EDWARDS - Decades of hard skiing and lots of golf have given John Beeman a lot of fun.
"I ski 35 to 40 days a year, golf 5 days a week and I walk with a bag," Beeman said.
It has also given the 61-year-old a worn out knee that he thought would need surgery, laying him up for months until he tried something new that John says gave his knee new life.
"There's something new and different happening in my knee and now I'm thinking I may not need a knee replacement at all," Beeman said.
It's a relatively recent idea called regenerative medicine that's pretty rare, but done by Dr. Scott Brandt at ThriveMD in Edwards.
"There are only a handful of places doing it around the country," Brandt said.
Doctors use liposuction to get fat cells, which hold about 2,500 times more stem cells than bone marrow, then use those stem cells to heal worn out knees, shoulders, even arthritis.
"This is the answer to arthritis and long term tendinitis. This is a great answer for that, but in this town knees and shoulders are our prime candidate," Brandt said.
The idea is that it's meant as an alternative to an operation, instead of doctors carefully removing or fixing worn out body parts with stem cell regeneration. The idea is that a doctor takes a patient's stem cells, then injects them into the worn out body parts and lets the body heal it's self.
"An adult stem cell we take from the patient's own fatty tissue and we harvest those cells and inject them into the damaged joint and allow the patient's own cells to repair their own cartilage," Brandt said.
Brandt says high profile athletes have been using this procedure for years and now it's becoming more available to the rest of us with a fraction of the traditional surgical recovery time.
"The procedure takes about three hours. They are back doing most of their sports within a week or two," Brandt said.
You can learn more about regenerative medicine by heading to the ThriveMD website at http://thrivemdvail.com/
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)