Living to Run: A Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment Success Story

For nearly all his life, running was central to Brian Katz’s daily activities. “I was born to run,” Katz, 47, said. Athletic efforts included triathlons, marathons, tennis, ultimate Frisbee, and volleyball. In late 2013, though, an annoying lower back pain didn’t go away. It stayed through most of 2014. At first, he thought the soreness was a natural reaction to strenuous runs and workouts and endured it. Eventually, an intense training run produced an excruciating groin pain. After that, a 50-yard walk across the parking lot at work each day was a painful journey.

“I limped severely for a few weeks,” Katz said.  “After seeing a lower back specialist, I was told my back was fine, but I had moderate to severe osteoarthritis in my right hip and my left hip wasn’t far behind.”

Katz visited an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hips and was told steroid injections would be the best option to delay the inevitable: hip replacement. “I had the injection to rule out other issues and isolate the injury,” Katz explained. “The steroid injection worked well, but by month three, I had a slight limp and the pain was slowly returning.”

The Chandler, AZ rocket engineer researched stem cell technology and visited a half-dozen local physicians who performed the procedure. He checked out physicians from across the U.S. and even abroad. All were accommodating, providing consultations and reviews of x-rays. A chat with another prominent local orthopedic surgeon, though, unlocked the puzzle: “If you want Stem Cell Therapy,” the surgeon said, “Dr. Wolff is the best I know.”

That’s all Katz had to hear. Immediately, he made an appointment with Southwest Spine & Sports.

Katz had stem cell therapy on both hips in January 2015, and a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment a month later. Four weeks after the stem cell therapy, he began a consistent weight training program focusing on his legs. Katz increased the intensity of the workouts and continues the program. “I felt progress within two weeks of the therapy,” Katz said. “By the fourth month, I had already begun light runs.” Two months later, he was running the trails at South Mountain and sprinting after a Frisbee, just like before the injury.

Katz’s notes post-therapy progress is usually measured via pain-reduction surveys, but he wanted to know what’s going on physiologically, interested in seeing tissue-regeneration evidence.  Post-procedure x-rays didn’t show noticeable tissue growth, but the healing still has been remarkable.  Through last fall, Katz still felt significant progress.  “It’s likely we have slowed and perhaps ceased the progression of arthritic degeneration and supported tissue repair,” he said, still hoping to see that in an x-ray.

“Dr. Wolff is passionate about stem cell research and therapy and he takes personal care of his patients,” Katz said. “Prior to my treatment, I requested a wide range of information regarding equipment used, the approach, etc., right down to needle sizes. Dr. Wolff provided all of my requested information and took the time to give me a thorough understanding of details surrounding the equipment and procedure.”

The staff at Southwest Spine & Sports are top notch, Katz adds. “Everyone has been exceptionally accommodating: The nursing staff shows sincere compassion and the procedure is conducted in an exceptionally well-equipped modern facility and the supporting staff works like gears in a gear box – they are an outstanding team.”

Katz notes he has no illusions the osteoarthritis is gone for good or that he can go back and run marathons and chase Frisbees at the pace he once did. “The Stem Cell treatment has given me a second chance of life, though, with renewed optimism that I can still run like the wind – but being nearly middle-aged, perhaps not as excessively as I did in my 20s.”

What are PRP and stem cell therapy?

PRP is one of the most exciting emerging forms of regenerative medicine for soft tissue injuries. Safe, effective, and all natural, PRP heals damaged joints and soft tissue injuries while also relieving pain. PRP therapy uses a small sample of the patient’s own blood, spun in a centrifuge to concentrate platelets, then injected into the injured area. An alternative to surgery, PRP injections are getting great results for patients of all ages.

Multinucleated Stem Cells (MSC), stem cells for short, are potent and valuable healers. They have the unique ability to stimulate naturally and “morph” into healthy, mature cells to replace injured cells. When handled and injected correctly, stem cells help set up a healing environment and stimulate a regenerative process to create healthy tissue. In the process, cells differentiate, proliferate, and mature in the environment they’re placed. Simply put, this means stem cells are able to transform and develop into different types of healthy mature cells including bone cartilage, muscle, tendon, and ligament. Click here to learn more about stem cells.

SWSS physicians have been practicing regenerative medicine for nearly a decade – keeping up with modern advances, participating in research, and helping patients live pain-free, from elite athletes to weekend warriors. In further supporting advancement in the field, SWSS donates a portion of revenue from every regenerative medicine procedure to the SWSS Foundation for Innovation, Research & Education (SWSS FIRE).

Stem cell therapy has been in use since the early 1990s. Recent advances in technology have improved the ease and safety of the therapy. Autologous stem cell therapy – meaning use of cells from your own body – is quickly gaining popularity as a means to treat painful injuries. Autologous stem cell treatment is a simple outpatient procedure at Southwest Spine & Sports. The all-natural therapy helps a wide range of patients, from those with acute muscle and/or ligament injuries, like professional athletes, to those with joint pain from arthritis, and low back pain from injured discs and degenerative disc disease. Stem cells used for treatment can be easily harvested from a patient’s bone marrow taken from the back of the hip. Cells are immediately prepared for reinjection using a specialized centrifuge system to isolate and concentrate desired stem cells under sterile conditions. Patients’ own fresh stem cells are then injected into the injured area, always guided by either ultrasound or fluoroscopy. At Southwest Spine & Sports the entire procedure is performed in our comfortable, state-of-the-art facility under conscious sedation and takes only a few hours.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, click here or call us today at (480) 860-8998.