The treatment of knee, elbow and other joint pain and the rehabilitation of chronic tendonitis has frustrated patients and practitioners.
There are few treatments that provide reliable relief to patients with these problems, and some treatments such as anti-inflammatories and corticosteroid injections (cortisone) can have negative effects, and often fail to provide sustained relief. Studies, such as the 2017 study by XXXX, even show that corticosteroids can worsen cartilage damage in joints making patients and practitioners search for other options including biologic treatments.
Biologic treatments include:
A preparation of concentrated plasma that contains platelets, the blood’s clotting cells, that supply growth factors to an injured area. Platelet-rich plasma is created by spinning a patient’s own blood in a centrifuge and isolating the platelets.
Bone Marrow Concentrate
Many people use the term stem cells for this treatment. Bone Marrow Concentrate is obtained from the bone marrow in the pelvis. A centrifuge is used to isolate the mesenchymal stem cells found on blood vessels in the marrow as well as the cells that supply white blood cells to the body (hematopoietic stem cells).
Adipose Stem Cells
Fat tissue (adipose) is prepared using an enzyme wash in this procedure that concentrates the mesenchymal stem cells present on the blood vessels in fat.
Allogenic Stem Cells
This refers to any source of stem cells that is not from the same patient including umbilical cord sources and amnion sources. The use of these sources is in constant evolution due to regulations, and scientific research being done on the effectiveness of these treatments for various diagnoses.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are cells in the body that can differentiate into (become) more than one other type of cell. This means that they have the potential, with the right signals, to become bone, cartilage or other useful tissue types. More importantly, stem cells provide signals to other cells around them. Many of these signals are anti-inflammatory, providing the potential to decrease symptoms of inflammation (pain, swelling, loss of function) in many bone and joint conditions.
The use of biologic treatments has been coined regenerative medicine. With a complex understanding of the biology of stem cells there may come a day when cartilage can be regenerated and arthritis can be reversed. At present, biologic treatments are showing promise in improving patient symptoms. Platelet-rich Plasma has some studies that suggest it can provide relief of knee pain from arthritis for up to a year or more. As the use of stem cells becomes more common there may be similar findings.
Acumen Clinic and Biologic Treatments
At Acumen Clinic we provide advice on biologic treatments for orthopedic conditions. We keep up-to-date on the latest evidence for the use of PRP and stem cells in arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis and other conditions.
We also provide treatments at our Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver clinics with platelet-rich plasma and we will be launching treatments with stem cells at each of these sites in Spring 2018.
If you would like more information about treatment please let us know. We will also keep you up to date as our practice in this area evolves based on the best evidence available for this emerging and experimental treatment area.