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.

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