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The Transformative Journey Through Orthobiologics: A Personal and Professional Revelation

By Deborah Westergaard, MD

Pain Experts




Discovering the Power of Regeneration

In my late 40s, as an avid runner training for the Miami half marathon, I lived with the belief that my body was invincible. My days were filled with ambitious physical activities—running up to 20 miles on weekends, rigorous sessions on the stepmill, and regular weightlifting. However, during one high-energy training session where I indulged in my favorite activity of jumping from heights, I pushed my limits too far and sustained a labral tear in my hip.


Facing Traditional Medical Interventions

Initially, I underwent a conventional surgical approach—labral tear repair and microfractures aimed at relieving the impingement from the femoral head. At that time, these methods represented the standard response to such injuries. But the journey and the outcomes taught me about the significant limitations and long-term consequences of invasive surgeries. The intervention, while momentarily beneficial, set the stage for potential early-onset arthritis.


A Revelation in Healing

Fast forward nearly two decades, and I found myself facing the need for a hip replacement due to the development of an acetabular cyst from the labral tear and further degenerative labral tears. This moment was pivotal. It underscored a critical lesson about the natural vulnerability of our bodies and the invasive nature of traditional surgeries. Had I known about the potential of orthobiologics back then, I could have opted for a less invasive procedure involving PRP or perhaps the extraction and use of bone marrow stem cells from my posterior superior iliac crest, which might have promoted natural healing without the complications associated with traditional surgery.


Applying Lessons to Patient Care

This personal ordeal not only reshaped my physical health trajectory but also profoundly influenced my professional practice. The insights gained from my own recovery led me to integrate comprehensive physical therapy into my treatment protocols, emphasizing the importance of strengthening the musculature around the hip to maintain balance and joint integrity.

Today, I advocate for orthobiologic treatments, recognizing their potential to repair with minimal invasion. My experience has become a cornerstone of my practice, allowing me to guide my patients with not just knowledge but empathy derived from personal experience.


Special Acknowledgments

A special shoutout to Dr. Christopher Centeno and Dr. Jason Markle, whose expertise in mapping out and executing a successful treatment plan for my right shoulder, left hip, lumbar spine, and right knee was instrumental. Their proficiency and pioneering contributions to regenerative medicine treatment protocols, physician training and published research provided me with a tailored recovery strategy that maximized my healing potential, allowing me to continue pursuing my passions with less limitation.


A Call to Action for Those Seeking Alternatives

For anyone experiencing joint pain or facing similar orthopedic challenges, exploring orthobiologic options could offer a path to recovery that minimizes risks and focuses on harnessing the body's innate ability to heal. Before opting for surgery, consider a consultation at Pain Experts Dallas or Regenexx Plano to discuss regenerative alternatives like PRP or Bone marrow aspirate treatments, which might provide relief and functional restoration with fewer long-term repercussions.


Embracing a Future of Regenerative Possibilities

My journey through personal injury and professional growth underscores the transformative potential of orthobiologics. It's a narrative that not only highlights the resilience of the human body but also the evolving landscape of medical treatments that prioritize repair with the amplification of our own body's beautiful repair system over a more invasive structure altering surgery. If you are on a similar path, seeking to overcome physical setbacks while maintaining an active lifestyle, let this knowledge empower you to make informed decisions about your health and recovery.


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               Deborah Westergaard, MD

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