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March 20, 2017 07:02 PM

Using Stem Cells To Rehabilitate A Wrist

For anyone who spends their work day typing on a computer, or plays sports regularly you know how much of a burden having a sore or injured wrist can be.

"I found myself recoiling every time I had to shake somebody's hand," Sanford treasurer Bill Marlette said.

Marlette is an avid golfer, racquetball player, biker, skier. Name a sport he's probably played it. After losing his left arm years ago, relying on his right arm for sports and everyday life became even more important than before.

"They did an MRI, a lot of damage. Just over use over the years," Marlette said.

Over time, Marlette said the pain in his wrist became unbearable and forced him to quit sports he loved like racquetball. In August 2016, he decided to do something about it and get a stem cell procedure done to his wrist in Munich, Germany.

"They went over it with two of our radiologist, so they watched the procedure. They wanted to get comfortable with it and they were probably more anxious or just as anxious," Marlette said.

Marlette said he and the radiologist were anxious to see if the procedure would work.

"It was really surprising with the response that he had as far as the edema which was a great response for him. That it really had a difference on the erosions too," Sanford radiologist Dr. Meredith Hayes said.

One of the radiologist who had been monitoring the changes in Marlette's wrist since getting the stem cell procedure done, Hayes says so far the changes have all been positive.

"Now he actually able to shake people's hands and golf and use the number keypad," Hayes said.

Marlette said he was confident about getting the procedure done on his wrist and said it was surprisingly simple.

"It really was. I think I walked in at 8 a.m. and I think I was out of the hospital at noon," Marlette said.

For Marlette — a father and husband — the procedure has made a positive impact on his way of life. He is able to do some of the things he had given up on and the biggest change is the amount of pain he was suffering from daily has dramatically decreased.

"The inflammation is predominantly gone and some of the cysts are starting to shrink or go away and for at least in the short term that knocked out a lot of the pain," Marlette said.

He was able to go on a skiing trip recently with his family. More importantly he says the little thing he can do now have given him the chance to get back to normal.

"It was nice being able to shake hands again without cringing," Marlette said.

Marlette says the only pain he still feels in his wrist is where the cartilage has been worn completely away leaving bone to bone contact. Unfortunately, that damage is permanent.

The stem cells have been able to restore the areas that were not completely worn away in his wrist by taking fat from his own abdomen and injecting into his wrist.
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