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A Patient Story: MFAT & PRP

Samuel G Oltman, ND, RMSK

Jacob was a 58 year old active man when I met him a few years ago. He didn’t have a regular fitness routine but played tennis and skied regularly. He came to me for knee pain that was slowing him down on the tennis court. His story, like so many of our patients, shows the utility and effectiveness of regenerative medicine.

Stuck Between Surgery and Physical Therapy

He had left knee pain that got worse the more he played tennis. He used to be able to take an ibuprofen (or two) prior to playing that got him through but it had been getting worse and now that wasn’t enough. He was diagnosed with a meniscus tear and moderate osteoarthritis. He had seen a surgeon that told him he didn’t expect surgery to help in the short term– he should stop tennis and wait until he needed a knee replacement. He was referred to physical therapy (PT) which helped relieve some pain during his normal day but playing tennis was still very painful.

MFAT for Knee Pain

Jacob saw me after 2 months of PT. I reviewed his MRI and X-ray, agreeing with the surgeon: he wasn’t a good candidate for meniscus surgery and wan’t yet a candidate for knee replacement. The question was: what else can we do? We decided to do a MFAT procedure where we harvest his own fat tissue containing mesenchymal stem cells, collagen matrix, and healing signals. We then minimally processed this in our lab and injected it into the areas of his knee that need a healing boost, under ultrasound-guidance.

Stem Cell Healing

The procedure went very smoothly with nothing more than minimal discomfort for Jacob. He had set himself up for the 3-5 day recovery period and started rehab and knee strengthening 7 days after the MFAT procedure. Progress was slow but steady. He felt better each week: the pain was decreasing and he was no longer getting swelling with activity. 6 weeks after the MFAT procedure he went back to playing tennis, and after 9 weeks was playing his full schedule again.

Long Term Success

I saw him again 2 months after the procedure and he was very pleased with the results. He wasn’t 100% yet but could see improvement every day and felt much stronger. 4 months after the procedure we checked-in and he said he longer had pain unless he really “overdid it” playing tennis but had just got through the ski season and felt great. I said let’s see how you do over the long term, this treatment should last 3-5 years, let us know if you need anything.

PRP for Shoulder Pain

2 years after his MFAT procedure he called me and said he needed to follow up– but not for his knee. He didn’t even think about his knee anymore and never takes ibuprofen. He wanted to discuss his shoulder. He’d been having pain on the top of his right shoulder for 3 months after activity- rarely during. He came into my office, I did a full exam including an ultrasound evaluation and found rotator cuff tendinitis. No tearing or arthritis, just an inflamed tendon. We decided to do PRP on this tendon, a total of 3 treatments spaced out over 4 months, with him only taking a week off of tennis each time. By the end of this, the pain was gone and the ultrasound confirmed the tendinitis had completely healed.

Keep Moving

Jacobs story is typical and illustrates what we mean when we say: we address the gap that exists between physical therapy and surgery. There are excellent options like MFAT & PRP if you feel stuck in this gap where surgery won’t help and PT hasn’t gotten you over the hump. Do not just become less active! The only way to keep moving is to keep moving. Schedule a visit with Dr. Oltman today and Keep Moving with Cascade Regenerative Medicine.


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