A non-surgical alternative to joint replacement surgery is now available in Watchung New Jersey
The exciting new specialty of Regenerative Medicine is offering the benefit of autologous stem cell grafts to treat chronic arthritis for knees, hips and shoulders. Autologous stem cells are obtained directly from the patient, unlike the controversial embryonic stem cells. This medical technology uses the body’s own natural healing ability to repair and regenerate degenerative arthritic tissue. These treatments have proven to reduce pain and provide long-standing relief from pain and limited function so commonly associated with osteoarthritis.
What is arthritis and why do I have pain and limited movement of my joints?
There are many different types of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis (OA), which affects over 25 million people in the United States. Arthritis is the result of a “wear and tear” of the joint’s protective cartilage. The most essential function of joint cartilage is to provide “shock absorption” and lubrication, as well as joint stability. As we age, the cartilage in weight-bearing joints begins to wear. This process can result in painful, swollen joints that are typically worse with standing and walking and in turn can be relieved by rest.
What are my treatment options?
Until recently, the traditional medical approach to osteoarthritis was anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, physical therapy or visco-supplementation (knee cushioning injections), or a combination thereof. If the patient’s condition did not improve, total joint replacement was the patient’s only other treatment option. Fortunately, due to advances in modern medicine, patients suffering from mild to moderate osteoarthritis now have another option—regenerative joint injections.
What is Regenerative Medicine and how does it work?
Regenerative Medicine is an exciting new medical sub-specialty that focuses on harnessing the body’s own reparative abilities to treat chronic degenerative conditions, like arthritis. The regenerative injection therapy consists of; adult stem cells and platelet rich plasma (PRP). Each injection has it’s own unique purpose in the overall healing process.
Stem cells are obtained directly from the patient using either adipose tissue (fat) or bone marrow. Stem cells have the unique ability to regenerate any tissue to which they are grafted. This can be beneficial if the physician wants to repair a damaged meniscus or joint cartilage commonly found in arthritis of the knee.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is obtained directly from the patient through a simple blood draw, which is then processed to concentrate the platelets. Research shows PRP can deliver 500% more growth factor and bio-active proteins to the injured area than would occur naturally, thus reducing healing time. The doctor takes the concentrated healing platelets of the patient’s own blood and reintroduces it or “grafts” it onto a specific injured site to regenerate tissue and speed the healing process. The result is that patients can return to their active lifestyles much sooner than via traditional non-surgical orthopedic treatments.
Do I need to have Both Stem Cell and PRP Injections?
For the treatment of osteoarthritis, we currently recommended both injection types. The analogy commonly used is stem cells are like the lawn seed necessary to regenerate tissue and the PRP is like the fertilizer, necessary to accelerate the process.
Take the next step
If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee and have failed conservative treatment or were told your only option was total joint replacement, you owe it to yourself to contact us for a consultation. If we think we can help you we will let you know, if we think we can’t you will let you know that too. Feel free to contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators at 908-756-2424 or you may contact us online.
About the author
Joseph Mejia D.O., F.A.A.P.M.&R, Is a graduate of University of Michigan and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. Dr. Mejia received his Fellowship Training in Interventional Pain Management from University of Medicine and Dentistry. He has advanced training in Regenerative Medicine and is the Medical Director and Partner of Performance Rehabilitation and Integrated Medicine.