At 16 years old, Dylan’s dream was to pursue a career as a professional tennis player. An avid athlete, he began noticing discomfort when he was on the court. His hips would lock up and he would fall to the ground in severe pain.
When the problem worsened, Dylan’s mother Elena took him to different doctors in an effort to discover what was going on. After getting several different opinions, she finally took him to see a renowned sports medicine physician who gave them a diagnosis of synovial chondromatosis confirmed through MRI and x-rays.
Synovial chondromatosis is a rare condition that involves the synovium—the thin layer of tissue that lines joints; in Dylan’s case, his hips. In synovial chondromatosis, the synovium grows abnormally and produces nodules made of cartilage. These nodules can break off from the synovium and become loose inside the joint. The nourishing synovial fluid may cause these loose bodies to grow, calcify, or ossify (turn into bone). They can then roll around like loose marbles and damage the articular cartilage, causing osteoarthritis. The loose nodules were producing Dylan’s discomfort, inflammation and “locking up” of the joints in his hips.
At the age of 17, Dylan underwent surgery to clean out his hips from the loose nodules which had grown. The surgery went well but they were told of the possibility that the condition would return. After a month of recovery, Dylan was back on the tennis court and everything seemed fine.
Within two years, Dylan’s discomfort had returned and he was walking with a limp. He and his mother returned to their physician who confirmed that the synovial chondromatosis had reappeared, but the loose nodules in his hip were now much bigger.
The physician expressed concerns of cancer and suggested a course of chemo and radiation, but they opted to clean out the hip joints yet again. This second surgery took longer, was more invasive and Dylan’s recovery was much longer. More than a month after the procedure, Dylan was still experiencing extreme pain. He was barely able to walk or bend down and had difficulty moving at all. After speaking with doctors, it became clear that continuing on the route of regular invasive surgeries would lead to a faster deterioration of Dylan’s hip.
His mother began researching alternative options. Determined to help her son walk again, she set out to find answers with 2 ultimate goals in mind:
- That Dylan would be in good shape after the treatment, and
- That this new treatment would keep him from having an invasive surgery again.
She then discovered Okyanos and, after learning more about stem cell therapy, moved forward with treatment.
Dylan’s Okyanos Cell Therapy Story
When Dylan (now 20 years old) arrived at Okyanos in Freeport, he was limping and unable to run or perform any fast movements without pain. On September 17th, 2014, Dylan underwent cell therapy wherein stem cells were separated from his own fat tissue for direct injection into the hip as well as delivery by IV to address underlying causes of ischemia, inflammation and abnormal immune response.
5 days later, Dylan was home and walking normally. He continued to improve each day and his movements soon became smooth. Elena noticed Dylan was not only walking without pain, but he was standing straight where before his back had become curved to compensate for the extreme pain in his hips.
10 days later, Dylan told his mother he wanted to play tennis. She agreed to take him to the court, telling him, “Ok, let’s see what happens.”
He began playing and was able to run and move side-to-side without pain. The sight of him playing so comfortably was amazing to Elena, who took a short video to show friends and family his incredible transformation.
There had been an area of Dylan’s leg that had lost all sensation after his first hip surgery. Just recently, he showed Elena that he now was beginning to regain sensation in that area.
“I’m pinching myself. It’s amazing. No, it’s miraculous!” says Elena about her son’s recovery. “If Dylan had not had the cell therapy, we would have kept doing other treatments and crossed our fingers. At 20 years old, his future would have been hip replacement surgery and a lifetime of problems walking, painful movement and an inability to bend down.”
After treatment at Okyanos, Dylan has experienced both physical and personal gains. Though he may not pursue a professional tennis career again, he can now choose what he wants to do with his new, pain-free life. In his mother’s words, “Dylan is thriving more and more and more!”