Last Friday I saw two patients for evaluation for possible stem cell treatment for painful knee arthritis. Both patients were on medications, had received multiple knee steroid shots, and one had even had one of the “gel” knee injections that go under the trade names like “Synvisc” or “Hyalgan”. One of the patients also had been prescribed an unloader brace but didn’t want to wear it anymore.
Both patients initially saw other clinicians for evaluation for stem cell therapy. One clinic used bone marrow derived stem cells and the other recommended either umbilical cord blood or amniotic fluid.
The lowest price was $7500 for one knee!
Because these novel procedures are not covered by insurance, clinicians are free to charge whatever they want.
For comparison….Medicare pays an orthopedic surgeon about $1387 in Dallas for a total knee replacement surgery!
To make matters even worse, the chiropractors and doctors selling patients umbilical cord blood or amniotic fluid as a stem cell injection are either committing consumer fraud…because there are no living stem cells in any of those products currently sold in the USA OR they are injecting people with a biologic drug that is not approved by the FDA ….because the FDA has approved NO amniotic fluid or umbilical cord blood products with living stem cells. So we can dismiss the clinics peddling amniotic fluid/umbilical cord blood from this discussion…..I would avoid them at all costs and save your hard earned money if the DC or MD or DO is selling one of these products as a living stem cell injection.
For the clinics actually using living cells legally…from either adipose or bone marrow sources…and it has to be from your own body (small exception for 1st or 2nd degree relatives)….what is the national average cost for one knee? We poll people that attend my training courses twice a year and the national average is about $5500 (a little less) for the procedure. So is $7500 too much for one knee? It is up to the patient to decide if the price and expected result is worth the cost. There are many situations where paying more for an item means the quality is better….but paying more may not mean a better result in this developing surgical subspecialty.
If the patient is getting the same $7500 procedure from a reputable doctor or surgeon only the cost is under $4000…then patients will have to be the judge
At the Dallas PRP and Stem Cell clinic we strive to educate patients first and then offer these orthobiologic procedures if and when there is a reasonable chance that the patient will benefit. Sometimes this means surgery is still recommended and we may add an orthobiologic injection. Most of the time our stem cell procedures are done in the office under ultrasound guidance in less than an hour!
Our cost? Under $4000 for one knee (or other joint).
We have seminars at our office that are free and designed to help patients wade thru the incredible amount of misinformation and false hopes spread on the internet and in the media. Our August, 2017 seminars are on August 10th and August 24th and 31st. Anyone may sign up by clicking below…hope to see you there!
Below is a link to an actual stem cell procedure….the patient is awake and talking during the procedure!