Pain control presentation December 5 at VMH

Dr. Dave Schwartz ... Submitted photo.
Dr. Dave Schwartz ... Submitted photo.

New pain control options at VMH ... Tom Regan of Waukon, pictured above, was in the first group to have the Bone Marrow Concentrate injections by Dr. Davide Schwartz at Veterans Memorial Hospital. “I had made up my mind I was not going to have my knee replaced even though I was in pain when I walked and my knee often gave out when I tried to stand. My wife told me about a new option at the hospital. I was in the first group to have the stem cell procedure and I have had great luck so far. I took a couple of Tylenol the first night, but really had very little discomfort. I just had the second procedure, the PRP procedure, on my knee a couple weeks ago as a follow-up procedure and again had very little pain. These have made a significant difference in my life. I know I have improved a lot when one of my sons that I had not seen for a while noticed how good I was doing. It feels great to be able to do more walking again now that I’m not in pain.” Submitted photo.

Wednesday evening, December 5, Dr. Dave Schwartz will be hosting an informative pain control presentation detailing the two new pain control options he offers at Veterans Memorial Hospital.  This presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be held in the Large Conference Room located on the lower level of Veterans Memorial Hospital.

These two new options for pain control that are now offered locally at Veterans Memorial Hospital help people with chronic joint pain or soft tissue/musculoskeletal pain. These new procedures provide patients with another option for pain control instead of only traditional means, such as surgery or pain pills.

Both procedures involve injections, and have been successful in reducing or relieving pain, making it possible for many patients to enjoy benefits like being able to resume their normal activities or delay surgery. However, because insurance companies view these procedures as new and “experimental”, they are an out-of-pocket expense, and will not be turned into insurance.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection is a procedure that utilizes the anti-inflammatory nature of the body’s own blood components to reduce inflammation and promote healing. PRP injections involve taking blood from the patient, processing it to concentrate the platelets in the plasma, and then injecting it into the problem areas, such as the back, shoulders, SI joints or knees. Inflammation and pain is reduced using the body’s own natural processes. The patient is usually at the hospital for about an hour and a half for this procedure. Other than the blood draw, this procedure is very similar to steroid/cortisone injections.

The other procedure uses bone marrow concentrate (BMC), which contains stem cells, to promote healing and pain relief. The term “stem cell” is a general term and can refer to variety of sources. VMH uses bone marrow obtained from the back of the patient’s hip bone. This is typically done under light sedation and local anesthetic. The procedure involves taking a small volume of the patient’s bone marrow, processing it, and then injecting it into the problem area. PRP and BMC/stem cell procedures are frequently used hand in hand. The length of stay for this procedure is about two to three hours.

Several studies have shown that stem cells will mature into new tissue, similar to their surroundings. For example, if injected into the knee, the stem cells may go on to form new cartilage over time, and help alleviate joint pain. It is expected to take six months to one year to see the full benefits of that injection.

Patients receiving the BMC/stem cell procedure generally leave the hospital with minimal discomfort, but because there is IV sedation, they must arrange for a driver to take them home. Patients receiving only PRP injections are able to drive themselves.

“Many have been traveling a great distance for these procedures. Offering them locally is a positive for the hospital and the surrounding communities,” states Dr. Dave Schwartz. “Even the staff had expressed a lot of interest in offering these procedures.”

Both kinds of injections are considered outpatient procedures, and are done in the hospital’s surgery department. The cost for each procedure is dependent on the type of procedure done, and the number of areas injected. Total cost is determined at the time of the consultation with Dr. Schwartz and full payment is made the day of service.

For more information, call the Veterans Memorial Hospital Surgical Coordinator at 563-568-3411, who can then arrange for a consultation.

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