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Published on August 20, 2019

Joli Bruggeman

For Iowa Woman, Regenerative Medicine is “Amazing” Pain Relief

Joli Bruggeman knows all about hoping procedures and programs will help with tendon pain.

“I told him I thought I was doomed – I figured I would just never walk or play golf without pain,” said the 66-year-old Larchwood, Iowa native. “But Dr. Buchanan just looked at me and said, ‘No! You’re not doomed.’”

Bruggeman felt hopeless because tendon pain, for her, had started decades ago and it led to fruitless approaches that didn’t stop it. She tried steroid injections, she tried Achilles tendon surgery, too. She even had a knee replacement surgery, thinking it might stop the pain.

“I just figured I had to live with it, and it got worse,” she said. “I couldn’t help my husband with hay baling, we couldn’t go walk our dogs and I could golf, but it just hurt so much, in my ankle and in my knee. When it got worse, I met with Dr. Ambrose.”

Thomas Ambrose II, MD, Avera Orthopedics surgeon, recommended she see Jonathan Buchanan, MD, and she did.

“Dr. Buchanan lives for what he does. I didn’t have to ‘buy into’ what he explained. I trusted he would help me, and I was believing it’d work before we did any of the steps,” she said. “I’m glad he was my doctor because I’d say 80% of the pain is completely gone. I’m back to walks, to the golf course. Even after the first injection it felt better.”

Buchanan used a regenerative medicine approach using injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). These can help reduce pain for musculoskeletal conditions such as tennis elbow, rotator cuff tendinitis and Achilles tendinitis like Bruggeman faced. PRP uses a concentration of platelet cells taken from your own blood to promote the body’s natural healing process.

“It is painful and they did put a lot of Novocain into my leg before the injections. My leg was numb for a few days,” said Bruggeman. “I wore a walking boot, too, to hold everything together. I had three injections at each of the three appointments.”

PRP boosts healing by growing and maturing adult stem cells and improving blood flow with injections at the injury location. It can also be used to address ligament sprains, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and tennis elbow as well as torn rotator cuff pain.

“The pain I had was a real drag, and I’d say it’s not completely gone, but pretty close,” Bruggeman said. “I have had the surgeries and the other approaches and they were painful and the recovery was hard. This was much easier – and so far, much more successful.”

With physical therapy on her next-steps list, Bruggeman said she would encourage anyone to consider PRP.

“The boot is off, and the first walk was a little scary, but it’s feeling better every day,” she said. “I’m so grateful. The relief just has been simply amazing.”

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