This is a very, very, very interesting topic
WHO is a pioneer in this field? A leader? An expert?
WHAT criteria exists to help determine this?
WHERE can you find these experts?
The reason this topic is so interesting is because juuuuuust about everyone advertising they provide regenerative medicine services say they are the best, and they have the most advanced products. It's like every town has "voted best pizza" or "world famous bagels!" Every spot can't truly be the best.. so how can you be sure you're going somewhere that really makes great pizza? We all know the sauce is key, but how do you know unless you try it??
Any intelligent person has to wonder how SO many people can be SO good at providing such new services!!
To help you determine who the right provider is to take care of you, your friends, and your family, I can tell you my story - I'll keep it rather short - and tell you what I learned along the way.
Almost 5 years ago now I was about a year out of fellowship, in a busy Pain practice, when I was approached by a sales rep with a stem cell product. They told me they could sell me this vial of powder, and if I added water and mixed it up I would have a stem cell product to inject into patients. I decided to start doing some research, because I didn't understand how there could be stem cells in there. They handed me a white paper put together by the company selling the product and claimed it proved that there were in fact stem cells in there. (I know now that there are not stem cells in there, but that's another topic for another post)
Luckily, around the same time I found a couple of groups that were leading the way in regenerative medicine for orthopedics. They were NOT using high pressure sale tactics to sell fake products - instead, they were training physicians to provide the most precise injections possible using orthobiologics (platelets, stem cells) from the patient's own body (autologous treatments.)
It was an easy decision, I started training with them.
This was the smartest decision I made. I didn't go to a 2-day weekend course and try to learn it all in 12 hours. I went to 1 course each month, and spent 2 days in small groups learning from experts. They focused each weekend course on specific body parts, so I would spend 2 days on the hand/elbow one weekend, and then 2 days on the knee the next, and then 2 days on the foot/ankle, then the hip, the shoulder, the spine... And that was the Level 1 courses. Then I went back for all the level 2 courses, and then the level 3 courses after that. In essence, I spent 3 times as much time learning these treatments for the foot and ankle as most physicians spend on the entire body!! I understood very quickly who the experts were.
For more information on my training, see the IOF website at: https://www.interventionalorthopedics.org/
They have a registry on the website with updated profiles for physician's training.
They setup a program to help limit the scam clinics opening up all over the country.
They setup a program to guide the ethics centered around these treatments.
These are the types of physicians you want to seek out. Another group that does a great job with training is the AAOM. They also have a directory.
Now, obviously all this time and money spent training set me back in the short term - but it prepared me to help lead the future of this field.
Currently, we are launching a state-of-the-art facility right here in Fort Myers!
Gulf Coast Biologics will be the leading teaching facility in SWFL, and one of the leaders in the world. Not only will we train physicians, but we are partnering with providers around the country to do research and help pave the way to smarter and safer treatments in the years to come. I'm excited to be on staff here to help lead us into the future of Interventional Regenerative Orthopedics.