What does the future hold for you and your knee pain?
Knee pain can be disabling and progressive. The pain can led to restriction in level of activity, reduced exercise, reduced recreation, isolation, weight gain and changes in quality of life.
A recent NIH study examined the prognostic factors indicating risk of future knee replacement in patients with or at high risk for osteoarthritis of the knee .
4796 patients were followed for three years.
Three factors were identified which predicted rapid progression to knee replacement:
-Prior knee surgery
-Pain with active knee flexion
-Knee flexion contracture (inability to fully bend the knee)
Stem cell therapy is an alternative to knee replacement. Knee surgery is associated with risks.
Bottom line: keep the knee joint active with full range of motion and avoid surgery. Stem cell therapy has been successful in the treatment many knee injuries including meniscal tears, loss of cartilage, tendinosis and laxity of ligaments including the ACL(anterior cruciate ligament).
Microfracture knee surgery is designed to repair articular cartilage. The surgery is performed via a small camera that is placed into the knee (arthroscopy). Thereafter an awl is used to create small fractures in the bone whereby blood and bone marrow seeps out of the fracture creating a blood clot.
The bone marrow is rich in stem cells which gives rise to the new cartilage. Microfracture unfortunately forms fibrocartilage rather than hyaline cartilage. Fibrocartilage is weaker and at higher risk for break down. Recovery can be slow given the extensive period on non-weight bearing.
Microfracutre 2.o involves placing stem cells directly into areas of cartilage damage without the trauma of making multiple small holes into the cartilage and bone. Regenexx procedure enables patients to use their autologous mesenchymal stem cells which are placed either through direct x-ray visualization or ultrasound guidance. The Regenexx procedure family has no significant post-injection rehabilitation or downtime and allows the patient to return to passions.