Stem Cell Therapy: The Alternative to Knee Replacement
Each year, there are over 60,000 people undergoing knee surgery in the United States. Many of these patients have spent years dancing, running marathons, golfing, or just suffering from chronic arthritis. The most common reason people in the U.S. seek knee replacements is because they are dealing with severe osteoarthritis.
However, many of these patients have also been told that surgery is the only option. As with any surgery, there are a lot of risks that are associated with knee replacements. If you are looking for knee pain treatment, stem cell therapy might be an option worth considering. Stem cell therapy is a low-risk, non-surgical procedure.
Let’s compare the two procedures to see which one is right for you:
Total knee replacements are one of the most successful surgeries in medicine. On average, knee replacements last about 20 years. If you are younger than 70-years-old, it may be best to wait a little while to consider surgery. If you get knee replacements while you are too young, you will most likely have to undergo another surgery once you are even older – which opens a number of risks.
A total knee replacement is the most common knee replacement performed, and the most successful one. Only the actual surfaces of the bones are actually replaced, so you might have heard a knee replacement been referred to as a knee “resurfacing.” There are four basic steps that you can expect from a knee replacement:
Prepare: The surgeon will begin by preparing the bone. The surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage surfaces at the ends of the femur and tibia and will also remove a small amount of underlying bone.
Position: Then, the surgeon will position the metal implants. Metal components will take the place of the removed bone and cartilage to recreate the surface of the joint. These will stay in place by either being cemented or “press-fit” into the bone.
Resurface: The next step is to resurface the patella. The surgeon will cut the kneecap and resurface it with a plastic button. Depending on the patient’s case, some surgeons may choose not to resurface the patella.
Insertion: The last step is to insert a spacer. In order to create a smooth gliding surface, the surgeon will insert a medical-grade plastic spacer between the metal parts.
Knee Replacement Risks
Knee replacements aren’t as dangerous as you might think. There are only around 5% of Medicare patients (65-years and older) who are re-admitted to the hospital for a complication from knee replacement surgery within the following 30 days. Depending on your age and condition, you could be at higher risk for a complication if you undergo surgery. Here are the most common risks associated with knee replacement surgery:
- Complications from Anesthesia
- Blood Clots
- Implant Problems
- Continued Pain
- Neurovascular Injury
Stem Cell Therapy
If you live a busy life, stem cell therapy might be your best option. Many knee patients have been told they need knee replacement surgery because there is no cartilage left in-between their joints. However, there are areas of thin cartilage that might respond well to the regenerative stem cell procedure – allowing the patient’s body to naturally repair the damaged area.
Stem Cell Therapy is a low-risk procedure, which is carried out without general anesthesia, minimal postoperative discomfort, and little to no recovery downtime. With stem cell therapy, the pain lessens more and more over time. By using your own cells, doctors can help repair joint damage from arthritis and sports injuries. This is how the procedure is normally done:
The doctor will perform a bone marrow biopsy to retrieve mesenchymal stem cells. Then, the doctor will remove the unwanted cells and process the desired cells through a bedside centrifuge. Finally, the stem cell concentration will be injected into the exact treatment area. Phew, that was fast!
Knee Replacement Surgery vs. Stem Cell Therapy
If you are experiencing chronic pain in your knees, talk to your doctor before making a final decision between knee replacement surgery and stem cell therapy. Here are the biggest differences between the two procedures:
- Length of Procedure
Knee Replacement: Surgery takes 1 to 2 hours.
Stem Cell: The procedure takes about 30 minutes.
- Recovery Time
Knee Replacement: Patients can begin walking within 2 to 3 weeks and can resume most normal activities in around 3 months.
Stem Cell: On average, patients can return to work in 1-2 days and sports in 4-6 weeks.
Knee Replacement: Implants metal and plastic into your body.
Stem Cell: Uses your body’s natural cells.
Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas
If you live in the San Antonio area and are considering stem cell therapy, contact the Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas for help. All our patients are given a customized treatment plan based on their orthopedic disease and pain problems. 100 percent of our patients were satisfied with their treatment, and 79 percent experienced pain relief.
You don’t have to continue living with unnecessary pain. Do something about it today. Call (210) 293-3136 today to schedule your medical evaluation with one of our patient advocates. The pain ends here!