The future of medicine is here: for those patients who want to avoid joint replacement surgery, joint preservation options are now available. These alternatives are less expensive, and they don’t have the extended downtime and rehab associated with more invasive procedures.
The surface of the joint is covered by articular cartilage which facilitates free movement of the bones of the knee joint. However, the articular cartilage is susceptible to wear and tear, and injury, and often requires surgical repair to stimulate the growth of new cartilage. But now, joint preservation is possible. Options include:
- Platelet Rich Plasma Injection Therapy (PRP): Doctors first take blood from the patient, and the blood is then spun in a centrifuge. This process separates the platelet rich plasma from the other components. The plasma is then injected into the damaged joint.
- Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI): ACI involves 2 procedures. Healthy cartilage cells are removed from a non-weight bearing part of the joint. The cells are then grown in a lab for a period of 3 to 5 weeks, until they have adequately multiplied. An open procedure is then performed to inject the cells into the deteriorated joint.
- Osteochondral autograft transplantation: With this procedure, a cartilage graft is removed from an area of the joint that does not bear weight, and transplanted into the damaged joint to create a smooth cartilage surface. The graft is used to replace the cartilage and the underlying bone. More than one graft may be required.
Patients who have undergone the different techniques have experienced cartilage growth, as well as significant improvement in the mobility of the joint.
Contact orthopedic surgeon Dr. Frank McCormick to learn more about these and other joint preservation options. Call 866-956-3837 to schedule an appointment with Dr. McCormick at any of his orthopedic practices in Miami, Doral, Palm Beach, and Orlando (click here).