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September 12, 2018

Have you ever been wondered with the flexibility and bending ability of your joints? For this, thanks to presence of shiny cartilage tissue between two joints that act as cushion and allow bone to smoothly glide against each other on movement. The cartilage tissue has unique wear and tear characteristics, as we use more of it or as we get older, tissue start to wear out. The worn cartilage no longer serves as a cushion, the knee joint cannot move smoothly. With time, the destructive process progresses and disability become so damaging that it impedes everyday movement and quality of life. At this stage, many of our orthopaedic doctors suggest joint replacement surgery. The joint replacement surgery has good record of relieving pain and making individual active again; however risks are always associated with surgery. In recent time, the medical community is focussing on preservation of joints rather than replacement as everybody wants to have treatment that causes minimum discomfort to the body.

Alternative joint preservation strategies for treating knee pain

The aim of joint preservation technique is to reduce pain, and prolong the life of your own knee, as an alternative to total knee replacement (TKR).

Injections– Injections of hyaluronic acid also known as gel injections are injected directly into the knee joint. These injections help to reduce joint pain as well as inflammation, but not effective always.

Platelet-rich plasma– The blood contains hundreds of thousands of platelets that are capable to stimulate tissue repair and scarring. Many clinicians are exploring the injections of concentrated platelets from blood called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to treat inflamed or injured tendons, ligaments and joints. PRP therapies are found to be effective for soft tissue problems than for joint problems.

Stem-cell injections– Stem cell therapy is novel approach for patients suffering with knee arthritis. Stem cells are special kind of cells which can differentiate into many other kinds of cells. These cells are also capable to home to areas of inflammation and degeneration, act and proliferate their and helps in regeneration of damaged cartilage. Stem cells derived from various sources such as bone marrow, adipose tissue, cord tissue etc have been investigated as possible treatment for cartilage repair.

The stem cell treatment for arthritis treatment is very simple procedure employing only 15-20 minutes with a local anaesthesia without the risk of surgery. Stem cells are isolated from either bone marrow or adipose tissues, concentrated in lab and re injected to patient at the injury site. Once inside the body, these stem cells exhibit anti-inflammatory properties to restore degenerated tissue along with complete provision of instant pain relief. Encouragingly, results of pre-clinical and clinical trials have provided evidence of efficacy and safety of stem cell therapies for the treatment of knee cartilage damage and osteoarthritis.

Conclusively, in some of the specific cases, joint replacement can only be the treatment of choice, but in other cases stem cell therapy is a better option to consider before going for replacement surgery. Discuss in detail with doctor about the best option for you. Stem cell therapy can definitely help many of the patients in avoiding joint replacement surgery.

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