Is Surgery My Only Option for Knee Pain?

Posted by Susan Scambray on April 25, 2018 at 3:39 PM

Surgery is often the primary option doctors offer for healing knee pain. But even in cases where tissue or cartilage has been damaged, we have the means within us to recover. We can reverse years of chronic knee pain, improve mobility and function and, hopefully, avoid invasive surgery.

Stem cell therapy is one of the ways we can leverage our own natural healing powers to eliminate knee pain. It is a minimally-invasive procedure that carries very little risk. It has helped hundred of thousands of people rediscover their active lives, free of pain and medications.

Stem cell therapy for knee pain

There are many areas of the body that can be treated with stem cell therapy, but treatments done on the knees have been among the most successful.

Let’s first look at what stem cells are and how they help:

What are mesenchymal stem cells?

Mesenchymal stem cells are a primitive cell with the ability to differentiate into multiple tissues, including bone, cartilage, muscle or fat. They may be the most important cell you have because they modulate your immune system and fight inflammation throughout your body. We think of them as the conductor and your immune system the orchestra!

When our body is injured or experiencing inflammation, these cells are activated and begin to divide and replenish what has been lost. Also, they demonstrate extremely potent anti-inflammatory properties. Adult stem cells have been found effective in treating many degenerative conditions, in particular chronic joint disease.

How are stem cells used in knee therapy?

For regenerative therapies,  mesenchymal stem cells are harvested from your own bone marrow and then injected into the injured area to begin the healing process. Since the cells are from your own body, there is no potential for rejection or complications.

The healing process itself is quite complex but very elegant in nature. By injecting new, undifferentiated stem cells into the knee, the cells are rejuvenated and immediately begin to regroup in order to affect healing. This action is multi-layered in scope:

  1. Signal the existing stem cells to regroup
  2. Begin to repair the damaged tissue
  3. Discontinue inflammatory cell production
  4. Reduce (or completely eliminate) chronic inflammation and pain 

Using stem cell therapy for knee pain and injury, cartilage and bone can regrow and swelling can be significantly reduced, resulting in a positive, long-lasting curative effect.

Benefits of stem cell therapy for knee pain

If you have suffered from knee pain for a long time, you know how chronic pain affects your life from every angle. It limits your movement and stops you from doing the things you love. It affects your mood, and the strong medications that are commonly prescribed for pain carry their own set of long-term risks.

For some, steroid injections have been a way to ease the pain, but over time, these will begin to lose their potency and may stop working altogether. Steroids, like opioids, are not intended for long-term use. Eventually, your doctor may suggest a knee replacement or another type of surgery, any of which can be very painful, risky, and success is not a given.

One of the most significant benefits of stem cell therapy for knee pain is that many patients will be pain-free and be able to resume activities they love. Knee replacement surgery often requires months of limited activity and rigorous physical therapy for healing.

A study by Dr. Koh and colleagues (2015 Knee Surg Sports Traumatol. Arthrosc 2015;23(5) 1308-1316) reviewed older patients with osteoarthritis. 88% of patients had improved cartilage status at the 2 year follow up when treated with stem cell therapy. More importantly,  none of those patients underwent a knee replacement in those 2 years.

If you are a good candidate, stem cell therapy can be an exciting alternative to surgery as it is minimally invasive and there is negligible downtime.

Stem cell therapy for knee pain: what to expect

The procedure uses autologous (meaning the cells come from your own body) mesenchymal stem cells that the physician withdraws from an easy-to-access point on your hip. This procedure is conducted in the doctor’s office under a local anesthetic.

While you wait, the extracted cells are prepared for your injection. We then inject the stem cells directly to the affected area where they will start to rebuild the damaged tissue.

Following the procedure, most patients return to work or continue on with their day! There is no hospital stay required and you will not require tedious, expensive physical therapy treatment.

How long does it take to feel results of stem cell therapy?

Depending on your situation, some people notice pain relief in a few days. Other patients experience healing progressively over a few weeks.  

What you can expect from a successful stem cell treatment on your knee:

  •      Reduction in pain and inflammation
  •      Increased mobility and function
  •      Completely safe, natural, and drug-free
  •      Fast recovery, compared to surgery
  •      Long-lasting results
  •      Low-risk treatment
  •      Avoid or postpone surgery
  •      No side effects or risk of rejection
  •      Conducted in the doctor’s office: no hospital stay required

To learn more about stem cell therapy for knee pain and find out if you are a candidate, book a consultation today.

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