Doctor specializing in the field of Adult Stem Cell Research for Osteonecrosis (Avascular Necrosis) patients

I have been meaning to post about Dr.Thomas Einhorn for some while, and I intend on expanding on what stem cell surgery is, but for now here is Dr. Einhorn’s information and a link to his website:

Thomas A. Einhorn, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery,  Biochemistry and Biomedical Engineering at Boston University

When I was first on my quest to find help I was told about Dr. Einhorn and the stem cell surgery he was doing for Osteonecrosis (Avascular Necrosis) patients. I sent Dr. Einhorn my discs, he was very gracious and reviewed them and called me back. Unfortunately for me my disease was in multiple patches and I wasn’t a candidate for stem cell surgery. However, I know he has had a lot of success with many ON (AVN) patients and I highly recommend contacting him.

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22 thoughts on “Doctor specializing in the field of Adult Stem Cell Research for Osteonecrosis (Avascular Necrosis) patients

  1. I had this surgery with Dr. Einhorn in June. I also had the bloodwork done and sent to Dr. Glueck per your suggestion. He recommended that I take Arginaid (6 months) and Loveknox (3 months) in an attempt to save the hip.

    You took Loveknox also, didn’t you? Was it covered by your insurance? Have you noticed any more improvement in your condition (pain-wise) since your last MRI?

    Thanks,
    Brad

    • Hi Brad,

      Yes I did a three month course of Lovenox and since my last MRIs at the end of August my pain has continued to get better! Everyday I feel a little bit stronger. I’m continuing to take Arginaid and Folic acid and B6 and B12 for my homocysteine levels. I feel blessed and very lucky and grateful that my insurance covered my Lovenox. How are you doing?

      • I’m still in a fair amount of pain. I’m trying to decide if I want to give the lovenox a shot or just give in and get hip replacements.

        Are you taking anything to help with your pain? I had been taking tramadol, but now my orthopedist doesn’t want to prescribe it for me anymore.

      • Brad,
        Go with your gut feeling about the Lovenox. What stage is your AVN at? I have taken pain medications for nearly a year now. I take 50mg of tramadol twice a day and 2.5mg of Percocet at night. I’m on the lowest dose of both. Why won’t your orthopedist give you tramadol? I have my kidney functions checked regularly and I have had no problems. Have you asked your GP. I had my GP managing my pain medications and I emailed Dr. Glueck this morning to ask for other pain medication alternatives. I would like to cut down on my medication, but I’m scared because I’m not sure how I will manage with less, but I’m getting stronger and feeling better everyday. I walked 1.5 miles the other day with my walker. That’s the farthest I’ve walked in over a year!

  2. I guess they are worried about addiction, I’m not sure. Last time I saw him (2 months ago), he acted like it was no problem, but now he says he won’t refill it anymore. I was just taking 150mg of tramadol per day. I don’t like my current orthopedist all that much so I might start looking for a new one. I’m not sure what stage mine is, but I would guess stage II on the left (where I had a CD with stem cells in June). I had a free fib bone graft on the right side last November.

    Congrats on making it that far… glad to hear you are improving. I guess I am lucky that I am able to get around normally right now. The bad part is that I’m dealing with some pain and it seems to be getting worse. I’m starting to think it might be tome to just do the hip replacement and get it over with. I’m just worried about what happens when I need a second or third one (I’m 34 now). And I feel like I’ve done so much to avoid doing the replacement.. seems like getting it now would be giving up. Just curious… what is your reason for not getting replacements?

    • Brad,
      My doctor initially made me worry about addiction, but I needed to be on pain killers to function as a normal human being. If your pain is getting worse, definitely see someone else to manage your pain. I couldn’t have a knee replacement because my disease is in patches all over both my femurs and never reached my joints. I was 34 when I was diagnosed by the way too. I know a guy who had AVN in his 20s. He is now in his late 40s and is on his third total hip replacement, but if you need it to function and live a full life I think you should think of it as an option. My doctor told me that if it reached my knees he wouldn’t recommend a knee replacement. That’s very easy for someone to say when they’re not living with this disease. If the disease had reached my knees I would have demanded ( or at least fought for) a replacement. It’s your quality of life that is on the line. The technology of replacements is getting better and better all the time. It makes me so angry when health insurance companies and doctors won’t do replacements because they think patients are too young.

  3. Brad, how has your hip you got the free vascularized bone graft done since the surgery? I was told I was a candidate for that, but have not liked the thought of something so invasive that may not even work. I have AVN in both hips, but it has not been symptomatic in one of my hips until the last week. I am 23 and a runner and about to throw in the towel and find someone to replace both of my hips. I graduate college next week and have been putting off my job search in order to figure out surgery. Dr. Einhorn’s assistant called and told me he would not do stem cells on me because I am too far progressed, but I am not very far progressed at all. I am trying to search for more doctors that might do stem cells though, but if that doesn’t work I will be looking at a hip replacement. I have to start paying my student loans in 6 months and I am worried I am going to be living with my parents and they will have to make my payments until I am better and can get a job. So frustrated.

    • Mallory, I know exactly how you feel. It has just been over 1 year since I did the bone graft… hard for me to say if it was worth it or not. The bone graft looks like it is going to hold for now (structurally speaking), but it didn’t provide 100% pain relief. It did help a good bit with the pain, but I still have some pain/discomfort when sitting or standing for long periods of time and when bending. Recovery from that surgery was pretty rough.

      I also had the stem cell procedure with Dr. Einhorn and it doesn’t looked like that worked at all, so it looks like I will have to do something else on that side. Right now I’m leaning towards the hip replacement over doing the bone graft again.

      Feel free to email if you have any questions or want me to go into more detail. I’m happy to because I know what you are going through and what a hard decision it is. bradmcconnell@gmail.com

      brad

  4. Has anyone checked out Regenexx? http://www.regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/hip-surgery/# I wonder if they are good.

    I just got diagonosed with AVN stage II in one hip. I’m about to send my MRI and X-rays to Dr. Thomas Einhorn to see if I’m a candidate. I hope so because I want to avoid total hip replacement at all costs. Speaking of costs, does anyone know what Dr. Einhorn’s treatment costs? I’m assuming insurance doesn’t cover this. His assistant told me if he takes me on as a patient, then he will answer questions about stats on his success rate with this surgery. I cannot find any data on it online.

    Thanks so much!

    Rachael

    • I looked into Regenexx a little bit, but didn’t find a whole lot of info. I did have the surgery wtih Dr. Einhorn this past June and it didn’t work for me (AVN has gotten worse). When I had the surgery he told me it had about a 70% chance of helping IF you made it through the first year after surgery without any further collapse.

      To answer your other question, my surgery with Dr. Einhorn was covered by my insurance. We have pretty good insurance though (BCBS) so YMMV. You can email me if you have any other questions. bradmcconnell@gmail.com

  5. Have recently been diagnosed with AVFN in left hip-cause unknown. My pain is getting worse. I too have been researching and would like more info on Dr. Einhorn’s success rate? I am amazed that there is not more info on this procedure. I am 62 and was active until this struck me. Femoral head is not collapsed but I fear waiting too long and really want to avoid the hip replacement. any advice would be much appreciated. Are there forums like this for AVFN? Thanks

    • Hello, I’ve spoken via email to several people who went to Dr. Einhorn and their surgery was successful. Dr. Joseph Lane in NY does the same procedure. There is a great forum on yahoo for osteonecrosis:
      http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/osteonecrosis/
      I would definitely join them. You can put Dr. Einhorn into their search tab and see what other people have to say about Dr. Einhorn.
      So you’ve been given no reason as to why you developed AVN? If so I highly recommend contacting Dr. Glueck as well. If you have primary osteonecrosis he may be able to help you! Good luck. Keep me posted.

  6. IMO, it’s highly uncertain to go for any type of replacement. Not only does is limit your activity thresholds, there high-levels of complications with replacements that are often thrown under the table, or not marketed more.

    Replacements are BIG industry in America and likely Europe too. If you are young and get one, and there is significant complication (something that is less likely, in less invasive AVN surgeries), you could be crippled for life. That’s not an over-statement.

    With metal-on-metal hip replacements and other recent reports it’s clear that NOT ALL PATIENTS HAVE A GOOD OUTCOME WITH HIP REPLACEMENT. Now, many do. But you are putting an artificial part in your body and can never go backwards. If they develop new technology that probably won’t include the ability to reconstruct an entire femur head and acetabulum and labrum.

    It’s hard to know the right answer, but I think you should more or less consider every convservative option before you jump to artificial replacement.

    Hypebaric Oxygen Therapy, Extracorpeal shockwave therapy –they all sound highly, non-invasive. They sound almost like those alternative treatments that never actually work. That’s not the case. There have been multiple studies (mostly done in China with they had a SARS outbreak and now a lot of people have AVN…) that these treatments ARE effective. It may take some digging on Google Scholar, but you can find them.

    Why the US or other countries do not pick up these treatments is unknown. My presumption as an American is that it’s due to capitalistic reasons. Anyways, I would consider all options. Like she said, anti-clotting medicine could help. So could Alendronate (especially just for short-term prevention of collapse) or Osteoking (which is available online).

    There are other solutions out there, or at least thing that “buy you some time”. Not that artificial replacement is the end of the world, it’s not, you just never know.

  7. Yes, I agree about trying noninvasive treatments first. My doctor didn’t suggest doing anything, so I went online and found on the Mayo Clinic site that they mentioned using an electric bone stimulator. I have been using a bone growth stimulator by Biomet since Dec. 1, 2012 and amazingly, my AVN stage II is healing! The bone is revascularizing and growing back. And it’s only been about 2 1/2 months! They have rechecked this with xrays. I will get an MRI again to check it out even further in a few more months.

    If you are in the early stages, please check into this. I also cleaned up my diet and have done visualizations every day about my femur. I too am a candidate for Dr. Einhorn if something changes and I will try stem cell surgery if I have to down the road. I wish everyone luck with this. It’s a shocking thing to discover you have! But keep the faith!

  8. It is well-documented that I have bilateral talar ON and other joints involved. About 5 days ago, I sent very recent MRIs to Dr. Reach at Yale for his opinion. I don’t know what his suggestion might be after seeing my films, but I’ve heard that often, MDs and podiatrists do a vascularized bone graft for this. Does anyone know of docs who do this same procedure more close to where I live, not far from Denver. (I’ll travel, but New Haven is QUITE far, though I hear Dr. Reach is excellent!)

    I already had an office visit with Dr. David Hahn of the Colorado Limb Consutants (Dr. Kelly) and he wasn’t able to offer anything, much to my dismay. I hope Dr. Reach comes to a different conclusion and I’m also going to get in touch with my old podiatrist extraordinaire, Dr. Fred Rahimi in Chicago area.

    Annie

  9. Does anyone know at what stage Dr. Einhorn doesn’t perform the stem cell treatment? I’ve never been actually told what stage both hips are in, but each has a mild collapse. I’m only 29 and am willing to go through every option before I even consider THR.

      • I just had my left hip surgery by Dr. Einhorn last Tuesday May 14th. He and his staff are just great. I urge you to quickly get your xrays to him and seek his advice as soon as possible. Good luck.

    • They told me they don’t like to do the treatment beyond stage II. But your MRI’s could tell something different….who knows. He needs to see it. Good luck and if you have the procedure done, please report back. I’d love to hear how it went.

  10. Has anybody tried Forteo? My pain doctor just prescribed it to me for pain and I’m going to be picking it up.
    I’m still trying to convince my FP doctor to write me the lovenox. Very frustrating! I have approval from Dr.Kelly and Dr.Gleuck but she doesn’t feel comfortable. I’m going to ask her to write me a referral to somebody else if she’s not comfortable with it.

    • Cassandra-tell me about the Arginaid. Also, should everyone take the Folic acid and B12?
      I have started taking vitamin C and vitamin E, per Dr.Kelly and started taking vitamin D when I was diagnosed with deficiency a couple of years ago.
      For those of you who haven’t been tested for vitamin D deficiency,I strongly recommend it. I’d say over half of my regular patients are vitamin D deficient. I can only imagine how important it could be for us.
      Also, I was admitted when I had my HBO treatment ( only one,when we thought it might be decompression illness). During the admission, my calcium and magnesium were low. I found that interesting and I increased calcium/magnesium supplements.
      I can only imagine what type of mineral metabolism our bodies are going through,trying to repair the AVN.
      I’d love to try a bisphosonate. I have terrible reflux and gastritis so the oral bisphosphonates are contraindicated. Is the IV ibandronate ever used?

  11. Hello everyone, I was in the Army when I was 19 years old and almost sustained a fracture in my hip. The surgeon inserted 3 pins in my femoral neck to keep the femur intact. I am now 32 years old and I have a lot of hip pain and walk with a limp. The VA hospital took some x-rays and suggest that I had Avascular necrosis about a year ago. The VA recommended me to get cortisone injections and a hip replacement following that. I refused to have a cortisone shot so I did extensive research on what could help me get better. I found a place in Boca Raton, Florida to do stem cell injections, one injection every four to six weeks on five different occasions. That only helped my pain somewhat. I now take 100 mg of tramadol in the morning and hobble in pain all day at work. I did a CT scan today and am waiting for the results. I was told by a doctor that an MRI was not possible with my pins but I spoke to an MRI tec that said I would be fine. I am so frustrated. I need to see how far the disease has progressed. I am going to get in contact with Dr. Einhorn in hopes that I am a candidate for his stem cell surgery. Does anyone have any advice for me?

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