Alternatives to Knee Replacement Surgery

Anyone who suffers from chronic knee pain knows how it impacts your quality of life – simple tasks and even short walks can become excruciating, resulting in a loss of independence, mobility, and enjoyment of life.

The most common treatments either address the symptoms (pain medication or cortisone shots) or result in invasive surgery with long recovery times. While knee replacement has advanced, it still requires weeks or even months of rehab and a prolonged recovery time.

Beyond the risks inherent with any invasive surgery, such as complications from anesthesia or post-op infections, knee surgery can be incredibly dangerous because of the threat of blood clots. As you recover, dependency on pain medication or failure to reach physical therapy goals can leave the patient with problems equal to the knee pain.

Safe and Effective Treatments For Knee Pain

What, then, are the alternatives to knee replacement surgery? For those suffering from intense knee pain, the need for an acceptable alternative to knee replacement surgery is essential. Luckily for those patients, there are alternatives that don’t call for addictive pain medication or expensive surgery.

Because of recent advances in regenerative medicine techniques, we now have opportunities that we did not previously have. The two primary regenerative methods for addressing chronic knee pain are human cellular tissue and platelet-rich plasma injections.

Human Cellular tissue

Derived from donated umbilical cord tissue and the Wharton’s jelly found there, mesenchymal cells allow doctors to treat pain, inflammation, and tissue damage by addressing the source instead of the symptoms. Traditional medical approaches involve treating the pain and inflammation symptoms or replacing the knee with foreign material.

These new approaches using mesenchymal cells take advantage of the body’s innate ability to promote its own healing. These cells are identical to the cells that result in regeneration renewal and tissue repair. When introduced by a medical professional to the site of tissue damage (like in a damaged knee), these cells send signals to the impacted tissue and nearby cells to begin the body’s process of renewal and healing.

Platelet-Rich Plasma

PRP injections use cells already present in the patient to spur the damaged tissue to heal itself. Blood is removed from the patient and spun in a centrifuge to create a concentrated solution of platelets. When the platelets are injected into the site of pain and tissue damage, their cytokines, amino acids, and other growth and healing factors send messages to the damaged tissue to promote healing.

These approaches encourage the body to heal in ways that avoid artificial means like chemical or surgical intervention. The body receives the messages from each of the cells’ growth factors to repair the actual damage that is causing the pain and inflammation in the first place. Once it can renew and regrow some of the damaged tissue, patients can receive relief without the expense and time related to a full knee replacement.