Knee pain is a common ailment that can seriously affect a person’s quality of life. If you’re experiencing severe knee pain, you may be considering replacement surgery. While this may represent an effective treatment option for some individuals, there are several knee replacement alternatives you may wish to consider first.
As we will explore in this article, knee replacement represents a major form of surgery associated with several risks and a lengthy recovery time. Non-surgical alternatives such as stem cell therapy, however, could help to mitigate joint pain and stiffness.
What happens during a knee replacement?
Standard knee replacement surgeries involve removing small sections of bone from the knee and replacing them with plastic and metal. Typically, parts of the tibia and femur are removed and resurfaced. Sometimes, the kneecap will also need to be replaced.
When are replacement surgeries considered?
Knee replacements tend to be the last option for patients with knee pain, as there are a variety of less invasive options available to try first. Most medical professionals recommend knee pain in the following instances:
The pain is so severe that it interferes with day-to-day activities and disturbs the patient’s sleep.
Patients cannot fully straighten their legs due to joint stiffness and swelling.
The patient is partly or fully immobile due to intense pain and stiffness, made worse by muscle wastage around the knee.
The patient is at the older end of the spectrum. Indeed, older patients tend to be less active than younger patients, meaning their quality of life is less affected by long recovery times. Many younger patients with severe arthritis are discouraged from undergoing surgery as knee replacements do not last long in active people.
What are the standard outcomes for knee replacements?
While knee replacements can help to reduce pain, patients are often surprised that their knee does not return to normal after surgery. Residual swelling and pain are very common, and knee replacement patients are generally discouraged from overexerting themselves long after the surgery has taken place.
What are knee replacement alternatives?
Fortunately, there are plenty of non-surgical and minimally invasive options out there to help people with knee pain regain control of their lives. Helpful treatments could include orthopaedic braces, physiotherapy, weight loss, or steroids for pain relief. Here, however, we consider the benefits of stem cell therapy, one of the most promising and effective knee replacement alternatives to date.
What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy is frequently misunderstood as a dangerous or unethical treatment. In the context of addressing knee pain, this couldn’t be further from the truth. During treatment, stem cells are collected from the patient’s own fat cells or bone marrow. These cells are then injected into the knee joints. It is worth noting that the doctor will only ever use stem cells from the patient’s own body.
Typically, stem cell appointments are quick and relatively painless, with patients allowed to return home after the injections have been administered.
Are stem cell treatments effective?
While stem cell treatments are unlikely to immediately solve your knee problems, they could help to significantly reduce pain and stiffness. It is believed that stem cell injections work by reducing inflammation over time. As such, undergoing multiple injection sessions will boost your chances of experiencing pain relief.
What are the advantages of stem cell treatment?
Stem cell therapies are increasingly becoming a go-to method for treating knee pain. Here are some of their advantages:
They can help to reduce joint stiffness and restore everyday movement.
They may reduce dependency on pain medications.
They may reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis, knee injuries, and other conditions.
They are minimally invasive, allowing patients to stay as active as possible after treatment.
Are there any disadvantages to stem cell treatment?
The overwhelming majority of patients who undergo stem cell treatment for knee problems have positive experiences and do not encounter side effects. There are a few potential drawbacks you may wish to consider (although they are rare), including:
Injections may be ineffective for certain patients.
There may be a small amount of swelling and redness at the site of the injection.
There is a very small risk of bacterial infection.
Book your stem cell treatment today!
As you can see, stem cell therapy is a great treatment option for people experiencing knee pain, particularly if they live an active lifestyle. If you would like to discuss your options with a medical professional, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team today.
Dr. Sairam Atluri is a pioneer of stem cell therapy in the Cincinnati area. He is one of the very few in the country performing intra-discal and subchondral injections to treat back pain and joint pain. He gives national talks and teaches other physicians about stem cell therapy. He is also a co-editor of one of the largest textbooks about regenerative medicine. Dr. Atluri is part of the team which wrote the ASIPP guidelines for stem cells to treat back pain. He is one of the few in the area to be certified in Regenerative Medicine by American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians [ASIPP].