Injections of growth factors & with stem cells – which can grow into any type of body cells – have become one of the most-researched areas of medicine, particularly in the knee and hip joint.
NEW YORK & GREENWICH, CT. (PRWEB) April 13, 2018
When chronic knee or hip pain from arthritis or injury becomes a daily struggle, undergoing joint replacement surgery may become a tempting option. But is there a role for growth factors or stem cell therapy if the arthritis is mild? It’s a question orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is asking and attempting to answer as treatment advances offer patients options beyond what’s been available for many years.
Injections of growth factors & with stem cells – which can grow into any type of body cells – have become one of the most-researched areas of medicine, particularly in the knee and hip joint. These factors and cells are often taken from the bone marrow, fat tissue, or blood and later injected into the knee and hip to help regenerate tissues and reduce inflammation.
Joint replacement surgery, on the other hand, has been in use for decades as a tried-and-true way of removing diseased or damaged joints and replacing them with artificial versions that no longer cause pain. More than 7.2 million Americans are living with artificial hips or knees, according to the Mayo Clinic with excellent results.
“Clearly, there are pluses and minuses to both approaches to eradicating pain from hip or knee joints,” Dr. Plancher explains. “The choice really depends on each person’s individual desires, needs and the extent of their disease. But it helps to understand the differences.”
Pros and cons of joint replacement
The era of total joint replacement began about 50 years ago, and a great many Americans have relied on these surgeries to become more mobile again despite the effects of arthritis and other severe joint damage. In fact, about 1.5 times more people in the United States are living with hip or knee replacements than those living with heart failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“The vast majority of people who undergo joint replacement are thrilled with their outcomes, reporting that their pain is much reduced or even gone,” says Dr. Plancher, also a Clinical Professor in Orthopaedics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “In a sense, the surgery can give them their lives and independence back and restore their ability to get back on the playing field or even just walk without discomfort.”
Joint replacement surgery, though requires anesthesia and is invasive. Incisions are large or small and some patients may stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days, while others may return home.
“There are certainly some big advantages to getting a new hip or knee,” Dr. Plancher explains.
Pros and cons of stem cell therapy
Growth factors with stem cell therapy is quick and minimally invasive. An office procedure that involves these factors and cells, are injected into the affected hip or knee.
Research in animals has been encouraging and in studies with humans is suggesting promising effects, but is still early and not entirely conclusive. Scientists are now determining exactly how growth factors & stem cells help knees damaged by arthritis, sports injuries or other forms of instability, which may also include regenerating worn-out tissues or releasing substances that help nearby cells.
“This injection may need to be repeated for benefits to persist,” says Dr. Plancher.
This therapy is designed to reverse the breakdown of cartilage causing so much joint pain and dysfunction and accelerate healing,” he adds. “Ultimately, the treatment you choose has to match your lifestyle needs and extent of disease. I just think it’s great that so many viable options are out there now for patients who are suffering because of joint pain.”
“Most importantly, visit a board certified joint surgeon who is familiar with all these techniques”
Kevin D. Plancher, MD, MPH, is a board-certified, leading orthopaedic knee and hip surgeon, and the founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.