Physicians at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics: Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland division (OACM) are utilizing new and exciting therapies to heal orthopaedic issues, going beyond traditional treatments such as physical therapy and surgery. Regenerative therapies are changing the way in which many orthopaedic injuries and conditions can now be treated. Staying ahead of the technology and advances in orthopaedics, many of OACM’s physicians are now offering regenerative therapies, which allow doctors to utilize a patient’s own cells to promote tissue and tendon healing, pain relief from acute/chronic conditions such as arthritis, tendinitis and tendon tears, and to improve function of joints without surgery.
Regenerative therapies offered at OACM include:
– Stem cell injection therapy
– Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
– Laser therapy, used for chronic conditions such as tendinopathy
– Embryonic membrane injections, injections that have powerful growth factors and anti-inflammatory effects
“While regenerative therapies are not mainstream they show a great promise for the future of orthopaedics,” said Scott Silverstein, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon at OACM, who is employing these therapies with positive outcomes for patients. “These therapies can be offered when other injection treatments such as cortisone fail to alleviate symptoms of pain, tears, and decreased mobility. The focus is on eliminating chronic pain and improving function. These therapies go beyond traditional treatments and have been positive alternatives for patients who may be too young or not ready for joint replacement procedures.”
Stem Cell Therapy
While the use of stem cell therapy in orthopaedics has only truly gained momentum over the past decade, the treatment, which uses a patient’s own cells, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as improve chronic pain from joint disorders such as arthritis. A patient’s stem cells are obtained by a bone marrow harvest through the posterior aspect of the pelvis. This procedure can be performed in a hospital operating room or, for most, in one of OACM’s offices with oral sedation and local anesthetic at the harvest site. The procedure takes less than 30 minutes to extract the stem cells, which are separated in a special centrifuge and then injected back into the patient.
Dr. Silverstein explained that many patients with arthritic conditions are searching for alternatives to joint replacement surgery and stem cell therapy is one promising option for the right candidate.
“Stem cell injections do not heal or prevent the progression of arthritic conditions. However, when injected directly into the diseased joint, this therapy reduces swelling, treats chronic pain, and improves function,” said Dr. Silverstein, who added that effects of stem cell injections can last up to six months.
Laser Therapy’s Penetrating Benefits
Laser therapy has produced some amazing results in reduction of pain and swelling, especially in tendon injuries and tendinitis. Chronic symptoms have been alleviated even when patients have experienced pain and tendonitis for years. The laser has penetrating effects on the tissue it targets, and is particularly used for tendon issues closer to the skin. Dr. Silverstein added that early studies have suggested that laser therapy may also have benefits for early post-operative patients in terms of faster healing. Laser therapy is an in-office procedure that utilizes specialized laser technology operated by a skilled orthopaedist. Laser therapy takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes, two to three times per week for two to four weeks.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
PRP treatment involves a simple blood draw in the physician’s office. The blood is then spun in a special centrifuge that separates the fluid that is full of platelets and growth factors, essential substances for tissue healing.
Once the physician has targeted the problem area either through x-ray or ultrasound images, the platelets and growth factors are injected directly into the affected joint, ligament, or tendon.
PRP therapy is commonly utilized for a condition called tennis elbow, which involves degeneration in the tendon on the lateral side of the elbow. This injury is common in individuals who play tennis as well as in people who suffer tendon injury due to repetitive use. Traditionally, this tendon injury has been treated with cortisone injections, but recent studies have found that PRP therapy may be a better solution for treating tennis elbow because of its natural healing properties. Patients treated with cortisone injections may have transient relief and then later more likely require surgery.
A Final Word about Regenerative Therapies
Dr. Silverstein added, “While regenerative therapies are not for everyone, they are showing encouraging results and alleviating symptoms of orthopaedic conditions in patients who are not responding to traditional therapy but who are also not ready for joint replacement surgery.”
To learn more about regenerative therapy and if it is right for you, talk to an OACM orthopaedic specialist – Call (410) 644-1880 or toll free at (855) 463-2663.
To find a physician, visit www.mdbonedocs.com.