Friday, April 17, 2015

Amniotic Stem Cell Treatment and Knee Arthritis

Dr. Kevin Lam of Naples, FL offers alternative to surgery for knee  arthritis

Arthritis is a general term used to signify inflammation of one or more joints. Typical symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness of the affected joint. Arthritis can affect any joint in the body but is notably common in the knee.
Knee arthritis can affect a person lifestyle. The pain associated with knee arthritis makes daily activities difficult, like walking or climbing the stairs. There are many types of arthritis that can affect the knee such as rheumatoid arthritis and post traumatic arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common especially among the elderly.
Osteoarthritis of the knee or degenerative osteoarthritis is a condition where the natural smooth lining of the joints which is the cartilage starts to thin out and wears away. This cartilage is very smooth and slippery and it also acts as a shock absorber. Unfortunately, as we age, this joint is susceptible to wear and tear, therefore, thinning the cartilage and exposing the rough bone underneath, which can cause severe debilitating knee pain.
Treatments of osteoarthritis affecting the knee focus on controlling joint pain and preventing further damage to the joint. This involves lifestyle modifications such as losing weight, minimizing strenuous activities, dieting, taking medications (pain relievers, steroids) , physical therapy and other remedies. But in worse cases when the pain can no longer be alleviated by conservative means, surgery is recommended like total or partial knee replacement.
Knee replacement involves removing the damage knee and replacing it with metal plates. Unfortunately, the procedure does not guarantee alignment and stability and may require repeat surgery to accommodate this. Also, several complications could occur:
  1. Knee stiffness.
  2. Wound infection.
  3. Infection of the replaced joint.
  4. Rejection of the prosthetic joint.
  5. Nerve, tendon, ligament or artery damage.
  6. Deep vein thrombosis.
  7. Persistent pain at the knee.
Amniotic Stem Cell Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis
Stem cells are unique cells that are capable of changing into different cells. When stem cells are injected into a damaged joint, the cells transform into specialized cells, in this case chondrocytes to produce new cartilage. Also, these cells accelerate the body’s own repair system; hence, decreasing inflammation, promote healing, prevent scaring and improve joint function.
Other advantages include:
  1. Amniotic stem cells contain cytokines. Cytokines are signaling molecules that boost the communication of immune response cells and stimulate the migration of these cells toward sites of infection, trauma and inflammation.
  2. Amniotic stem cells also contain hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a substance naturally found in the human body and like cytokine, hyaluronic acid cures injured tissues faster and promotes bone growth and regeneration of cartilage tissues.
  3. Amniotic stem cells do not cause patient rejection and allergic reaction.

Advantages of Using Stem Cells versus Steroids in Treating Foot and Ankle Pain

Stem cells are special biological cells that have the ability to differentiate to other types of cells and repair or regenerate damaged cells in the body. Due to medical advancement, we can now use the regenerative characteristics of these cells to treat an array of medical conditions, including foot and ankle pathology.

Amniotic stem cells are commonly used in regenerative medicine as it does not cause any moral or ethical issues. These amazing stem cells are considered to be undifferentiated cells, which mean they have the ability to change to different kinds of cells like skin, bone, blood and liver cells. When amniotic stem cells are injected to the affected area, these cells can repair and regenerate the surrounding tissues, able to control pain and swelling, and treat previously incurable conditions. This medical breakthrough is said to be the future of medicine.
Advantages of amniotic stem cell therapy:
  1. Amniotic stem cells have the ability to stimulate new tissue growth and repair.
  2. The cells contain natural occurring anti-inflammatory agents like cytokines to control pain and swelling.
  3. Amniotic stem cells can help promote bone and cartilage regeneration, and could help lubricate the joints because it contains hyaluronic acid.
  4. Amniotic stem cells will not induce an immunologic rejection response, patient rejection is extremely rare.
  5. Amniotic stem injections are preferred compared to other sources of stem cells like embryonic stem cells or stem cells extracted from the patient’s own blood because amniotic fluid is a highly concentrated source of stem cells.
  6. Amniotic stem cell also contain hylauronic acid which is the building block for cartilage and healthy joint fluid. 

How are these harvest? 

Amniotic stem cell donors are prescreened and processed through an FDA approved tissue bank. 
The lab then harvest  the live cells, process them and freeze them in -70C for cryopreservation prior to usage.    Our office obtains the cryopreserved stem cells and place them in our ultra low temp freezer until ready for usage. 

Is it safe?
100% safe. 

Insurance cover? 
No, insurance, medicare does not cover these regenerative treatments. Pro athletes and the elite has used this technology for some time, now made available to the masses? 

Do I qualify?
You must be evaluated by our physicians first. If you are a candidate some procedures can be done the same day or scheduled within 24 hours.  
We have consultant physicians on staff that will do injections above the hip joint for instance, tennis elbow, arthritic thumb, etc. 

Repair naturally, not replace or cover up. 

NOT all amniotic stem cells are the same. 
The pure amniotic stem cell does not involve the chorion layer of the amniotic sac.   This chorion layer has been known to cause inflammation and host reactions.   Company's that offer this cut costs by decreasing the processing and using chorion as a filler material. 
We have had patients that had other amniotic tissue injections to no avail. I prefer to use live stem cells and purest form possible for my patients.    Analogy would be using live bait for fishing or dead cut bait.  If you had the choice which would you choose? 

Comparison to Steroids

Steroids injections provide excellent pain and inflammation control and are generally safe. Unfortunately, there are still potential side effects and disadvantages, especially after chronic use.
  1. Temporary relief. Just like other medication, pain and inflammation control provided by steroid use is limited and a repeat injections maybe needed for continued relief.
  2. Post injection pain. For some patients, steroid injections can be very painful and may require anesthetic injection.
  3. Anaphylactic reaction. An allergic reaction or worse, an anaphylactic shock is probably the most dangerous side effect after joint injection of steroids. This is a life-threatening medical emergency and an experienced medical practitioner should identify the early signs of allergic reaction.
  4. Skin changes. For some patients, skin discoloration and atrophy could occur on the injection site, especially with patients who have darker skin.
  5. Risk of elevated blood sugar among diabetics. Diabetic patients who undergo steroid treatment should monitor their blood sugar levels.

Dr. Kevin Lam and FFLC offers
Full line of PRP treatments and Amniotic Stem Cell treatments in office.