Surgery and Stem Cell Therapy for Arizona Diamondbacks Outfielder A.J. Pollack
While the potential benefits of stem cell therapy and other regenerative medicine treatments like prolotherapy have been known to researchers and medical professionals for some time, practical applications for everything from chronic knee pain to advanced fractures have started to gain more and more traction in the treatment of orthopedic and sports injuries. In many cases, stem cell therapy has helped save the careers of some of the country’s most prominent and high profile professional athletes.
Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollack is just the latest in a long list of professional athletes turning to mesenchymal stem cell treatments to help heal a chronic injury (in this case, a fractured right elbow) that has had limited success through traditional treatments like surgery.
How Can Stem Cell Treatments Help Heal Broken Bones?
Pollack is suffering from an olecranon fracture, or a broken elbow. Like many professional and recreational athletes, Pollack has suffered from multiple injuries that have only partially responded to more conservative treatments like physical therapy, medication, and in Pollack’s case, orthopedic surgery to repair an earlier fracture to the same elbow.
Depending on the type of injury and the patient’s individual circumstances, surgery is generally reserved for cases where conservative options have yielded limited and insufficient results. Even with surgery, complicated and chronic fractures and tears can be difficult to fully repair. A.J. Pollack underwent surgery to repair a fracture in the same elbow after an injury in 2010, for which he received a metal plate and screw to help fuse the broken bone.
Following the latest injury during a game in April, an X-ray found that the screw was broken and that the bone had never healed properly, highlighting the limitations of surgical intervention for orthopedic injuries, even for a professional athlete like Pollack. In addition to inserting a new plate and screw to help reset the broken bone, Pollack’s team of orthopedic surgeons reportedly used a graft of stem cells from Pollack’s bone marrow to help enhance the healing effects of the surgery.
Bone marrow contains a type of regenerative cell known as mesenchymal stem cells, which have proven to be very effective in healing orthopedic injuries. Stem cells are undifferentiated, which means they can develop into many different forms of cells, making them ideal in treating problems like cartilage deterioration, ACL and meniscus tears, and a broad range of sports and orthopedic injuries and conditions.
When it comes to slow or non-healing bone fractures, A.J. Pollack and professional athletes are not alone. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, anywhere from five to ten percent of the bone fractures and breaks suffered by as many as six million Americans each year either do not heal, or do so at a slower than normal rate. For professional athletes like A.J. Pollack, chronic pain and mobility problems associated with a fracture that does not heal properly can impact or even end a career in extreme cases. The same conditions in an elderly patient could seriously impact their overall health and quality of life. By extracting stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow, usually from the hip, and administering them to the injury site, the treatment can help to:
- Spur new bone and tissue growth
- Make new blood cells
- Accelerate wound healing by increasing the body’s natural growth factors
Regenerative Medicine in Los Angeles
The good news is that you don’t have to be a famous professional baseball player or athlete to enjoy the benefits of regenerative medicine treatments for common injuries like chronic joint and lower back pain or meniscus and rotator cuff tears. Dr. Meier and his team offer regenerative medicine injection therapy including prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP), and stem cell treatments for a long list of orthopedic issues and chronic pain.
Is Regenerative Injection Therapy Right for Me?
You may be a good candidate for an orthopedic stem cell treatment, PRP, or prolotherapy if you are suffering from:
- Chronic pain (neck, back, hips, knees)
- Rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative disc or joint disease (osteoarthritis)
- Ligament strains or tears
- Runner’s Knee
- Jumper’s Knee
- Tennis Elbow
- Golfer’s Elbow
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Cartilage tears and defects
Stem cell treatments and regenerative medicine therapy can help even if previous treatments have been unsuccessful in the past, including surgery. As evidenced by A.J. Pollack’s treatment, stem cells can be the best line of defense when other options have been exhausted.
Contact an Orthopedic Surgeon in Los Angeles
To learn more about how stem cells and prolotherapy can help to improve healing and recovery for broken bones, muscle tears, chronic joint pain, or surgery, contact Meier Orthopedic Sports and Regenerative Medicine by calling 310.736.2793 to request a consultation with Dr. Steven Meier and his team today.
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