Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Treat Knee Injuries?

knee pain in La Quinta CA

Doctors and scientist around the nation are looking for ways to implement the many benefits of stem cell therapy into orthopedic medicine to help heal soft tissue injuries such as meniscus and ACL tears.

The Meniscus Acts as the Shock Absorber
The knee joint is formed by three bones; the shinbone, thighbone and kneecap. Two pieces of cartilage sit between the thighbone and shinbone, called meniscus that help cushion the joint and absorb shock. A meniscus tear occurs when a sports injury, age or simply a twisting movement causes damage to the cartilage between the bones connecting the knee. Many people report hearing a pop when they tear their meniscus, but this isn't always the case.

Typical Treatment Methods for Knee Injuries
The first method of treatment typically used in the treatment of knee injuries is the RICE protocol. It stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. This plan is often used in conjunction with over the counter pain relievers that also help with swelling.

If the RICE method is unsuccessful or the injury is too severe, the next step is usually surgery. The surgery, called knee arthroscopy, is a very common surgery in which a very small camera to help the surgeon see is inserted into a small incision. At the same time, the surgeon inserts small instruments into another small incision to repair the tear.

Stem Cell Therapy Uses Adult Stem Cells to Treat Tissue Injury
Dr. Naota Hashimoto, DC, of Desert Medical Care and Wellness in La Quinta, California, uses stem cell therapy in his practice to treat knees along with man other orthopedic injuries.

"When a person has an injury or a degenerative disease, we can use these adult stem cells to stimulate the body's own healing mechanisms by placing them directly in the area in need," Hashimoto said.

"We can also use platelet rich protein which uses growth factors in the blood to help in the healing process."

Treating Meniscus Tears with Stem Cells
A study published in the journal of Stem Cell Translational Medicine discovered a way to use stem cells to treat meniscal tears. The researchers stated that meniscus injuries often have trouble healing due to lack of blood supply to the area. Over time, this can lead to early onset of osteoarthritis. Since this type of injury is so common in younger athletes, it can be a process that eventually ends careers for those pursuing a sport professionally.

The researchers in the study took stem cells and placed them in a collagen membrane and put it directly on the tear. The goal was for the stem cells to find the damaged tissue and begin to stimulate the repairs needed. Out of the five patients they treated, three have not had any other concerns with their knees after the procedure. The other two did suffer re-tears, but according to the researchers, it's very common in their type of injury to suffer a re-tear within a year. They are declaring their study with a 60 percent success rate with much hope for the future.

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Desert Medical Care & Wellness - Chiropractic
47020 Washington Street #101
La Quinta, CA 92253
(760) 777-8377