Your joints enable your body to function at a high level, letting you walk, bend, pick things up, carry things, brush your hair and teeth, eat, and more. When your joints are painful, stiff, or damaged, it can be difficult to do everyday things. Fortunately, modern medicine has made many advances and there are multiple options for treating joints when needed – and a few breakthroughs in joint repair seem to be just over the horizon.
Potential Stem Cell Cartilage Repair
Biomedical engineers at John Hopkins are attempting to grow stem cells into cartilage, which would allow damage knee joints to be rebuilt with living tissue. In a few years, it’s possible that stem cells contained in a gel could be injected around a damaged joint and used to grow bioidentical cartilage to repair damage.
3-D Printed Replacement Joints
In the meantime, 3-D printed prostheses can change the way joint replacement surgeries are done, by allowing millimeter precision to be adhered to when creating new joints for patients. Precise joints will fit the patient’s existing bone, meaning a less invasive surgery and no need to alter the knee to fit the new joint.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma injections use your body’s own blood, centrifuged to concentrate the powerful platelets, to boost healing around damaged joints. Platelet rich plasma can be injected around a damaged joint or a recently operated on joint, to both lessen pain and significantly shorten healing time.
iovera° Pain Management Treatment
Just before surgery on a knee joint, iovera° cold therapy treatment can be applied to the surgical site. This cryotherapy method uses the body’s natural response to cold, targeting pain-signaling nerves to provide pain relief until the nerves regenerate, giving the joint time to heal and the period of pain after surgery to pass. The iovera° system has been studied in clinical trials and is FDA cleared for use in knee surgery.
NAVIO Robotics Assisted Surgery
The NAVIO robotics-assisted surgical system is now in use for implanting the JOURNEY™ II XR., a bi-cruciate retaining total knee system that helps to retain the ACL and provide a faster recovery with fuller range of motion after knee replacement.
Stem cell cartilage and 3-D printed joints may still be in the R&D stages, but PRP, iovera° and NAVIO are all in use at Strasburger Orthopaedics. Call our office for a joint pain consultation today.