John Trautman was 69, retired and struggling to bicycle on one good knee from replacement surgery. The other knee, his left, was inflamed with osteoarthritis.

A neighbor suggested he try an experimental treatment. The neighbor, renowned San Antonio plastic surgeon Jaime Garza, described an innovative procedure: harvesting fat from Trautman’s body, removing stem cells from the fat and injecting the stem cells back into the arthritic knee.

Would Trautman like to be his first patient? A national Institutional Review Board (IRB) had authorized Garza to perform a safety trial on select patients in San Antonio.