Avascular necrosis (AVN) also known as osteonecrosis, is a complicated and troubling medical condition. It is a great source of worry for both patient and families due to the uncertain outcome. Stem cells have been used for the treatment of hip and knee AVN.
Stem cell treatments for hip and knee AVN is not new, just different applications.
Avascular necrosis (AVN), literally means vascular loss causing bone cell death.
Osteonecrosis refers to: osteo (bone) and necrosis (cell death).
This is similar to a heart attack caused by lack of blood flow, which results in cardiac cell death. The striking difference is heart tissue that becomes necrotic, may fill in with scar tissue, while bone that becomes necrotic may collapse and lead to a rapid secondary arthritis.
The hip is the most common joint affected with AVN followed by the shoulder and then knee, however any bone may be potentially affected.
Regenerative Medicine has incorporated the use of Stem Cell Therapy and cell concentrated sources containing many different types of cells for repair and regeneration in avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis. The healing potential of these stem cell sources has the ability to create new blood vessels and form new bone cells.
This is ideally suited for early AVN before hip or knee joint collapse occurs. A feature that again is troubling for AVN, is that it may not be diagnosed early in the course of the disease. Hip and knee pain are common, therefore a high index of suspicion is often needed to promptly diagnosis AVN.
Stem cell treatments for AVN of the hip and knee may be viewed as alternative treatment strategies for joint replacement. Hip and knee joint replacement is often recommended for AVN patients. Other surgical techniques for AVN include core decompression (drilling into the bone) and vascular grafts. All these surgical procedures are associated with prolonged recovery and loss of function for months afterwards. Stem cell treatments for AVN, are not associated with these prolonged down times and weight bearing is generally allowed right away. Deferring hip and knee joint replacement, is desirable in young patients and especially athletes.
The use of Stem Cell Therapy for hip and knee AVN may be a viable treatment option.
As with most medical conditions there are differences in various patients, and avascular necrosis has differences in causes. Expectations and goals, as well should be individualized for each patient. Adopting a patient-specific approach is one way to provide optimal treatment.