New Biologic Therapies for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Our knowledge of the healing process in the human body is rapidly expanding. We have learned a great deal from studying the body’s response to injury at the chemical and cellular level. Much of this knowledge of tissue repair is now being used to develop new and exciting treatments for degenerative conditions such as arthritis…and, as always, the knee joint is getting most of the attention at the outset.

  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Platelet Rich Plasma
  • Amniotic Tissue Preparations
  • Stem Cells

A stem cell is a cell that has the ability to differentiate into different cell types. Bone marrow derived stem cells are mesenchymal stem cells that can differentiate into soft tissues including muscle, tendon and cartilage that are most relevant to orthopedic issues. Stem cells sit at the center of a growing field of medicine called regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine aims to use the body’s own natural healing systems to repair damage, decrease pain and improve function.
Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive, same-day, non-surgical procedure that is done in an office-based setting. TOCA is among a select group of orthopedic practices that have physicians fellowship-trained in regenerative procedures. Stem cells are harvested or withdrawn with the use of ultrasound guidance through a large needle from the back of the hip. Going to a surgical center or operating room is not necessary. IV sedation is not necessary. This treatment offers a promising alternative for those patients considering having an artificial joint implanted. Patients who have continued pain despite having exhausted more traditional non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections may benefit as well. Stem cell treatments are experimental and are not the current standard of care. However, similar to how interventional cardiology has substantially decreased the number of open heart bypass procedures, interventional orthopedics is a growing field that hopes to use less invasive treatments such as stem cells to stave off or decrease the number of joint replacements and, at the very least, improve pain and function.

During the procedure, stem cells taken from the back of the hip and are concentrated using a centrifuge machine. Together with a patient’s own platelet-rich plasma (PRP), these cells are injected under ultrasound guidance into areas of damage. Though the procedure is experimental, there is evidence that these procedures are safe and effective for a majority of patients. (link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24113698). We assess stem cell therapy’s effectiveness using pain relief and functional improvement as the criteria.

To read more about Stem Cell Therapy Click here. To Download TOCA’s PRP/Stem Cell Therapy Packet information and view patient education videos Click Here.

What Should I do If I Think I’m a Candidate?
Dr. Joseph Blazuk and Dr. Richard Emerson are dedicated to quality comprehensive patient care and to answer all of your PRP and Stem Cell Therapy and procedure questions.

To schedule a consultation call the TOCA Team at 602-277-6211 today!

Please bring whatever radiology films or studies (X-rays, MRIs) you have available.