Our patient Debi Neisess, is a hands-on woman.
She has been in the real estate business for 32 years and fixes up most of the properties she sells. She enjoys tennis and power walking. “I’m a very active person,” she says.
Debi’s lower back pain had been keeping her from doing the activities she loved to do. It became so painful, that a flight could put her out of commission. Debi tried physical therapy with no relief and was also suffering from a meniscus tear in her left knee. “I wanted something different — less invasive than surgery, but with a durable result,” she said.
That is how Debi ended up at Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center. Drs. Thomas Morrison & Shane Mangrum told Debi about regenerative stem cell therapy. Stem cells are known to be the body’s “repair kit” because they can “potentially stimulate the healing process,” says Dr. Morrison.
Polaris is one of the few providers in the Atlanta area that offers a technique called LipoGems, where stem cells are taken from fat tissue, usually in the abdomen, cleaned and processed through a multi-step filtration system, then injected into the affected areas.
Debi’s procedure took less than two hours and addressed both her knee and back issues. “Stem cells have a lot of anti-inflammatory components,” says Dr. Mangrum. The risk of infection is low, and the risk of rejection non-existent, “simply because we’re using the body’s own tissue.”
Some patients will experience soreness at the injection sites, but Debi barely did. After two weeks, she noticed she could move with less pain, and after six weeks, she was back to power walking.
Our physicians don’t want to ignite false hopes, though. “Regnerative stem cell therapy is not a cure-all,” Morrison says. Patients with severe back trauma or nerve damage may still need surgery. But for patients with degenerated, worn-out discs — the most common cause of chronic low back pain — Dr. Mangrum says stem cell therapy is promising.
For Debi, that is just what the doctor ordered. Almost a year after her procedure, she is playing tennis and fixing up her properties again. She’s never regretted stem cell therapy, she says. “You can’t put a price tag on what it means to be pain-free.”