STEM CELL TREATMENT AS KNEE REPLACEMENT ALTERNATIVE
There’s never been a bigger need for knee replacement alternatives than today. Millions of people throughout the U.S. live with excruciating knee pain or discomfort each day. Every step they take is accompanied by a groan and a grimace. So much so that this pain dictates what they can and cannot do; drastically impacting their quality of life. Simple things like walking up stairs or bending down to play with the dog suddenly aren’t that simple anymore.
Causes of Knee Pain
The reasons for knee pain vary. Arthritic knees are the most common culprit followed by injury. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint condition. Normal “wear and tear” in one’s lifetime will gradually erode the protective cartilage cushioning the joints. When this happens, bones under that cartilage may begin to rub together. This friction results in pain, swelling, and loss of motion within the joint.
It seems like both obesity and exercise are contributing to much of the knee osteoarthritis we’re seeing today. Even carrying as little as 10 extra pounds adds stress to the knee with each step. The Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research & Training Center recently concluded a study suggesting that losing just 15 pounds can alleviate knee pain by as much as 50 percent.
If it’s not the weight, it’s lifelong high-intensity exercise beating up the joints. Hello irony. We exercise to stay healthy and keep off unwanted pounds. But plenty of young lifelong runners, cyclists, and weight lifters (those squats wreak havoc on the knees) now have chronic knee pain.
Treating Knee Pain
Many people initially opt to “tough it out.” They’ll routinely ice their knee, wear protective bracing when active, or reach for that bottle of ibuprofen to get through the day.
Unfortunately, when they do talk about knee pain with a doctor, many recommend surgery right out the gate. Even when there are many less invasive knee replacement alternatives.
Knee Replacements Are on the Rise
Knee replacement surgeries have doubled within the past twenty years. While much of the uptick can be attributed to Baby Boomers, more and more people in their 40s and 50s are now undergoing knee replacements for the reasons we mentioned above.
However, there are a few problems with knee replacements that aren’t always openly discussed.
1. They Aren’t Effective for Everyone – A Virginia Commonwealth University study concluded that nearly one-third of knee replacement patients weren’t actually good candidates for the procedure. At best, the procedure only has very modest benefits for anyone without constant knee pain or moderate to severe arthritis.
2. Knee Surgery Hurts & Recovery is Tough – The first few weeks after a knee surgery can be especially painful. Post-surgery swelling and bruising can last up to three or more months.
For the first month after the procedure, ice may need to be applied hourly, pain medications may be needed every 4 to 6 hours, and you’ll need to exercise the knee three times a day.
Physical therapy may be needed for up to 4 or 5 months.
It can be anywhere from 3 or 6 weeks to 3 months before you can return to work depending on your overall health and occupation.
3. Addictive Narcotics May Be Needed – Morphine is usually administered at the hospital and opioids are typically prescribed for anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. Not only are such medications highly addictive, but they also come with a slew of side effects ranging from depression, mental confusion, and psychotic symptoms to constipation and other physical ailments.
Results Are Neither Guaranteed or Long-Lasting – Contrary to what you may be told, a knee replacement doesn’t make you “As good as new.” Just roughly 75 percent of your original knee function and capacity can be reclaimed. Patients under the age of 65 also need to be reminded that the average lifespan of a replacement knee is two decades.
Stem Cell Treatment Has Emerged as an Alternative to Knee Replacements
The human body is a miraculous structure. Our bodies are inclined to heal themselves. It’s just some tissue damage becomes harder to heal the older we get.
Thankfully, within the marrow cavities of our bones sits a reserve of stem cells. These stem cells can be extracted from the blood by needle. They can then be injected into the knee area to repair the degenerated tissue.
Who Is a Candidate for this Alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery?
Stem cell implementation is most commonly recommended to patients with knee osteoarthritis who are no longer responding to rest, medications, cortisone shots, hyaluronic acid injections, and physical therapy. It may also be an option for younger people with a chronic tendon issues or soft tissue injuries.
Generally, stem cell therapy works best for patients with secondary to moderate osteoarthritis in the knee. It’s most effective for patients that have yet to experience a complete collapse of joint space or bone on bone friction.
Can Joint Cartilage be Regenerated by Stem Cell Injections?
Although some data does suggest that portions of worn-down cartilage can be regenerated by stem cell therapy, more research is needed. What we know at this time is stem cell injections are effective when it comes to alleviating joint pain, stiffness, and tenderness. This has made stem cell implantation a very popular alternative approach to knee cartilage repair.
Nearly 80 percent of stem cell patients report significant pain relief and improved function within 1 to 2 months after the procedure. You should never feel as if knee replacement surgery is your only option. There is always another option and in this case it is stem cell therapies for knee replacement alternatives.
Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell injections are a non-invasive effective knee replacement alternative. It’s an outpatient procedure without the typical wait that accompanies knee surgery. Rehabilitation isn’t a long painful process. In fact, most people can resume normal activities immediately after the procedure. This means there’s no missing work or being laid up like there is with knee replacement surgery.
Are You a Candidate for Stem Cell Therapy?
If you’d like to schedule a consultation to determine if you’re a fit for this knee replacement alternative, call Advanced Regenerative Medicine today at 855-984-8287.