Posted on: 3 October 2019
Stem cell therapy is an emerging treatment that has the potential for use in repairing different areas of the body. One approach is using stem cells in orthopedic applications to prevent or delay the need for joint replacements and to address current symptoms, such as pain and inflammation.
Inflammatory arthritis is a unique issue because the damage to joints and surrounding soft tissues is caused by the immune system, instead of mechanical wear or acute injury. The use of stem cells in inflammatory arthritis may have additional benefits beyond the regenerative capacity of stem cells. Some studies have found that stem cells also reduce the immune system's impact on the affected joint. If stem cells are able to reduce the effects of the immune response, not only are patients left with less pain and swelling, but further degeneration of the joint and surrounding soft tissues may be slowed or halted.
One of the most common orthopedic application of stem cells is for osteoarthritis (OA). In the earlier stages of OA, there can be some physical challenges, pain, and swelling, and this is the ideal time to consider conservative treatments before the problem progresses. Since some amount of activity can be helpful for people with OA, staying mobile can reduce the chance of additional problems that exacerbate the problem, such as weight gain and decreased strength. Stem cells may be injected with the goal of helping rebuild cartilage, which would increase cushioning in the affected joint. As OA progresses, the ability to rebuild cartilage could reduce the need for steroid injections or joint replacements.
Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue damage as a result of injury or degenerative changes is another area that may benefit from stem cell therapy. Damage to tendons and ligaments are challenging because these tissues do not heal. Sometimes tears can be repaired with surgery, but when there is a large tear or the tissue has completely torn off the bone, donor tissue must be used from elsewhere in the body. Stem cell treatments may be capable of regenerating these tissues and are easier to administer than arthroscopic surgery to suture tears or replace the tissues. Additionally, treatment with stem cells in the early stage of damage may prevent small tears from becoming worse and requiring a replacement.
Stem cell treatment is a promising approach to handling orthopedic issues, even before the problem becomes debilitating. The possibility of regenerating cartilage, bone, and soft tissue can give people with arthritis or musculoskeletal injuries the chance at improved function and less pain with a non-invasive treatment.Share