What do you do when your told your knee is not quite bad enough for replacement surgery?
If you or a loved one has faced the situation that your doctor has informed you your knee has a lot of arthritis and eventually you will need a knee joint replacement….but not yet. Where do you go with that information?
A common side comment is, you will know when it’s time. Equally an unsoothing statement.
At this juncture, conservative treatment continues. Pain medications, anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections, rooster comb shots (hyaluronic acid).
All of these treatments have led up to this point. Some provide short term relief of pain, yet all do not prevent the inevitable future appointment to schedule joint replacement surgery when desperation and frustration take over.
Perhaps a timeline could occur where you never had to make that appointment.
If you could halt the progression of arthritis or better yet repair the knee just enough to allow better function and less pain, you could avoid the surgery appointment.
An alternative is needed.
Enter regeneration medicine. Repair and regenerate are goals of this field.
Obviously goals do not always meet everyone’s expectations, therefore reasonable goals for those with degenerative arthritis must be obtained. Preventing loss of function,
reducing pain, stiffness, and swelling are reasonable goals. Combining this with repairing the degenerative pathway that occurs inside the joint at the cellular level provides a step in this direction. Medicine has moved towards a new frontier. Treatment and research have been directed to cellular mechanisms. Chemicals such as cytokines and chemokines are targeted for altering specific negative functions or enhancing positive functions. Genes, DNA, and transcription of proteins have altered the way medicine approaches repair of knee pathology.
Dennis M. Lox, MD, is a Regenerative Medicine specialist who focuses on the way new therapies can be utilized to more effectively treat disorders that were previously thought to be untreatable. Dr. Lox states patients were often given palliative medications, therapy, or even surgical recommendations for these type of problems without hope of modifying their outcome. The field of Regenerative Medicine provides cutting edge treatment options for problems that were offered little hope in the past. By combining Regenerative Medicine with rehabilitation strategies such as biomechanical knee joint stress modifications, the paradigm of waiting for your knee to further fall apart so then you can have knee joint replacement may be avoided.
Alternative strategies such as Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem Cell Therapy have been advocated as approaches to knee joint arthritis. Dr. Lox notes that Regenerative treatments focus on healing and repair at the cellular level where joint breakdown and inflammation begin. There are many factors which facilitate joint breakdown as well as factors enhancing joint repair. Knowledge of these processes, coupled with PRP and Stem Cell Therapy can provide an alternative to future knee joint replacement when you are told you are not quite bad enough yet.