Doctor uses stem cells to heal patient

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Elite athletes like Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant have long benefited from using the healing power of their own bodies to recover from chronic injuries.

And now Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP therapy is a treatment of choice for everyone. But only a few doctors in Connecticut add stem cells to PRP, basically supercharging its healing abilities.

Dave Barone remembers all too clearly the pain on his right hip caused by osteoarthritis.

“I own a bar and every 15, 20 minutes I have to rest,” Barone said. “On a scale of zero to 10, it was an 8.”

Not a candidate for hip replacement, he found the right treatment after meeting Pain Management Specialist, Dr. Mark Thimineur at Comprehensive Pain and Headache Treatment Centers.

Barone chose to have PRP. Dr. Thimineur explained: “They have the biological markers which then pull in the body’s stem cells and other rebuilding factors which go into heal up an injured area.”

Using Barone’s own blood, the platelets are isolated, then enhanced.

“We’re taking a lot of those platelets, loaded with biological markers and we’re photo-activating them and with a certain wavelength of light, to make them more active,” Thimineur said.

It’s then injected into the affected area.

But PRP alone didn’t work for Barone. That’s when Dr. Thimineur added stem cells derived from fat, among a few in the state who does.

“These mesenchymal stem cells are the stem cells that can differentiate into cells that produce cartilage or bone or connective tissue,” he said.

It produces a more powerful healing effect, slowing down Barone’s osteoarthritis.

“I’m not in pain anymore and I don’t take medicine,” Barone said. “I don’t take pain pills, nothing, zero.”

The treatment means Barone could possible avoid replacement surgery altogether.

“That’s what we think,” Thimineur said. “He can avoid replacement of that joint because if he becomes symptomatic again, he might be amenable to just repeat injection.”

PRP therapy is not covered by insurance. The cost varies, depending on the patient’s case. It can start at $800.

For an appointment – call Carol at Comprehensive Pain & Headache Treatment Centers at 203-732-1595.

You can also reach Dr. Thimineur at 203-732-1570 and at 203-630-1872.

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