All posts by Dr. Stickney

Testimonial from Carol

I would highly recommend Dr. Jeff Stickney. His skills as a surgeon are superb. He listens carefully to you as a patient. The preparation for the total knee replacement surgery is extremely thorough, with detailed explanations, and instructions for steps to take both pre- and post-surgery to prevent infection, and proactive steps to ameliorate pain. I received a list to take to a physical therapist to learn ahead of time how to properly use a cane and a walker, how to navigate steps, etc. She said she had never seen anything so thorough from an orthopedic surgeon.

The Potential and Pitfalls of Stem Cell Injections

stemcallcautionWhen it comes to stem cell therapy, it’s wise to be a bit wary. While stem cells can have enormous implications for treatment of injury and disease, many facilities offering stem cell injections are simply looking to capitalize on the buzz surrounding this therapy. If you’re considering stem cell injections, it’s essential that you learn everything you can about stem cell practices so you can identify the healing potential and possible scams.

This type of therapy involves repurposing self-renewing stem cells found naturally in your body by injecting them into damaged tissue. When you experience an injury, the body’s healing reaction sends undeveloped cells through the bloodstream to the injured area. When they arrive, they develop into repair cells as a response to their surroundings. The goal of stem cell injections is to expedite treatment of injury or disease by harnessing this natural capacity your body has for healing itself.

The procedure begins with stem cell harvesting, where a doctor extracts cells from points within the body, like fat or bone marrow. Alternatively, cells from a donor like blood from an umbilical cord, could be used, but they must be treated first to prevent negative reactions in the patient. The doctor then proceeds to inject this collection of cells, including rare stem cells, to the site of injury. In theory, this enhances the rate at which the body can heal after injury.

With further research and more advances in the field, stem cells will eventually be extracted from your body and separated in a lab to identify cells with specific capacity. For example, when healing an arthritic joint, stem cells for joint cartilage healing will be cultured to increase their numbers, then injected back into your joint in a quantity sufficient to repair it. While this is the ultimate goal, years of clinical research and trials are required first. In fact, the FDA does not currently allow cell removal from your body, processing them in any significant way, and then putting them back into your body, unless the practice is conducted as part of an approved clinical trial.

Many stem cell therapy offerings charge anywhere between $5000 to $10000 to simply take cells from your bone marrow or fat, spin them in a centrifuge to concentrate the cells, and inject them back into the area of injury. This process makes no attempt to identify the number or quality of stem cells harvested. There are no controlled studies proving this process is effective thus far.

As with any treatment, each patient reacts differently. The current literature surrounding stem cell injections states that the treatment is limited by the quantity and quality of stem cells initially harvested. Patients carry varying levels of stem cells, which may result in ineffective transfusions. Another limitation is physical blockages, such as blocked arteries, that inhibit the body’s ability to transport cells throughout the injured area.

Even when the outcome of stem cell therapy is recovery, establishing a cause-and-effect relationship is difficult because of multiple distinct processes taking place during treatment, and the high potential for placebo effects and natural healing. Some patients improve drastically while others show no substantial alterations.

The efficacy of stem cell injections is a point of contention amongst medical professionals, and because we are still in the experimental stage there’s still a lot we don’t know. FDA regulations for stem cell therapy are subject to change. Be cautious of stem cell treatments offered without regulatory approval or that have not been tested in a registered clinical trial.

When it comes to proven treatments, Dr. Stickney, a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon, is an expert in exercise and healthjoint replacement surgerysports medicine and more. Contact Dr. Stickney and return to your healthy, pain-free lifestyle!

Game Changers: Preventing Common Sports Injuries

soccerSummer 2018 has arrived and World Cup fever is in the air. While we certainly see our share of flops in these matches, many players endure legitimate injuries too. Those same injuries will be happening to people everywhere this summer as we spend more time being active outside. Reviewing these common sports injuries, their symptoms, and prevention tactics will ensure you know how to stay safe and keep the ball rolling.

Stay on Your Feet
Soccer players possess the remarkable ability to run nearly nonstop for 90 minutes. However, their effort often comes at a price, especially when warm weather factors in. Groin pulls, thigh strains, and calf cramps are among the most prevalent injuries we see, and they often result from overuse and dehydration. Make sure to stay drink plenty of water, wear the correct equipment, and listen to your body while exercising, especially in the heat.

Bend It
Bending your muscles, ligaments, and joints by stretching regularly will help you “bend it” like the pros. Injuries such as shin splints, ACL tears, and Achilles tendinitis aggravate when athletes don’t stretch or rush back into action too soon. Condition yourself by starting at a low-intensity level and gradually increasing to allow your body to adjust rather than straining its limits. Care for these injuries with rest, ice, and elevation – or call an orthopedic doctor for further evaluation if pain persists.

Tear Up the Turf, Not Your Knees
Soccer, like other summer activities, requires sharp cutting, quick stops, and pivoting. These sudden movements lead to some of the most notable injuries we see in World Cup matches and during summer– ACL tears and ankle sprains. They can occur without contact and may require surgery depending on severity. Take precaution by strength training, wearing the correct footwear, and practicing the proper technique for whatever exercise you choose.

Dr. Stickney, a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon, is an expert in exercise and healthshoulder replacement surgerysports medicine and more. Contact Dr. Stickney and return to your healthy, pain-free lifestyle!

How to Avoid Summer Workout Dangers

summerworkoutStaying safe during your summer sweat sessions is important, whether you’re doing laps in the pool, getting in touch with your inner yogi, or logging miles on the road. Read below for a few tips on how to avoid summer workout dangers.

  1. Stay Hydrated. It may seem like a no-brainer, but becoming dehydrated in the heat of summer is easier than you think. If you want to avoid the unfortunate side effects of dehydration, including light-headedness, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, it’s crucial to properly hydrate. The National Athletic Trainers Association suggests aiming to consume 17-20 ounces of water two-three hours prior to exercise and seven-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes during your workout.
  2. Skip Mid-Day Outdoor Exercise. With peak sun and heat hours being from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., it’s best to move your workout indoors during this time frame. Plan your bike rides, runs, or swims for early morning, late afternoon, or evening to keep cool and avoid exposing your skin to damaging UV rays. If it’s not possible to workout inside, look for shaded outdoor areas instead.
  3. Use the Buddy System. Heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can be easier to spot in someone else than they are to spot in yourself. Exercising with a friend or group could make all the difference in avoiding an injury or illness. Some signs to look out for include: confusion, headache, nausea, weakness, and blood rushing to the surface of the skin.
  4. Dress for the Heat. Working out in warm weather means wearing clothing that’s breathable. Sweat-wicking fabrics are especially great because they move moisture away from your skin to the outside of your clothing, where it can evaporate. These types of fabrics also minimize chaffing and keep you feeling cool and comfortable.
  5. Be Sure to Cool Down. When it comes to avoiding injuries in the heat, making sure to do a proper cool down after your exercise session is vital. While many of us stretch prior to working out, the best time to stretch is actually after you exercise, when blood is flowing to the skeletal muscles, your tissues are more pliable, and the risk for injury is lowered.

Dr. Stickney, a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon, is an expert in exercise and healthjoint replacement surgerysports medicine and more. Contact Dr. Stickney and return to your healthy, pain-free lifestyle!

Testimonial from Becky

SwiftPath did a good job preparing me for the surgery and recovery. There were no surprises. Dr. Stickney did a great job on my TKR. I was home the same day as the surgery, had a smooth recovery and went back to work in 3 weeks. A little over 4 months after surgery and I am gardening 5-8 hours a day on the weekends and have no pain or swelling in the new knee. Thank you Dr. Stickney!