Stem Cells as a Knee Replacement & Surgery Alternative


More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed the United States yearly. These include patients that have spent years skiing hard, running marathons, walking golf courses or just suffering from chronic arthritis. Many of these surgeries can be avoided by alternatively undergoing a minimally invasive state-of-the-art stem cell procedure.

By opting for the stem cell route in Colorado and avoiding knee replacement surgery, you may have the potential to avoid the long painful recovery, weeks of missed work, and the potential surgical risks that include infection, bleeding, blood clots and nerve injury.

You may be an excellent candidate to undergo a low-risk stem cell procedure, which is carried out without general anesthesia, minimal postoperative discomfort and virtually no recovery downtime. In addition, stem cell patients are able to return to work in 1-2 days, and sports in 4-6 weeks.

Many knee surgeries can be avoided by alternatively undergoing a minimally invasive state-of-the-art stem cell procedure.

patient testimonial stem cells to avoid knee replacement

Stem Cells to Avoid Knee Replacement – Patient Testimonial

Individual patient results may vary. Please contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.


Contact our Vail or Denver office to find out if you could be a candidate for stem cell therapy.

Stem Cells as a Total Knee Replacement Alternative

More than ninety percent of our stem cell patients have not gone on to knee replacement surgery.
Knee patients are frequently told that their joints are bone on bone, a statement that often over-exaggerates the extent of cartilage damage in the knee joint. Many times, there are areas of cartilage thinning that respond well to the regenerative stem cell procedure, allowing the patient’s body to naturally repair the damaged area. A surprising number of such surgical patients are excellent candidates to avoid an invasive replacement surgery and return to the sports they love without a joint replacement.

At ThriveMD, more than ninety percent of the patients that have undergone our state-of-the-art stem cell procedures have thus far not gone on to knee replacement surgery. These results are very similar for patients that have undergone hip procedures in an effort to avoid hip replacement surgery.

stem cell alternative to knee replacement

The benefits patients experience are often life-changing. Below is a testimonial from a fellow physician who avoided a knee replacement. For more examples of what stem cell patients are saying, please visit our page dedicated to stem cell reviews for joint pain treatment.

“I am 58 years old and had been very active. My right knee had been getting progressively worse over the previous two years. An orthopedic surgeon told me that I had significant arthritis in the medial side of my knee and my best bet was a total knee replacement. He also mentioned that I might look into stem cell treatment. After a long discussion with Dr. Brandt and my own research, I decided to go ahead with his stem cell therapy regimen. The down time was minimal (especially compared to rehab after a total knee) and the results have been better than I hoped for. In the past month I have been on several long hikes with minimal pain. I forgot my walking sticks and hardly even noticed. Previously I would not dream of going for a hike without the sticks! As a fellow physician I found him thoroughly professional and well read on the subject. I had, and still, have no second thoughts about letting him stick a needle anywhere in my body (something I would not say about many physicians). His office is comfortable, very clean and I was quite pleased with his sterile technique. His office staff is welcoming and reassuring. Would not hesitate to go back for more!”*
Herb from Evergreen, Colorado
*Individual patient results may vary. Contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

Stem Cells for Avoiding Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

The stem cell procedure for ACL tears can reduce the risk of future arthritic changes.

A minimally invasive stem cell procedure is often a better choice for you than many arthroscopic procedures. Partial ACL tears are an example of an acute injury that responds well to stem cell knee injections. By infiltrating the ligament of an intact ACL sheath, the ligament can heal to become as strong as the original ligament. This also avoids the traumatic surgery required to replace the ligament from a second surgical site, and the six months of postsurgical rehabilitation.

By repairing the original placement of the ligament and maintaining the natural motion of the joint, the stem cell procedure lowers the risk of future arthritic changes in comparison to postoperative changes following a full ligament replacement.

Many routine arthroscopic procedures can also be avoided by allowing your own cells to repair meniscus tears and other minor tissue damage in the joint. This holds true for treatment of many other joints including the hip, shoulder and lumbar discs.

stem cell therapy to avoid knee replacement

Patient from Castle Rock, CO uses stem cell procedure to avoid a knee replacement. – Patient Testimonial

Individual patient results may vary. Please contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

Returning to your favorite sport in a shorter time and with much less discomfort is unforgettable. Below is a testimonial from a Vail local who used stem cells to return to skiing. For more examples of what stem cell patients are saying, please visit stem cell reviews for joint pain.

Early in the ski season I had a partial tear in my ACL and thought I would be out until the next year for sure. However after consulting with ThriveMD they informed me that I was a good candidate for stem cell therapy. I went through the procedure and went from barely being able to walk with crutches to walking comfortably and normally within three weeks! I was back at work quickly and just got back on the mountain recently. My knee feels very solid and I have ZERO issues with it. Thank you ThriveMD for saving my ski season!”*
Brad from the Vail Valley, Colorado
*Individual patient results may vary. Contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

Case Studies on Stem Cells as an Alternative to Knee Replacement

avoiding knee replacement case study

Denver Patient Uses Adult Stem Cells as a Knee Replacement Alternative

Former competitive tennis player and skier, with degeneration of soft tissue and arthritic changes in the knee, uses stem cell injections as an alternative to knee replacement surgery. Returns to golf and skiing.*

Read the patient case study by Dr. Brandt

knee replacement alternative stem cell golfer

Active Skier-Golfer from Boulder Uses Stem Cell Therapy to Avoid Knee Replacement

Colorado Avid Golfer reports on a Boulder golfer and skier who was sure knee replacement would be inevitable. The patient used stem cell therapy to avoid knee replacement and got back to his favorite sports fast.*

Read the patient case by Colorado Avid Golfer

stem cells as acl surgery option

Stem Cell Therapy for ACL Tears in the Knee

Read Dr. Brandt’s blog post about modern and traditional options for ACL repair, who may be a candidate for stem cell treatment, how the injections are prepared, and what follows after the stem cell procedure for ACL injuries or chronic pain.

Read the blog post by Dr. Brandt

Stem cell surgery alternative acl injuries women

Minimally Invasive Treatment Option for ACL Injuries of the Knee In Women

How women are more prone to ACL injuries of the knee, how the injuries can be prevented, and how stem cells can be a minimally invasive option for ACL repair in women.

Read the blog post by Dr. Brandt

Research Articles on Stem Cells for Knees

Stem cell application for osteoarthritis in the knee joint: A minireview

PUBLISHED on The World Journal of Stem Cells, 2014   AUTHORS Kristin Uth and Dimitar Trifonov

Knee osteoarthritis is a chronic, indolent disease that will affect an ever increasing number of patients, especially the elderly and the obese. It is characterized by degeneration of the cartilage substance inside the knee which leads to pain, stiffness and tenderness. By some estimations in 2030, only in the United States, this medical condition will burden 67 million people. While conventional treatments like physiotherapy or drugs offer temporary relief of clinical symptoms, restoration of normal cartilage function has been difficult to achieve. Moreover, in severe cases of knee osteoarthritis total knee replacement may be required. Total knee replacements come together with high effort and costs and are not always successful. The aim of this review is to outline the latest advances in stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis as well as highlight some of the advantages of stem cell therapy over traditional approaches aimed at restoration of cartilage function in the knee. In addition to the latest advances in the field, challenges associated with stem cell therapy regarding knee cartilage regeneration and chondrogenesis in vitro and in vivo are also outlined and analyzed. Furthermore, based on their critical assessment of the present academic literature the authors of this review share their vision about the future of stem cell applications in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

Treatment of knee osteoarthritis with autologous mesenchymal stem cells: a pilot study.

PUBLISHED on Transplantation, 2013   AUTHORS Orozco, L & Munar, A

BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent joint disease and a frequent cause of joint pain, functional loss, and disability. Osteoarthritis often becomes chronic, and conventional treatments have demonstrated only modest clinical benefits without lesion reversal. Cell-based therapies have shown encouraging results in both animal studies and a few human case reports. We designed a pilot study to assess the feasibility and safety of osteoarthritis treatment with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in humans and to obtain early efficacy information for this treatment.
METHODS: Twelve patients with chronic knee pain unresponsive to conservative treatments and radiologic evidence of osteoarthritis were treated with autologous expanded bone marrow MSCs by intra-articular injection (40×10 cells). Clinical outcomes were followed for 1 year and included evaluations of pain, disability, and quality of life. Articular cartilage quality was assessed by quantitative magnetic resonance imaging T2 mapping.
RESULTS: Feasibility and safety were confirmed, and strong indications of clinical efficacy were identified. Patients exhibited rapid and progressive improvement of algofunctional indices that approached 65% to 78% by 1 year. This outcome compares favorably with the results of conventional treatments. Additionally, quantification of cartilage quality by T2 relaxation measurements demonstrated a highly significant decrease of poor cartilage areas (on average, 27%), with improvement of cartilage quality in 11 of the 12 patients.

CONCLUSIONS: MSC therapy may be a valid alternative treatment for chronic knee osteoarthritis. The intervention is simple, does not require hospitalization or surgery, provides pain relief, and significantly improves cartilage quality.

Increased knee cartilage volume in degenerative joint disease using percutaneously implanted, autologous mesenchymal stem cells.

PUBLISHED on Pain Physician, 2008   AUTHORS Centeno, CJ & Busse, D

BACKGROUND: The ability to repair tissue via percutaneous means may allow interventional pain physicians to manage a wide variety of diseases including peripheral joint injuries and osteoarthritis. This review will highlight the developments in cellular medicine that may soon permit interventional pain management physicians to treat a much wider variety of clinical conditions and highlight an interventional case study using these technologies

OBJECTIVE: To determine if isolated and expanded human autologous mesenchymal stem cells could effectively regenerate cartilage and meniscal tissue when percutaneously injected into knees.

DESIGN: Case Study

SETTING: Private Interventional Pain Management practice.

METHODS: An IRB approved study with a consenting volunteer in which mesenchymal stem cells were isolated and cultured ex-vivo from bone marrow aspiration of the iliac crest. The mesenchymal stem cells were then percutaneously injected into the subject’s knee with MRI proven degenerative joint disease. Pre- and post-treatment subjective visual analog pain scores, physical therapy assessments, and MRIs measured clinical and radiographic changes.

RESULTS: At 24 weeks post-injection, the patient had statistically significant cartilage and meniscus growth on MRI, as well as increased range of motion and decreased modified VAS pain scores.

CONCLUSION: The described process of autologous mesenchymal stem cell culture and percutaneous injection into a knee with symptomatic and radiographic degenerative joint disease resulted in significant cartilage growth, decreased pain and increased joint mobility in this patient. This has significant future implications for minimally invasive treatment of osteoarthritis and meniscal injury.

Next Step

If you believe you or someone you care about could be a candidate for stem cell therapy for avoiding knee replacement, please contact us today.