When Matthew Vogt and David Hunnius met over 20 years ago as undergraduate students at St. Louis University, they didn’t expect that one day they would open a practice in Hinsdale affiliated with one of the top regenerative medicine providers in the country. Regenerative medicine didn’t even exist at the time, but in May 2017 that’s just what they did.
They also couldn’t have anticipated the recent advancements in regenerative therapy and the use of adult stem cells, which have become the centerpiece of treatments they provide at their new SMaRT Institute, an acronym for Sports Medicine and Regenerative Therapeutics Institute. Dr. Vogt and Dr. Hunnius promote natural healing as an alternative to invasive surgeries.
“There are over 500,000 total knee replacement surgeries performed each year in this country alone. Total joint surgery can be very successful for certain groups of patients, but when it’s not successful, the complications can be devastating,” Dr. Vogt said. “While the trend is to perform total joint surgery on younger and younger patients, we want to help our patients avoid surgery and the potential morbidity associated with it.”
Regenerative therapy heals injuries by augmenting the healing process. It’s part of the holistic approach that Dr. Vogt and Dr. Hunnius bring to their care for athletes as well as seniors who want to remain active.
Due to recent advancements in research and technology, it’s only in the last few years that regenerative therapy has become a rapidly growing field of medicine. SMaRT is an affiliate of Bluetail Medical Group, a national leader in regenerative therapy.
“Regenerative therapy is a rapidly growing and changing field and we’re very excited to be involved with Bluetail,” Dr. Vogt said. “We couldn’t have a better mentor than Dr. David Crane (founder of Bluetail Medical Group).”
The doctors’ interest in sports medicine is closely associated with personal pursuits. Dr. Hunnius and his wife are both triathletes, and he recently completed a triathlon in Whistler, Canada. Dr. Vogt, a former Navy flight surgeon, played sports through his college years and now enjoys coaching in his children’s youth sports.
“We are really passionate about keeping patients active,” Dr. Hunnius said. “We treat athletes as well as senior patients, whether it be sport injuries or degenerative arthritis, who need to quickly return to play or just remain active in their personal pursuits. It contributes to their overall health and well-being.”
The doctors emphasize that sports medicine isn’t just for athletes. In the short time since opening the doors, their patients have ranged in ages from 16 to 89. While younger people have a tendency to heal on their own or with focused physical therapy, as individuals get older regenerative therapies can help expedite healing. It’s an alternative prior to proceeding with surgery, which is a last resort in the vast majority of cases.
“We know that traditional surgeries, such as knee arthroscopy, can lead to early arthritis. We also know that while total joint replacement surgeries can be very successful, they also come with significant risk,” Vogt said. “By utilizing non-invasive regenerative procedures we burn no bridges and can improve quality of life without surgery.”
At SMaRT, the doctors also focus on sound nutrition and promoting “exercise as medicine,” all part of their emphasis on treating the whole patient.
Hunnius and Vogt continue to stay abreast of new developments in regenerative therapy and understand that sometimes more traditional treatments are required. “We provide safe, evidence-based non-operative therapies as a viable and conservative option to surgery,” Vogt said. “When we believe surgery is the better option we refer to surgeons who share the same approach to their patients as we do.”
The spirit of their approach is perhaps best captured in a story relayed by Hunnius about his children, who are anxious to follow in the triathlete footsteps of their parents.
“We were at home one day and the kids out-of-the-blue said they wanted to do a triathlon,” Hunnius said. “We had the pool, we had the bikes, so I said, ‘let’s do it,’ and we made it work.”
Whether it’s a young athlete, weekend warrior, or senior active adult, Drs. Hunnius and Vogt want to provide the right treatments to keep their patients active.
The SMaRT Institute is located at 12 Salt Creek Lane in Hinsdale,