By JESSIE HORTON
STEPHENVILLE (October 3, 2018) – Imagine, if you will, a cool fall morning in Erath County – a light fog dissipates as the sun rises, warming the moisture. A cyclist emerges from the Stephenville side streets onto an FM road rising from her seat as the pavement inclines. You’d never guess less than six months ago she was facing surgery, not having been on her bike in nearly a year.
Mere miles from her, standing on the deck of his bass boat, a professional fisherman hauls in his first catch of the morning – a lake record that took hours of fishing to find. The knee that could have ended his career a year ago, not even a fleeting thought.
Both were facing surgery that very well could have changed the way they lived their day-to-day lives. Both visited Cross Timbers Orthopedics and Dr. Matt Maruska told them there was another way. An in-office procedure that uses their own cells to help them with a single, almost always, once-in-a-lifetime shot.
What sounds like science fiction is really just the future of medicine in Erath County right now. Dr. Maruska is one of the few trained doctors in the area using stem cell and platelets to heal joints affected by osteoarthritis that would have, before, needed surgery.
The staff at CTO in Stephenville have been working with these procedures since July 2017 and Dr. Maruska is confident in this new method.
“While it isn’t the answer for everyone – sometimes the damage is too far progressed and other times it’s not a viable option for other reasons,” he warned. “It is very successful in the patients who have used it. I’d say about 60-70 percent of our patients see a 60-70 percent decrease in pain and a great increase in mobility and usage. That means someone with pain at about a 7 can expect to see that decrease to a manageable 3 or 4.”
Maruska said he was trained to extract stem cells or platelets from a patient’s blood. Though the procedure depends on the patient and the issue within the joint and the joint itself. The only joint Maruska and staff do not work on is the spine. However, Maruska said he can recommend wonderful doctors for that as well.
Both procedures Dr. Maruska preforms are done in the clinic and under local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort.
“It just feels like a little bit of pressure,” he assures. “And the complications from this procedure are limited to possible infections at the injection site and the mild discomfort we’ve just talked about.”
The success rate is incredibly high with stem cell and platelet treatment. Maruska said many of his patients see improvement in the first three to six months.
Published research stats, “stem cell treatment for knee arthritis results in 58-70 percent improvement in pain and 67-83 percent improvement in function one year to 18 months after treatment.”
Dr. Maruska is so excited about this method of treatment, he’s holding an open seminar on Thursday, October 4, from 6-7 p.m. at the Faith Lutheran Family Center in Stephenville. This event is free and open to anyone interested in this procedure. He’ll be there to tell everyone more about the procedure and in far more detail.
“I’d say if you’re dealing with pain on a daily basis, if you’re taking lots of over the counter pain relief medicines (like aspirin or Tylenol) or have tried other methods that haven’t worked, come hear what we’re doing, see if it’s for you,” Maruska said of his seminar. “If you can’t make the seminar, call the office and make an appointment with me. I’d love to tell anyone interested more about this treatment, I think it’s the future of pain management for this type of thing.”
There is one thing, Maruska and the staff at CTO want patients to understand going into any discussion about these treatments. They are still in the early stages and Maruska didn’t know of any insurance that covers the cost of treatment. And that cost isn’t minimal, with procedures running anywhere from $3,400 to over $4,000. However, there is CareCredit, a program that works with a patient and if they are accepted allows a payment plan.
Call CTO at (254) 965-2663 for more information or to RSVP for the seminar.