Success Stories


Rotator Cuff Injuries Healed with Stem Cells

Karen Sagon isn’t just chief financial officer at Ageless Wellness Center in Peachtree City, but also a patient. As a lifelong competitive athlete, it was only a matter of time before Sagon found herself in need of the same restorative therapies that Dr. Jamie Walraven and her staff at Ageless Wellness advocate for every day.

“I taught elementary school for 19 years, and in the midst of that played just about every sport known to man,” Sagon explains. That included softball on the collegiate level while a student at Georgia Southern, and then playing on competitive softball teams through age 40. She was a member of a “serious” women’s flag football league in Atlanta for several years, playing quarterback, and also played soccer.

All that activity put a lot of wear and tear on Sagon’s rotator cuffs.

“I started having a little bit of trouble with my left one, lifting any kind of weight chest level and above, and had an MRI done,” she says. “They said I did have a tear, but it was not a complete tear and could be repaired, but I chose not to have that done.”

Unfortunately, that was soon followed by a serious injury to her right rotator cuff that did require surgery.

“In the midst of all that, I decided to go ahead and have the IV stem cell treatment to help with healing from surgery, and also have injections in my left shoulder as well,” Sagon explains. “We were hoping the stem cell treatment would help with both shoulders.”

The stem cell therapy involved a mini-liposuction in which a syringe of fat was taken from Sagon’s belly, which then gets spun down and processed into stromal vascular stem cells before being injected into each shoulder.

“I had the stem cell treatment on Friday,” Sagon says. “I was off all pain meds and feeling great on Saturday, I went through six weeks of not using that arm and then I started physical therapy. There were three or four of us who were all about the same age, and had gone through surgery for the same injury and started physical therapy together, and I progressed a lot quicker. I healed a lot faster and was on a totally different plan than the other three people.

“It really made me a believer.”

Sagon followed that up with getting back in shape and is now doing CrossFit four times per week. But that’s not all. She had gotten seriously into golf over the past year, and is now playing competitively on the Georgia senior circuit at age 54.

“My right shoulder, which is the one I had the surgery on, feels fantastic,” she says. “I don’t have any limitations at all. The only thing my surgeon asked me not to ever do again was pullups, because that’s full body weight, but at my age I probably wouldn’t be interested in doing that again anyway. But that’s the only limitation that I have, and to me that’s not even a limitation.

“Before if I was trying to pick up a gallon of milk and hold it out in front of me, I couldn’t even do that. And now I can. And I totally attribute that to the stem cells.”

Going through stem cell treatments has given Sagon the confidence to go out and compete four or five times per week, she says.

“Before, I probably would have just been a recreational player.”

Sagon has a 15 handicap competing against women of her same age and calibre. She’s played in 3 tournaments so far, and won her bracket in the last tournament she played.

“I’m not going pro or anything tomorrow, but I’m playing at a competitive level,” Sagon laughs.

Needless to say, she’s a huge fan of Dr. Walraven and the work being done at Stem Cell Center of Georgia.

“I would absolutely shout it from the mountain tops,” Sagon says. “I’ve got two shoulders to compare it to, one with surgery and one without. I’d never want to go through that surgery again, but they are both better and they are better because of stem cells.”

For Sagon, it’s not just playing athletics but being able to do the day-to-day things in life with no pain that’s truly satisfying.

“The things we take for granted like mowing the yard and blowing off the driveway and cleaning the house and doing laundry,” she says. “All those things play a big part in our everyday life, and not having that pain hovering over you is a world of difference. I like to be active, as long as i can continue to do that, it makes me a happy person.”

The Stem Cell Center of Georgia operates out of Ageless Wellness Center at 1000 Commerce Drive, Suite 300, Peachtree City. For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Jamie Walraven or one of her nurse practitioners, call 678-364-8414 or visit their website at agelesswellnessptc.com

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