Knee injuries can happen in an instant. All it takes is a moment of lost footing on the field or one misstep on the stage. Arthritis can show up in a knee simply as a result of wear and tear over time.
Whatever the situation, it is easy to take for granted how vital the functionality of the knee really is – until it is impaired.
There is hope! Regenerative medicine procedures such as stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be great alternatives to knee surgery, can help heal knee injuries, take away the pain, and get you back to the activities you love in a surprisingly quick timeframe. (To make matters confusing, these procedures also go by the name of Stem Cells, Regenerative Orthopedics, Orthobiologics, biologic or cellular injections.)
Stem cells accelerate the healing and repair of an injury using the natural power of the body’s regenerating cells. They can work wonders on knee pain, helping the body heal itself.
What Types of Knee Injuries Can These Procedures Treat?
Arthritis pain rears its ugly head when the cartilage cushioning bones and joints breaks down. It causes stiffness, mobility problems, and in many cases, severe joint pain. Unfortunately, this disease becomes more common as people age.
While there is no perfect way to reverse arthritis altogether, regenerative medicine is a promising option, offering the hope of significant pain relief, renewed range of motion, and improved function. Treatments like stem cell therapy and PRP can help arthritis patients get their lives back!
The meniscus is a tough piece of cartilage cushioning the space in your knee between the femur and the tibia. Tears in this cartilage can occur from overly intense exertion, sudden, unnatural twisting motion of the leg, or just plain old wear and tear. A Meniscal tear can result in consistent pain, joint instability, limited range of motion, and decreased function. It could even hurt just sitting on the floor.
The “Gold Standard” treatment for meniscal tears is partial meniscectomy via arthroscopic surgery. Translation: trimming away the loose parts of the tear, resulting in less cartilage than prior to the surgery. So, less of a shock absorber. In fact, there is 100% increased contact stress in the medial knee (inside) and 300% increased contact stress in the lateral knee
(outside) after this surgery. This results in 6 times the risk of future osteoarthritis and 3 times the risk of a total knee replacement!
A stem cell procedure can help save the meniscus and make it less likely for osteoarthritis to progress and less likely for the need for a total knee replacement! I don’t know about you, but I choose door #2!
Patellofemoral Syndrome (“Jumper’s Knee”)
Often called “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee,” the pain from Patellofemoral Syndrome is caused by a softening or deterioration of the cartilage behind the patella (knee cap). This can be caused by a sudden increased intensity or frequency of athletic workouts or over time from misaligned or weak muscles or just plain old wear and tear.
Regenerative medicine can help you beat that pain and get you back to golfing and tennis again!
MCL & ACL Tears
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are major parts of the knee, holding bones together and providing much-needed stability. Unfortunately, tears in these two ligaments are very common injuries, especially among athletes.
While a complete ACL tear can only be made whole again with reconstructive surgery, regenerative procedures for the ACL can help repair partial tears. Orthobiologics are a great option for most MCL tears – even more severe ones. These treatments can also help accelerate recovery time, even after surgery has been performed.
Patellar or Quadriceps Tendinitis
Tendinitis is the irritation of a tendon, resulting in inflammation and dull pain. It is caused by repeating a certain movement over time.
This irritation is initially treated with rest, ice, and physical therapy. If the pain and dysfunction linger, orthobiologics can be used to accelerate healing and recovery and help you to function normally again.
What Are These Procedures Like?
Regenerative procedures are noninvasive, using simple injections and blood draws. Stem cells are gathered from other areas of your body. These cells are injected into a damaged muscle, joint, or ligament, promoting the growth of new cells and accelerating healing.
After evaluating your injury and needs, a specific treatment plan will be recommended to you. Gathering of the stem cells and treatment occurs on the same day. For PRP, blood is drawn and then spun in a centrifuge to isolate the growth factors. For fat, which has an abundance of stem cells, is obtained from anywhere you have fat – typically the low back, buttocks, leg, or abdomen. Bone marrow is obtained from the back of the pelvis. These tissues are then minimally manipulated and ready to be put back into the area that needs to heal.
Once the harvesting is done, Dr. Albano will use an ultrasound or fluoroscopy to precisely target the injured area. This is a very important step to ensure that these valuable cells are precisely placed into the damaged area.
How Long Does It Take to Recover After a Procedure?
Inflammation and pain can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks after a procedure. The body’s natural healing response is still hard at work, but it is not long before patients can get back to normal day-to-day life.
Each patient’s recovery time is unique to their body and specific case. If the injury is severe or the patient’s desired activity level is more extreme, the recovery time will be longer than minor injuries or returning to everyday activities. There will be good days and bad days on the journey to recovery, but after 4 months, you should experience significant long-term relief.
Read more about types of stem cell treatments and what they are like.
Is Stem Cell Therapy or PRP Better Than Surgery?
When faced with a debilitating injury, people look for the most effective treatment first, then quickly weigh considerations like recovery time, risk, and procedure length. Invasive surgery may be necessary for some severe knee injuries, but many knee injuries and conditions lend themselves to very successful regenerative options.
Never discount the power of regenerative medicine. It can treat many knee issues with less than half the recovery time, far less invasive, and significantly fewer health risks.
Read more about invasive surgeries you can avoid by choosing stem cell therapy.
Conclusion: Matt’s Story
Matt Sansom underwent surgery for a meniscal tear with poor results. Still, in pain, Matt went to see Dr. Albano at the Albano Clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah. After undergoing stem cell therapy and PRP, he says he’s “extremely pleased” with the results!
Matt explains a bit more about his injuries and procedures in the following video.
We get it! Knee injuries are a huge setback, but that’s exactly why the Albano Clinic exists. We want to get to know your situation and find a treatment that will quickly get you back to what you love!
We would love to talk to you. Call (385) 213-0046 or schedule a consultation online today!