Measuring the change in the density of cartilage after a year is a very useful metric – relatively easy to measure reliably and validly. Evaluating the efficacy of the procedure, however, goes beyond that in a couple of respects. The first is that the conditions (which may be alterable) that affect the relative success of the procedure must be understood, both additively and interactively, and the degree to which a model of those may be properly specified seems quite low at this point. Hence, gathering data from the patients themselves might be very useful in a couple of respects. I must state up front that as a social scientist I find the idea of “testimonials/’ as opposed to self-reports or self-evaluations of the impact across time of the procedure on routine and volitional activities, difficult to swallow. After wrestling with this, I have decided to respond in a somewhat expanded form out of respect for the clinic staff and Dr. Youm
In my case, I had been suffering from increasing arthritis and diminished cartilage in both knees, with my left knee being a lot worse than my right. My preferred style of life includes both a lot of walking and participation in quite a few different sports activities, so doing something about my knees has been a high priority for me. I had been receiving hyaluronic acid injections every six months for a year and a half. These injections were useful in helping me engage in routine activities (walking, climbing and descending stairs, and beginning to walk without stiffness and/or much pain after sitting for an hour or so) and more volitional activities (pickleball, tai chi and kungfu, and long bike rides). However, near the end of each six-month cycle, both sets of activities became more painful and challenging. There was also a pronounced reduction in the
positive impact of these injections from one cycle to another, with the first cycle having a very large impact and the third cycle having virtually no impact. It was at that point that I contemplated either having a double knee replacement or trying stem cell therapy.
How did the Stem Cell injections alter my ability to engage in routine and more voluntary activities?
In order to assess this more objectively, I constructed a self-report scale of routine-activity-engagement pain, with 0 representing no pain at all and 9 representing debilitating pain, and used the week (which I tried to make as typical as possible) before the procedure as a baseline for assessing the level of pain I was experiencing and enabling a more reliable assessment of any changes in felt pain after the procedure. I also kept track of the number of steps (from my Fitbit watch) I took each day as a crude way of assessing the amount of stress I was putting on my knees each day. I stopped gathering data after about five weeks – simply because I was not learning anything interesting beyond the immediate effects. From the very first day, my felt pain was cut from 5 to 2.9. I had expected that there might be a short-term improvement that paralleled the hyaluronic acid injections, and though I write this report two months after the procedure, I have experienced no fluctuation in pain even though my step numbers varied considerably from about 4,000 to 12,000 over that period.
After the first month I began biking for longer periods, playing pickleball more seriously and participating in kung fu more rigorously – all without an increase in pain. And although others reported that at one point I had a mild increase in swelling in my knees, any swelling was temporary. Nor have I experienced any weakness in the back of my knees. I must admit I would love to understand the mechanisms better, but at least in terms of 2-month outcomes, I can report that the procedure was a success for me.
I should note that the difference between routine and voluntary activities is that the former revolve around things that one must do if one is to live a “normal” life defined in terms of the activities in which one engaged prior to the onset of severe knee problems – things like doing small errands, shopping for groceries, going for a walk or to the movies with family members, getting out of bed and going to the bathroom. The latter embraces more of the sorts of things that lifestyle preference scales pick up. But there are tremendous variations across people in the sorts of things they would define as routine or voluntary, and normality can only be assessed with reference to what one was in the habit of doing before (in this case) one’s knees became challenged. Such things are important because that is the frame of reference that people use to judge the success of a procedure: can I do what I need to do and enjoy doing the way I used to?
Is there anything that stood out about the medical care?
I was quite impressed with the initial interview. The procedure was thoroughly explained and the prospect that the longer-term outcomes might be conditioned by the amount of cartilage in each knee was emphasized. The procedure itself was conducted very professionally, including careful x-rays and a collaborative relationship between the clinic and the maker of the critical centrifuge, and thoughtful advice regarding the resumption of normal activities. I was not experiencing much anxiety (though my diastolic and systolic readings were higher than usual just before the procedure). Having injections in one’s knees is a lot less anxiety-inducing than the sorts of surgical procedures I am used to doing research on (multi-fetal reductions — where
the course of anxiety before, during and after the operation can be critical with respect to medical, psychological and relational outcomes. Hence, I would say that the frankness of the discussion about the possible effects of the procedure stood out the most, followed by my appreciation of the collaborative aspects of the procedure and the apparent collaboration on data gathering and analysis that is presumably taking place. For me, given some of the other research I have done, that collaboration added some credibility to the procedure.
Recommendations to friends about stem cell injections?
I have recommended consideration of this procedure to a couple of people with whom I engage in one or another sports activity. I have noted that as of yet, there are no clinical trials, so that choosing a specialist with considerable experience and reputation is even more important than usual, even going to the point of recommending Dr. Youm and the RYC clinic. I have shared my experiences and noted that the only downside at this point is the lack of coverage by insurance.
Stem cell injection helped me by relieving pain in my knee. Now I basically walk pain free! Dr. Youm spent quality time with me and eased my anxiety. He was excellent. I would tell others to definitely go for the injection!
I tore my labrum, rotator cuff, and upper biceps playing beach volleyball. I was told that the only option is to fix this was with a surgery. In 4 months after a stem cell injection by Dr. Youm, the pain has almost disappeared and I started weight training. Happy to be back in the game in a few months. Dr. Youm was very straightforward and kept my expectations realistic. Also he spent a good amount of time educating me on the cat scan of what my situation was about. Overall, very pleased by the staff. If you have the money to spend, definitely give this a shot before you take the surgery path.
The stem cell injections I had on both knees were amazing! I was in severe pain and limping before stem cell therapy. I had cortisone shots on both knees prior. Also synvisc injections. Also 12 weeks of physical therapy. Nothing worked. Stem cell treatment enabled me to walk in a month without pain and now I can walk 10 blocks at a time without pain and not limping. Dr. Youm’s knowledge and ability stands out from the first appointment to after care. He is an expert truly in his field. The best decision I made was to make an appointment to see Dr. Youm in December of 2014. I had recommended 2 friends to him in the past few months and will continue to recommend Dr. Youm.
Dr. Youm has performed two important surgeries on me in the last six years. Each has been a success and I have been able to get back to my full active life after both operations. Personalized service is what stands out the most with Dr. Youm. His advice is based on me and my activiites, not just some random patient. Also, for my broken collarbone operation, he fit me into his surgery schedule the next day because he knew it needs to be operated on immediately in order to recover properly. I’ve already recommended Dr. Youm many times to great reviews. If you are looking for a competent, down to earth surgeon who has impeccable skills, see him. Sometimes surgery is not needed, and he will tell you that.
The surgery was incredible! I have no pain nor did I have any pain after surgery. When I woke up in the recovery room, I could tell immediately that my hip already felt so much better than it had. I dealt with the hip pain for a couple of years and it increasingly continued to get worse. I knew something was wrong. If I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t even hesitate about having the hip arthroscopy surgery. Absolutely 100% worth it. I only wish I had done it sooner!
Dr. Youm has such a pleasant demeanor, he really makes you comfortable with the whole procedure. His explanations are fantastic and very detailed in a way that you can clearly understand. I was very comfortable asking questions, even if they seemed mundane and obvious. He proposed every available option and never made me feel pressured to make a rash decision. His staff was also very pleasant and helpful as well!
I wouldn’t even hesitate to recommend Dr. Youm to anyone who needs an Orthopaedic Surgeon. In fact, my husband needed knee surgery and I strongly suggested him to see Dr. Youm. He did and also had his surgery performed by him. He is equally as happy as I am and feels great! We are both walking and running again! Thank you, Dr. Youm!
Dr. Youm is an expert and a true professional. As a young adult male working a manual labor job, my life was not pleasant on a daily basis having two bad hips. Surgery was hard but the outcome was better than I imagined. My hips do not bother me daily anymore. Dr. Youm expressed personal interest and sincerity. The most important thing to him was and is my quality of life.
The surgery Dr. Youm performed on me was life changing. I had severe pain in my back that was prohibiting me from enjoying time with my young children. After he performed hip surgery, all of my issues were gone. I now enjoy my kids and can play sports, give them baths, and work out/exercise without any pain. Dr. Youm’s care throughout the entire process was superb. You can tell he genuinely cares and is concerned about your concerns. I would tell a friend looking for an orthopaedic surgeon, “Here’s his number…You won’t regret it!”
Dr. Youm restored my confidence in my physical capabilities. I had two major issues (hamstring and shoulder injuries) that he fixed and now I am a lot more comfortable physically and mentally. What stands out about Dr. Youm is the time he spent with me, the quality of his care, his post-operative care, and the professionalism of his support staff. They were outstanding. If you have a medical plan to accommodate Dr. Youm
Before surgery with Dr. Youm, I was walking with a cane and in pain every day. Now after hip arthroscopy, I am back to where I was before my injury. I
Dr. Youm is my hero! He is so skilled at what he does. The quality of care he provided was second to none. This was my first surgical experience. The staff at RYC Orthopedics was very helpful, informative and caring both before and after my surgery. They are a very professional, caring, knowledgeable staff. Having total knee replacement surgery has really improved the quality of my life. For the first time in 3 years, I can walk without a limp, my leg is straight, and I have no pain. I look forward to taking long walks, swimming, and dancing. Basde on my personal experience, I would highly recommend Dr. Youm and RYC Orthopedics for any orthopedic needs.
I had hip arthroscopy surgery by Dr. Youm to fix a torn labrum, on both the right and left hip. Having the surgeries helped improve my physical performance when working out and playing sports and drastically reduced the amount of pain I was experiencing. Prior to the surgery, I was very cautious and wasn
Dr. Youm is a kind, compassionate doctor who has given me many helpful options for my arthritic knees. He does not rush me into surgery! I
Dr. Youm performed hip arthroscopy to repair my torn labrum. Almost immediately after surgery I was pain-free, moving only within a limited range of motion of course. Even with the restriction of using a brace and crutches, I was realizing for the first time in over a year that I was on the path to being
Dr. Youm performed hip arthroscopy on me and it helped me tremendously! It brought back the normal every day use of my hip. It
I had a high tibial osteotomy in both legs to prevent osteoarthritis of the knee and potential need for a total knee replacement down the line. The surgery was necessary due to a genetic deformity that put undue pressure on my inner knees. Dr. Youm was not only an excellent and skilled surgeon but he also listened carefully to my questions and addressed my concerns with care. He has a great bedside manner and was flexible in working with me during recovery. I would wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Youm to a friend (and have) because I trust that he has the right combination of skill, talent, training, expertise, and humility. He sees himself as a partner in his patient
Dear Dr. Youm,
I am writing to thank you for repairing a torn labrum on my right hip 8 weeks ago. I am having a good recovery from the surgery and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the fact that I had this procedure done.
Faced with the fact that I was 60 years of age, I had several doubts, one of them being whether or not to have this surgery done. After my initial consultation with you, I left your office feeling reassured that I had a good chance for a good outcome. I can
Dr. Youm is the greatest he did my reconstructive surgery
on my knee and it was successful. I highly recommend him for everyone.
I had injured my hip several years ago and was not able to get past the pain and restriction, even with physical therapy. I finally had X-rays and an MRI which showed two tears, arthritis and a bone spur. I consulted two well known surgeons in Naples Fl who told me I was
My initial surgery for right rotator cuff repair by a Doctor in Long Island was not successful. In fact, it was quite a problem. Dr. Youm ordered an MRI and reported he was unsure if it was repairable as the blood supply and tissue were poor. But, somehow he had the skill to repair it. Eventually, I needed repair of the left rotator cuff and the experience was wonderful and repair was successful. Thank you Dr. Youm! Dr. Youm is not only skilled providing quality care – he is kind, a good listener and spends time explaining effectively any concerns you have and offering suggestion that have always provided resolutions. I would say, and, in fact, have told many friends and family members about the wonderful care Dr. Youm provides – he is a
After hip arthroscopy by Dr. Youm, I am able to do all the activities I enjoy without pain. Dr. Youm cares about each individual patient. He provided a correct diagnosis and the surgery worked! I would recommend Dr. Youm.
I have my life back! Dr. Thomas Youm is the Dr. that everyone wants and needs. Trust him. He is the best.
I would highly recommend Dr. Youm, and have, as my hip feels better than it had in years. Before surery, I was in constant pain. It hurt to get out of bed in the morning and walk across the floor. A year out, pain and stiffness is all but gone and I
The shoulder surgery by Dr. Youm was the best thing I ever did. Before the surgery, I was in pain 24/7. And also, I was not able to sleep, not able to lift heavy objects, or even light weights in the gym. I have never met a more caring and attentive doctor (surgeon) than Dr. Youm. He listens as well as gives advice and explained everything that happened in laymens terms. He is also very easy to talk to and joke with. Go (run!) to Dr. Youm. He is the best doctor!
I had constant knee pain before Dr. Youm did my knee surgery. After the surgery, I haven
Hip arthroscopy by Dr. Youm eliminated the daily pain I felt in my hip immediately and has gotten me on my way to resuming the level of physical activity that I want to engage in. The quality of care before and after surgery and the thorough answers to my questions are what stand out to me, in addition to the great outcome from my surgery. I would absolutely recommend Dr. Youm to anyone in need of an orthopaedic surgeon.
I underwent knee arthroscopy with Dr. Youm. The surgery allowed me to play basketball, hike, golf, play baseball, and resume a physically active lifestyle without limitations. What stands out with Dr. Youm is the quality of care and efficiency of the procedure. I have already recommended a friend to Dr. Youm who has had surgery and successful treatment.
I should have submitted my testimonial a while ago but better late then never. I was 39 at the time of my surgery..I had hip surgery done by Dr. Youm in Feb of 2010
A+!!! I was misdiagnosed for elbow pain by another Orthopedic surgeon, and felt hopeless and dismayed when I arrived at Dr. Youm
I feel so fortunate to have chosen Dr. Youm for my total knee replacement surgery. I
Dr. Youm changed my life. I have always been an active person- playing tennis and golf and then I became an old person! The pain in my knees made me unable to do the things I enjoy. I was side-lined in many ways until my total knee replacement. I am back on the tennis court and golf course and I feel like I got my life back. Dr. Youm was amazing and I have sent many people to his office. My friends call me a
Two weeks ago, Dr. Youm performed total knee replacement surgery on my left knee which had been ruined by osteoarthritis. My recovery has been SO encouraging – I am not in pain and I
Last year, when I was diagnosed with a complete labral tear in my right hip and also FAI, I was devastated. I had been an avid distance runner for years, and the pain I had developed was so severe that I was afraid I would never race again. Thankfully, I met Dr. Youm. In April of 2011, he performed arthroscopic surgery to repair the tear. In November of 2011, after 6 months of rehab that Dr. Youm helped coach me through, I completed the NYC ING Marathon – my fourth. My surgical hip didn
Dear Sir / Madam,
I cannot say enough about how wonderful I feel Dr. Youm is. I was referred to him after sustaining another knee injury and being told that I am too old to continue my active lifestyle. I was so discouraged and not even able to walk when I met Dr. Youm. His bedside manner handled my challenging personality and gave me hope that post-op I would be able to resume the lifestyle
I am accustom to living. He took the time to thoroughly explain the surgery I would and what
the recovery process would entail. He left nothing to chance or surprise and I left his
office knowing I had found my surgeon. I was on crutches for 8 weeks total and my recovery was just as Dr. Youm said it would be. I had surgery March 30th and 6 weeks after coming off crutches I was able to take my bike out for a 20 mile ride. I have since been able to downhill ski and participate in an indoor triathlon in January and hoping to do several more this summer. I owe my ability to continue my active lifestyle to Dr. Youm and am thankful for him and all he has done for me! Trust me when I say that I am not an easy consumer to please as I have worked in the medical field for 25 years and demand a lot from those whom I seek medical care from. Dr. Youm not only stepped up to the plate he exceeded
any expectation that I had of him. I highly recommend Dr. Youm and his colleagues for any and all of your orthopedic surgical needs.
I was quite nervous about the potential of having surgery for the first time ever and met with various surgeons about my condition. Dr. Youm was comforting and attentive from the start.
I went to three different surgeons for opinions and Dr. Youm was the only surgeon to notice the actual cause of my injury. Where others had seen a
Dr. Thomas Youm is a most special doctor, the finest, most expert surgeon, and above all, a caring, concerned professional who possesses every quality you hope to find in a doctor to whom you have entrusted your life, limb, and well-being. Dr. Youm performed two total replacement surgeries on my knees transforming them from a painful disabled condition to complete unrestricted pain-free movement and activity. For me, as a teacher of ballet, this outcome signified a return to a full teaching schedule for my legs and full satisfaction and contentment for my mind.
I thank Dr. Youm for the excellence of his care-pre- and post-surgery; for always being available to listen-and really hear and understand my worries and questions; for always being ready to discuss concerns and anxieties in a straightforward, patient way.
I am grateful indeed for Dr. Youm