Instead of putting up with nagging pain and stiffness and continually taking anti-inflammatory medications, wouldn’t it be better to help those with knee arthritis to actually heal?
New York, NY & Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) May 16, 2017
Instead of putting up with nagging pain and stiffness and continually taking anti-inflammatory medications, wouldn’t it be better to help those with knee arthritis to actually heal? That’s the premise behind a newer injectable therapy called FloGraft, which uses human amniotic fluid to protect and regenerate inflamed knee joints, says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.
FloGraft is one of several bio-derived substances orthopaedists and sports medicine doctors have been using in recent years as part of a “regenerative medicine” effort. This cutting-edge treatment makes use of amniotic fluid, which cushions and protects babies during pregnancy and is harvested during cesarean births without harming mother or baby, Dr. Plancher explains.
The injectable treatment adds another alternative for a nonsurgical treatment for osteoarthritis, which is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Arthritis of the knee affects about 10% of men and 13% of women over age 60 nationwide, according to the National Institutes of Health. Often called wear-and-tear arthritis, the pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion and swelling it causes not only makes it hard to move around easily, but takes away some of the enjoyment of life for those affected.
“Beyond undergoing total knee replacement surgery, which is obviously an invasive procedure, doctors haven’t had that many options to offer knee arthritis patients in the past,” says Dr. Plancher, also a Clinical Professor in Orthopaedics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “The development of FloGraft is definitely a promising and welcoming alternative along with other newer modalities.”
How FloGraft works
How does FloGraft work? It helps to understand that amniotic fluid, and the membrane surrounding it, are diverse substances containing many components, including the structural protein collagen, growth factors, and anti-inflammatory proteins. When injected into the knee, these all work together to ease the bone-on-bone grinding from thinning cartilage often occurring in knee arthritis. Furthermore, this potentially promotes regeneration of the cartilage and other tissues that have been worn away.
Injections of amniotic fluid and membrane tissue are being analyzed not just for knee arthritis, but other orthopaedic conditions as well, Dr. Plancher notes. These include tendonitis, muscle tears, cartilage repair, and even plantar fasciitis in the foot. And while FloGraft itself is a relatively new product, using human- and bovine-derived amniotic fluid to treat orthopaedic conditions was reported as long ago as 1927, Dr. Plancher says.
Before being used on patients, harvested amniotic fluid is screened extensively for safety. Donors also undergo a variety of blood tests and medical reviews to determine if their material is safe to use on others.
“The great thing is that amniotic fluid is a readily available substance,” he says, “and having something like this that’s easily injected into damaged body areas opens the possibility of regenerative medicine for a wide variety of disorders and injuries.”
What to expect with FloGraft treatment
What can you expect if you undergo FloGraft treatment? The injection process takes just a few minutes and only poses minimal discomfort, Dr. Plancher explains. Patients can leave the office immediately and go about their daily activities with exception of using crutches for a short period of time if injected into the knee. The number of FloGraft injections needed for each patient will vary and is tailored to their individual situation.
“Hopefully once it’s injected into the knee, FloGraft will help the knee begin healing within weeks, and patients should notice a real difference in their arthritis symptoms within a few months,” says Dr. Plancher, who lectures globally on issues related to orthopaedic procedures and sports injury management. “Many patients notice less pain after only one injection.”
Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.