Stem cell therapy for knee pain has always comprised a significant percentage of the procedures performed at thriveMD’s clinics in Vail and Denver, Colorado. We constantly receive inquiries from patients about how stem cell therapy works to provide relief from knee arthritis and what are reasonable patient expectations following a stem cell procedure.

Patients suffering from chronic knee cartilage degeneration and osteoarthritis, due to years of overuse, often come to thriveMD for stem cell treatment. We also commonly treat acute conditions, resulting from recent soft tissue injuries (such as ACL, MCL, or knee meniscus tears).

Many of the patients who have undergone stem cell treatments for knee pain have found that this minimally invasive procedure to be an excellent alternative to total knee replacement or arthroscopic surgery.

x-ray arthritic knee stem cell injection

Placement of a subpatellar stem cell injection in a patient with lateral patella-femoral arthritis

Are Stem Cells for Knees Effective

The doctor should evaluate whether you are a candidate for a stem cell procedure by discussing the circumstances of your injury, examining the painful knee, and reviewing the appropriate imaging during your consultation. Once the doctor has a thorough understanding of your injury, they can then make treatment recommendations specific to your case.

There are a number of research studies that have demonstrated significant improvement in knee pain and cartilage quality following stem cell therapy. There are additionally numerous ongoing studies continuing to evaluate the benefits from these procedures. A recent pilot study evaluating the use of adult stem cells for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis utilized MRI data as well as pain relief to evaluate treatment effectiveness.

This study demonstrated that the treatment is less invasive than traditional surgery, can be performed as an outpatient procedure, and provides not only pain relief, but also improves cartilage quality. The experience of our Colorado patients who have suffered from severe knee pain have demonstrated results consistent with the research findings on stem cells for knees.

knee treatment with stem cell injections testimonial

Patient from Arvada, CO uses stem cell therapy to avoid a knee replacement and get back to swimming and hiking.

Individual patient results may vary. Please contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

Stem cell therapy may have the potential to be an effective knee pain treatment option with longterm symptom relief. It is important to have an experienced stem cell physician determine whether you are a candidate and to set appropriate expectations.

How Does Stem Cell Therapy for Knee Pain Provide Relief

Stem cells are the construction workers of the body’s repair mechanism.

The primary role of adult stem cells is to maintain healthy tissue and initiate the healing of damaged tissue by replenishing dying or damaged cells. When injected into your knee, stem cells find the damaged cartilage and have the potential to initiate its repair or regeneration.

The process is natural and takes place in every tissue in our bodies. Stem cell repair is the primary healing mechanism present in the body. In tissues, such as knee joint cartilage and the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), there is limited blood supply. This limited blood supply prevents adequate delivery of stem cells to the damaged tissue to initiate the body’s natural healing mechanism.

The delivery of a large volume of stem cells by injection can help initiate the healing response. Stem cell therapy can repair degenerative knee cartilage,  partially torn tendons, and provide pain relief when conservative treatments had been unsuccessful.

stem cell injections testimonial for knees

Stem Cell Therapy for Torn Meniscus for a Skier from Florida

Individual patient results may vary. Please contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

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Where Are Stem Cells Harvested

At thriveMD, we utilize autologous, adult stem cells in the treatment of damaged knees. The cells are harvested from your own body during the procedure. 
The cells are harvested from your own body at the time of your outpatient procedure. Adult stem cells are found in the highest concentration in adipose (fat) tissue. In smaller concentrations, they are also harvested from bone marrow.

Our stem cell process utilizes fat as the primary stem cell source. Bone marrow concentrate is also utilized as an additional source of stem cells for knees, but it is primarily used for its rich content of growth factors that aid in the repair mechanism. For further detail, please review our post on fat vs bone marrow for cartilage regeneration.

Most Commonly Treated Knee Conditions

Knee patients come to us with two types of knee conditions:

  1. Chronic pain due to knee cartilage degeneration or overuse
  2. Acute knee injuries

An example of a knee patient who has successfully utilized stem cells in the treatment of chronic knee pain is someone who has degenerative knee cartilage following years of athletic activity and wants to continue to maintain an active lifestyle. An example of an acute knee injury is a skier or golfer who has injured a knee ligament or meniscus and wants to heal effectively and get back to their favorite sport quickly.

We see golfers, skiers, hikers, tennis players, horseback riders, runners, and active participants in just about every sport. We also see knee patients who are not athletes and do not aspire to keep running marathons, but who want to comfortably participate in everyday activities without the need for invasive procedures or to undergo knee replacement surgery.

Contact our Vail or Denver office to find out if you could be a candidate for stem cell therapy.

Stem Cells Therapy as a Knee Replacement & Surgical Alternative

At thriveMD, we have helped an enormous number of patients avoid knee joint replacement surgery with our state-of-the-art stem cell procedure.

We have provided an effective alternative for countless numbers of patients that come to us after their surgeon has recommended knee replacement surgery. The benefits patients experience are often life-changing.

Stem cell therapy is not only an excellent knee replacement surgery alternative, but can provide a great option to avoid arthroscopic surgery for injuries such as meniscus tears and partial ACL tears. By utilizing stem cells for knees to repair a partially torn ACL, the ligament can heal to become just as strong as the original ligament.

stem cell therapy for knees testimonial

Patient uses stem cell therapy to help her meniscus injury and return to skiing and windsurfing.

Individual patient results may vary. Please contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

By maintaining  the original placement of the ligament and restoring the natural motion of the joint, the stem cell procedure lowers the risk of future arthritic changes that are so prevalent following a full ligament replacement.

By opting for stem cell therapy in order to avoid knee surgery, you can often prevent the long painful recovery, weeks of missed work, and the potential surgical risks. Surgical complications can include an increased rate of heart attacks, infection, bleeding, blood clots and nerve injury. Learn much more from our content dedicated to the stem cell alternative to knee surgery.

Advantages of Stem Cells for Knees over Other Knee Pain Treatments

  • Minimally invasive: Stem cell procedures are performed in an office-based procedure suite and cause minimal tissue damage.
  • Quick return to daily activities: Stem cell knee patients return to work in 1-2 days and typically do not require bracing or crutches.
  • Quick recovery time: Patients are able to increase activity levels within a few weeks and return to sports in 4-6 weeks.
  • Natural: Stem cells come from your own body and they trigger the body’s natural healing mechanism.
  • Cost efficient: Although stem cell therapy is not covered by insurance, the actual cost of the procedure is much less than that of invasive surgery and the price per joint can be further improved when the patient undergoes a stem cell procedure for more multiple areas in the same day. Furthermore, the quick recovery time means that stem cell patients miss fewer work days and have lower rehabilitation costs.
  • Less medication: Using stem cells for knees requires little, if any, postoperative use of pain medication.

What Stem Cell Therapy May Not Provide

stem cell injections for knee injuries

As groundbreaking as stem cell therapy is for the treatment knee pain, it is certainly not the answer to every degenerative knee condition. It is crucial, as a patient, to understand the indications for stem cell therapy.

Knee pain due to severely asymmetric degeneration is an example of a condition that typically will not respond well to stem cell therapy. Similarly, stem cell treatments may have the potential to heal a partially torn ACL, but is not the treatment of choice for a completely torn ACL.

ThriveMD puts an emphasis on educating our potential patients. This helps them to make a well-informed treatment decision – learn more about stem cell misconceptions in our article about 10 Stem Cell Myths.

The Stem Cell Procedure for the Knee


The stem cell procedure for the treatment of knee pain is minimally invasive, takes about 3 hours, and patients walk out of the office on their own following treatment. To start, stem cells are harvested from your abdominal or love handle fat using high tech, minimally-invasive liposuction equipment. Stem cells from your bone marrow are also utilized. The bone marrow concentrate is harvested using a specially designed, low-trauma needle which is placed into the posterior iliac crest under live x-ray guidance.

Mild IV sedation, in combination with local anesthetic, is used to provide patient comfort during the procedure. The harvested cells are then prepared for injection using an advanced separation and centrifugation process.

With the use of live x-ray guidance, the cells and growth factors are injected into the affected knee joint under sterile conditions. Dr. Brandt‘s extensive experience with knee injections, along with the aid of the appropriate image guidance, ensures the cells are reaching their targeted area so you have the best chance for improvement.

To complement the high stem cell count achieved with the use of adipose derived stem cells, we often utilize PRP, A2M, and placental derived growth factors during our knee procedures and follow-up treatments.

Stories & Testimonials of Famous Athletes and thriveMD Knee Patients

Rafael Nadal's knee stem cell treatment

There have been numerous professional athletes that have benefited in recent years from advanced regenerative therapies for orthopedic pain. Most recently in the
news was Jack Nicklaus, professional golf’s most prolific major winner, who has undergone stem cell injections into his lumbar spinal facet joints. Another well known athletic superstar, Rafael Nadal, has also undergone fat derived stem cell procedures on two occasions.

After a successful procedure for his ailing knee, Nadal returned to highly competitive tennis, logging several more major wins. When he developed facet dysfunction in his lumbar spine, he was able to quickly return to playing form, once again, following stem cell treatment. Cristiano Ronaldo and Kobe Bryant are also reported to have undergone successful stem cell procedures for their knees.

The very same procedures that these legends have undergone are not just available to professional athletes. These ortho-biologic procedures are allowing aging athletes and weekend warriors alike to continue comfortably enjoying their passions without having to undergo the potential complications and downtime of invasive surgery.

“I’ve had two successful stem cell procedures performed by Dr. Brandt (knee and back). I’ve resumed playing golf, riding my bike, and skiing, relatively pain free. I would highly recommend Dr. Brandt.”*

Frank, patient follow-up

Patient from Denver Uses Stem Cells to Avoid Knee Replacement, Returns to Skiing

Former competitive tennis player and skier, with degeneration of soft tissue and arthritic changes in the knee, uses stem cell injections as an alternative to knee replacement surgery.*

Read the knee pain case by Dr. Brandt

“After only 3 weeks, I have an 80% reduction in my knee pain.

I will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 4 months, and I will be ready.”*

Susan, patient follow-up

Stem Cells for Arthritic Knee, Hip and Rotator Cuff

ThriveMD patient from Breckenridge, CO, who used stem cell therapy to treat arthritic knee pain, hip pain, and a torn rotator cuff. The joint pain made her no longer able to keep up her routine of biking, hiking and skiing.*

Read the Arthritic Knee case by Dr. Brandt

*Individual patient results may vary. Contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

Colorado’s Top Knee Stem Cell Doctor & Clinic

Dr. Brandt has trained extensively with other stem cell experts across the country and become one of the nation’s top stem cell doctors. He provides the highest quality stem cell therapies available. He continues to incorporate advancements in the field as rapidly as scientific evidence supports their addition.

This combined with Dr. Brandt’s unparalleled expertise in minimally-invasive injection techniques, utilizing live image guidance, allows him to ensure the best biologic solutions are placed with accuracy in the appropriate areas of the knee tissue damage.

Dr. Brandt practices in the state of Colorado and treats knee patients at thriveMD locations in Vail and Denver. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and has been an International Spinal Injection Society Instructor. He has been a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Colorado Society of Anesthesiologists, International Spinal Injection Society, and the American Board of Pain Medicine. He regularly speaks at Boston Biolife Conferences.

“Approximately 65% of thriveMD’s new patients are referrals from existing patients.”

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If you believe you or someone you care about could be a candidate for stem cell therapy administered by a trusted clinic, please contact us today.