Bonita Raty was an auto parts delivery driver for 20 years. Her job entailed lifting cases of oil, antifreeze, store catalogs and other auto-related items, weighing up to 60 pounds. Additionally, over the years, she took multiple falls in icy conditions, landing on her knees and hurting her back.
Walking became more difficult and her walks to the park and shopping got harder, becoming less frequent. In fact, it was hard to get up, and she had to bend over walking. Finally, she woke up one morning and could barely move. She saw her primary care provider, who referred her to an orthopedic surgeon at the Center for Spine and Orthopedics (CSO). He diagnosed Bonita with osteoarthritis of her knee joint and recommended cortisone injections as a start. She began having the injections to relieve her knee pain in December 2019.
They helped, but the following year, she began seeking a more permanent solution to her knee pain. Since she was not a candidate for surgery due to a weight gain, she was referred her to Dr. Paul Leo, an anesthesiologist and chronic pain specialist at CSO. She first visited Dr. Leo in May 2020. He discussed options other than surgery, and she decided on regenerative medicine, including ProText* (mesenchymal stem cells**) and platelet-rich plasma*** (PRP) injections. Her preparation also included physical therapy, weight loss and wearing a knee brace.
“I love Dr. Leo,” she says. “He’s funny and non-judgmental but most of all he does not hide anything. He tells you that you can wait or you need treatment now.”
In September 2020, she had mesenchymal stem cells injected into her right knee. Dr. Leo performed the procedure under ultrasound guidance. While recuperating, she was able to get up more easily and could walk with the help of two canes. The following January, she also had a PRP injection in the same knee.
Three months later, she and Dr. Leo discussed what she could do to address her back pain. She decided to try PRP injections in her lumber spine. Dr. Leo performed the spinal injections in October 2021, using Bonita’s own platelet-rich plasma, injecting it into her L-4/5 and L5/SI facet joints on both sides.
Now, she can get around again and perform activities such as grocery shopping. She has also been going to physical therapy once a week to strengthen her muscles. As a result of increased mobility and exercise, she has lost more than 50 pounds and now has a lighter knee brace. Her length of time on an exercise bike has doubled, and she is able to do 100 leg lifts instead of 50.
Though she has been on short-term and long-term disability for more than a year, she looks forward to working part-time later this year. She also looks forward to visiting her son in Wisconsin and mother in Missouri soon.
No matter what the future holds, she is determined to remain independent. “Should anything happen to my husband, I want to have my own place, and I don’t want to rely on my son,” she says.
She attributes her recovery to Dr. Leo and following his directions. “You’ve got to do what your doctor tells you,” Bonita says, and that is what she has done.
Dr. Leo says that Bonita deserves credit for her excellent outcome, too. “She was a very motivated patient,” he says. “She had already begun physical therapy and started losing weight before our first visit. As her pain improved, it was easier to maintain that habit.”
If you are in pain and seeking a non-surgical solution,
call 303-287-2800 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Leo.
*Protext – A concentrated Wharton’s jelly or human umbilical cord product that is rich in cytokines, growth factors and proteins that create conditions that encourage regeneration of anatomical infrastructure. It does not use any material obtained directly from the embryo or fetus; it is processed from human tissue donated following full-term, C-section deliveries, in accordance with the FDA.
** Mesenchymal stem cells – A term that is used to define non-blood adult stem cells from a variety of tissues.
*** Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) – Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal injuries. The process involves separating your body’s own natural healing cells, the platelets, from a sample of your blood via centrifugation, and then combining the increased concentration of platelets with the remaining blood and injecting them back in the body at the injury site. More