanford University, the number of “stem cell” clinics opening their doors has surprised me. Teaching physicians around the country at various Regenerative and Stem Cell courses sparked an idea. I thought it may be useful to put together a regenerative stem cell procedure checklist to help you determine how to choose your regenerative physician.
• Did your physician complete fellowship-training?
And I know this sounds silly, but is he trained in the area he is treating? For example, a Pain Management physician might be trained in spine care but is now treating the extremities. This includes treating knees, shoulders, hips, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles, etc without proper training. Moreover, successfully performing these procedures is about more than just removing stem cells and injecting them. As a matter of fact, it requires determining the correct diagnosis, the biomechanical cause, and the appropriate biomechanical, rehabilitation, AND regenerative treatments.
• Is your regenerative physician injecting what she says she is injecting?
Unfortunately, Amnion, Chorion, and many other products that some physicians inject do not contain viable stem cells. In fact, Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC) is the only FDA-legal option that does. See “Regenerative Medicine” for a full explanation.
• Has your regenerative physician provided you with alternative treatments?
- physical therapy
- medication management
- other injections (such as visco-supplementation/hyaluronic acid)
- and the S-word (surgery).
• Is your Regenerative Physician an MD/DO (doctor of osteopathic medicine) or a chiropractor?
While chiropractors are excellent at manual therapies, they do not hold the same level of training as medical doctors. For one thing, a medical degree requires 13+ years of medical school/internship/residency/fellowship for procedural understanding and training.
• Who runs and owns the Regenerative Practice?
Is the owner a doctor (someone who cares about your outcome) or a businessman (a number cruncher)?
• Ultrasound Training: Are they trained in ultrasound to guide their procedures?
The use of ultrasound or live x-ray (fluoroscopy) will greatly increase the accuracy and efficacy of your regenerative injection. Although training in fellowship and courses (such as the ones I teach) are imperative, the “RMSK certification” is also essential to ensure a high skill level.
• Does your Regenerative Doctor predict outcomes of the procedure honestly?
Does he or she openly discuss the “grey area” of literature? It’s true; there are cases in which we don’t have sufficient evidence to predict success within a procedure.
• Is your Regenerative Physician performing legal procedures?
Adipose stem cell procedures were banned in the USA in 2017, and cultured stem cell procedures have always been against our laws.
• And lastly, is your Regenerative Physician part of a comprehensive orthopedic practice where she examines all options?
In fact, if he is in a “stem cell clinic”, he may be creating the all-too-common bias toward stem cell procedures. However, they are not the only procedures available. If your doctor is the metaphorical hammer, he might see all his patients as nails (and treat them the same way).
I hope the regenerative stem cell procedure checklist helps you find the most qualified, skilled, and compassionate Regenerative Physician for your unique needs! You can always set up an appointment with my team and myself to see if regenerative medicine is the right path for you.
–Dr. Michael Khadavi, RMSK