“Stem cells hold a great deal of promise in orthopedics,” says Dr. Maffet. “Right now, their use is cutting edge but I believe they will ultimately play a huge role in making surgical repair more successful.” Stem cells are found in bone marrow, blood and various types of tissue. Because they can differentiate into specialized cells and continuously divide, stem cells act as a “repair system” for the body and can replenish damaged tissue.
Dr. Maffet used stem cells to surgically repair Amy Statler’s ACL tear. ACL tears are a common sports injury that often requires reconstruction of the knee. Amy is an active woman who enjoys playing softball and exercising and wanted to get back to her active lifestyle quickly.
“Dr. Maffet made me feel comfortable by explaining the process and answering all of my questions about the surgery. It was important for me to have a quick recovery. I am currently in physical therapy and am expected to be back on the softball field for our first practice in February. I am so happy with my recovery thus far and I feel better every day,” explains Amy. During ACL reconstruction surgery, orthopedic surgeons take a tendon from the knee or hamstring (either a patient’s own or from a donor) and use it to replace the damaged ACL ligament. Dr. Maffet has begun using stem cells to help the body accept the new tendon and to speed the healing process.
“The new ACL graft is soaked in a concentrate full of stem cells and other growth factors prior to fixation,” he explains. “In other cases, we can simply suture the torn ligament and inject the stem cell concentrate into the affected area.”
Dr. Maffet is also using stem cells in rotator cuff repairs of the shoulder. By creating vascular channels down into the bone at the repair site, his goal is to trigger the stem cells located there and improve tendon healing. Other physicians throughout Houston Methodist, including Dr. David Lintner in the Medical Center, are also offering this procedure.
“In time, I believe we will be able to show that the use of stem cells in orthopedic applications is making a difference in the lives of our patients,” he says. “The potential to repair and regenerate damaged tissue or bone, using the patient’s own stem cells, will give us a fantastic new tool in treating sports injuries and other orthopedic issues. The ability to make our patients’ recoveries easier and more successful is exciting.”
For more information about Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine located in Sugar Land, visit methodistorthopedics.com. For an appointment, call 281.690.4678 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.