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What To Do If Your Orthopedic Surgery Has Been Cancelled

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Has your orthopedic surgery been because of Covid-19? Here’s the silver lining….


Dr. Deitch

Well hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of “You’ve Got the Power” – because you do. I’m here with Dr. Chris Centeno. Dr. Centeno is the founder of Regenexx, the Regenexx Network of Regenerative Orthopedists, as well as the Medical Director at Centeno-Schultz Clinic in Colorado. Dr. Centeno, great to be with you here today.

Dr. Centeno

Great to be with you as well. Jason; I love that concept of giving patients the power because, in healthcare, there’s always been such an asymmetrical relationship. You know, the doctor knows a lot. The patient comes in with less information, and really giving patients that information so that they’ve got the power is the focus of what we’re trying to do here.

Dr. Deitch

I love –I love the theme. And there’s never been really a more important time for people to really understand what their condition is, what is going on.

In many cases – I’ll say in the old version of healthcare – the doctor just sort of handled it, and a patient was sort of a passive bystander that had stuff done to them and billed for them, and, hopefully, paid for them. In the new world, as of today, people are no longer really having access to elective surgeries – back surgeries, knee surgeries, hip surgeries and on and on.

So, what we’re really talking about when we say “You have the power” is: if you’ve had an elective orthopedic surgery that’s been canceled, you have the power to make a different decision to find out if there’s, in fact, a better solution for you.

Dr. Centeno, let’s talk about what people can do. Maybe let’s start with different body parts. If somebody has had an elective orthopedic surgery that’s been canceled, what do they do now? How do how do they look at this? Is that a bad thing? Is this perhaps an opportunity in disguise? How should they think about it?

Dr. Centeno

Yeah, Jason. I think that we’re in this new role, right?

We’ve got probably hundreds of thousands of people around the country who had a knee meniscus surgery — a knee replacement, hip replacement, a shoulder rotator cuff repair, back fusion, neck fusion — that was scheduled for this next month. And now it’s not.

So, you know, this is a great opportunity for them to reconceptualize that decision. Was that the right decision? And I’m going to tell you for about 70 or 80 percent of those patients, that wasn’t the right decision. Meaning that, we can now treat those things using your body’s own healing platelets or stem cells through very precise injections.

And so, this is a great time to really rethink that decision; whether it’s you, a family member, or a loved one or a friend who, you know, had an orthopedic surgery scheduled, and now it’s canceled. It’s just a great time to do your research, your home–you can only watch so much Netflix. So this is a great time to really research this stuff and dive in and say, “Huh, did I really need that back surgery?”

And the answer, I think you’ll find, many times, is you probably didn’t. And once you go down that road, it’s a one-way street, and the world just changed.  Because, right now, the highest viral load to be found in your community is – guess where?  In the hospital. And viral load, many times, is what determines if we get really sick. Right? If you get a little bit of virus here, a little bit of virus there, you start to build antibodies. You get a lot of virus all at once, that’s when you get potentially really sick.

And again, the place that has the highest viral load, right now, is in that local hospital, where you’re going to have to stay away from for the next year or two.

Dr. Deitch

That’s really what the point is here. If you’re watching and you know someone–maybe it’s yourself, maybe it’s a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker or someone, you know, in your social network that’s been living in pain, that has had a scheduled surgery that’s been cancelled, or who has, maybe even, had some imaging and has been wondering, “Should I do the surgery?”  In many cases, maybe there is a feeling inside that says, “I really don’t want to go that direction if I don’t have to”.  If any of those things apply, then what we’re talking about here today — you may want to share this video with them.

Because, Dr. Centeno, you’ve recently introduced a Telemedicine, or a Telehealth, program where people can now do what we’re doing, to some degree, which is: connect via the Internet with a doctor, who can help answer some questions about how severe their problem is and whether they really are a candidate either for orthopedic surgery, or even better, for what we really think of as a more organic, natural approach to allowing the body to heal itself. I think the research has shown, substantially, that surgeries don’t always lead to the best outcomes and that there are really substantial amounts of studies that show that the body has the ability to heal itself, in many cases, from these types of orthopedic injuries.

You want to address sort of the science behind this and why–again, I don’t want to call it a blessing in disguise necessarily, but maybe there’s a reason why if that was scheduled — it’s not; this is an opportunity to learn more about what may be the right decision for you.

Dr. Centeno

Yeah, Jason.  So if we look at –going kind of backwards there, the science, we’ve done three randomized controlled trials now on shoulder Rotator Cuff Repair, knee ACLs, and on Knee Osteoarthritis.

So those are high level research studies that show that those types of procedures — so a Knee Replacement, a shoulder Rotator Cuff Repair surgery, a Knee ACL Reconstruction — can be avoided using the bone marrow cells from your own body and precisely injecting them into those areas.

Now, that’s done in a clinic, not in a hospital. So you’re not going to that place with the really high viral loads because they’re treating hundreds of Covid-19 patients. You’re going into a private clinic that doesn’t deal with Covid-19.

So, that’s really why this is such a great opportunity to reconceptualize this. And if you do reconceptualize it right now, you’ve got the opportunity to participate in Telemedicine. So, Telemedicine, or Telehealth, basically means that your insurance company, right now, will pay for you to get online with a physician – one of our Regenexx physicians, who can evaluate your problem, he can order x-rays or MRIs, or whatever you need ordered in order to get to a diagnosis and get to a treatment plan that doesn’t involve orthopedic surgery.

Now, that’s a unique thing because you can stay right at home. You don’t have –you can continue to shelter at home. You don’t have to do anything but fire up your phone, your tablet, or your computer and get it all done and figure it out while you’ve got the downtime so that when things spool back up, you’re staying away from that hospital, but you’re still getting your needs met.

Dr. Deitch

We are going to put some links on this video, and we’ll be doing subsequent videos that actually go according to different geography and your body body parts so that you can start at home, doing your own self-assessment.

How do you know how bad your condition is? How do you know how severe it is? How do you know if you need professional help or, as we often like to hope, that it will just go away?

There are ways to determine, for yourself, whether you should be reaching out for help sooner rather than later. Most of these conditions are what they refer to as “progressive conditions”–meaning: if you leave it go, they will progressively get worse over time, and, in many, cases require even more severe interventions, or other types of health concerns. I guess the real question for people is: should they be afraid to go down this route? You know, a lot of people who have orthopedic conditions are in the –you know, I’m very concerned about this–What are the safety concerns they need to have? Obviously, they’re going to a center that doesn’t deal with hundreds, if not thousands of Covid-19 positive patients.

That’s a real safety issue. The other thing I know about the Regenexx network is that Regenexx orthopedists are the, I believe, most highly trained in this field of regenerative medicine. You want to speak to why really the Regenexx network is the place to go for help.

Dr. Centeno

Yeah, happy to do that.

So, if you think about it, number one, as you said, we handpicked these doctors. So, out of 100 doctors who might be interested in what we do, only five, or so, are going have the base credentials to even be considered for our network. Then those doctors are further trained, in specific types of protocols, and the types of protocols we use. And realize, from a safety perspective, you’re going into a private medical practice who has a Covid-19 mitigation plan. And, if you’re not comfortable right now doing any of that, again, if you want to stay at home, you can get evaluated, again, through Telehealth and Telemedicine and only go into an office at some point when you feel comfortable for the procedure and/or when things spool back up and and things are a little different. But this is just, again, a great time to get all that dialed-in because, as I told my wife, we’re entering this week into the new normal.

Last week was, you know, the Covid thing hit us over the head and no one knew which end was up. What do I do? How do I do this?

Now we’re in–our days are starting to have a pattern to them. So this is the time to regain your life. It’s to take back your life within this crazy time of Covid-19 and Coronavirus. And this is the first step in doing that. But there are lots of ways we can protect you, starting with this kind of evaluation right here, where we can review MRIs together; we can do all sorts of things.  A—nd you’re sitting in California and I’m sitting in Colorado, and we’ve got no Covid risk right there.

Dr. Deitch

Wonderful use of technology. Let’s simply close up by answering the question, which body parts can you help? What kind of conditions again? If you’re watching, if you have a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, anywhere in the nation, because of Telehealth, we can now help them via Telehealth over the Internet. It’s a miraculous, I guess, evolution for all of us.

What are the conditions, people are suffering, in which we should be interested in reaching out for, doing a self at-home assessment, and then scheduling an appointment with one of the Regenexx network doctors? 

Dr. Centeno

Yeah. So, everything with regard to the Spine, patients who might have had a Cervical Fusion or a Discectomy or Laminectomy scheduled —same thing for the Low Back or Thoracic Upper Back area, Shoulder Rotator Cuff Tears that we’re going to get a shoulder Rotator Cuff Repair, patients with Shoulder Arthritis, were going to get a Shoulder Replacement. Same thing with Knee Meniscus surgeries. Same thing with Knee Replacement, Hip Replacement, Hip Labral surgeries. Ankle Replacement, Ankle Ligament surgeries, Ankle Tendon surgeries, Hand, Wrist surgeries.

All of those things may be a candidate for this much less invasive route. And realize, if cost is an issue, many times the amount of money it takes to do this kind of work, using your own platelets or stem cells, is the amount of money that you would spend in a co-pay, co-insurance, co-deductible.

I mean, there’s so many fees these days when we see the doctor –fees layered on top of fees, layered on top of fees. If you go into a hospital operating room, it’s likely that the anesthesiologist will give you a surprise bill, because guess what? He’s not on your network!  So, you’re paying out of network rates for all of his stuff, and you’re out of network, co-pay, co-insurance, co deductible, etc..

So, many times, the cost is about the same. And it’s less invasive and it’s not a one-way street. Surgery, oftentimes, once we start taking stuff out, that’s a one-way street. So, take this time, as we wrap this up –If you think about, if you’ve got a friend if you’ve got a loved one, or a family member — or yourself, great time to re-evaluate your options here.

Dr. Deitch

Yeah, that’s it from Dr. Centeno. He is the father of this Regenerative Orthopedic movement. There’s probably a reason why things have gone this way for you. We encourage you to take the time to take back your power. Invest the time.  If you’re at home, if you’re on the Internet, spend a few moments learning more about your condition with one of the videos that we leave down below and keep watching our programs. We will be addressing individual orthopedic conditions.

So, if you want to learn more about your condition, again, we are here to be of service during this time in the best of cases. There was a time when you would be scheduling an orthopedic surgery. These days that’s not even an option for millions of people, right now. So, the best thing you can do is not wait–it’s to learn about your condition. Take back your power. Start understanding how your body works, which will help you better understand how to better take care of your body.

Get through this time, get through your injury. And hopefully in days, weeks and months from now, you’ll be able to emerge stronger, better than you have been in the past.

Dr. Centeno, thanks for taking some time in discussing what to do if your orthopedic surgery has been cancelled. I know you’ve been very busy really inventing this program for the entire Regenexx network of doctors, who I know are all very grateful, including ours. Until next time, thanks for watching  “You’ve Got the Power”– because you do. Until next time,  on behalf of Dr. Centeno, I’m Dr. Jason Deitch.

Thank you for watching.

Dr. Centeno