When you think of orthopedic injuries and disorders such as tendon and ligament tears you may think of treatments such as resting, applying ice, pain medication or surgery. However, as medical technology becomes more sophisticated, orthopedic patients today may have other options in addition to the old standbys. Here is a breakdown of three of the alternatives to surgery that are available for some patients who have suffered an orthopedic injury.
#1. Stem Cell Therapy
The most common form of stem cell therapy right now is bone marrow transplant. Often this procedure is done to prevent a disease or condition such as leukemia or other blood disorders from destroying the body tissues. Stem cell researchers are now researching the potential for stem cell therapy to treat other conditions including orthopedic applications such as spinal cord injury, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Because stem cells are not yet differentiated, they may be used to grow new tissues. This is useful in creating alternatives to bone grafts for skeletal defects.
#2. Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
In the year 2006, over 7.5 million people went to the doctor’s office due to a shoulder problem such as sprain or strain. For painful injuries that may occur from work or physical activity, one of the newer treatment options is platelet-rich plasma therapy. The beauty of PRP therapy is the boost that it offers the healing process, using materials from the patient’s own blood. Several professional athletes are known to have opted for this type of treatment. The treatment has shown improved muscle regeneration as well as contributing to the healing process for bone and soft tissue. PRP therapy has also been successful in treating TE or tennis elbow–a condition that affects up to 30% of workers who engage in repetitive hand motions throughout the day. Without treatment, TE may last anywhere between 6 and 48 months.
#3. Adipose Derived Stem Cell Treatments
Adipose derived stem cell treatments have been used much in the same ways as traditional stem cell therapy. The advantages of adipose derived stem cell therapy for treating orthopedic conditions is the ease of obtaining adipose derived stem cells. Instead of harvesting the cells from embryos, the cells are taken from fat tissue. This is also much less invasive than taking it from the patient’s bone marrow. This form of treatment has been used for knee osteoarthritis. When considering that about 26% of adults in the United States have knee osteoarthritis or another leg or knee condition, the potential for this treatment is very large.
If you have any questions or comments about the three types of therapy discussed here, please share your ideas with the other readers.