Stemcelldoc's Weblog

August 1, 2011

Is Local Anesthetic Toxic to Cartilage Cells?

Our tap water is filtered for toxic elements such as lead and mercury.

Our food is inspected and is free of toxic bacteria and harmful micro organisms.

Is the same true about common orthopedic injections?

Local anesthetics (numbing medications) are commonly used in knee and other joint injections. Typically they are used in conjunction with steroids. The two most common local anesthetics are Marcaine (Bupivacaine) and Lidocaine.

Are they toxic?

A recent study has demonstrated the Marcaine is toxic to cartilage cells.   Chu demonstrated that 6 months after a single intra-articular injection of Marcaine there was a 50% lower density of chondrocytes (cartilage cells) compared with cartilage in control joints.

What about Lidocaine?

Jacobs demonstrated that  Lidocaine was significantly more toxic to mature human articular cartilage cells than a saline 0.9% control group.

What about local anesthetics when mixed with steroids?

Farkas demonstrated the combination of glucocorticoids(steroids) and local anesthetics have an adverse effect on articular cartilage.

At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic we acknowledge the toxicity of local anesthetics and steroids.  We abandoned the use of Marcaine in our clinic three years ago.  The association of apoptosis and steroids led to our discontinuation of  high does steroids.

Remember:

Please be responsible.  Don’t let friends or family members get steroid and local anesthetic injections.  There are other options available at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic.

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