Our blood circulatory system transports the necessary nutrients and oxygen to all the cells in the body. Sometimes, blood vessels running through a particular body part may be obstructed due to various reasons, thereby causing a hindrance to the blood supply. Avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis is one such condition that occurs due to the lack of blood supply to the bone tissue. Surgical intervention for avascular necrosis might result in prolonged recovery along with alteration or replacement of joint structures.
Avascular necrosis/osteonecrosis treatment with stem cells enables to heal the condition without the need for surgery. Currently, regenerative medicine is widely being used in the treatment of various orthopedic injuries. Non-surgical treatments come with a benefit of minimal to no downtime for recovery and rehabilitation. This helps the patient to typically get back to routines within a very few days of receiving the stem cell treatment.
Avascular necrosis (AVN) is a bone disease that is characterized by the death of the bone tissue. This occurs due to either temporary or permanent lack of blood supply to the bone tissue. The condition can further lead to tiny breaks in the bones, thereby eventually leading to bone collapse. Although this can occur in people of any age group, it is most commonly seen in individuals between ages 20 to 50 years.
Early stages of avascular necrosis do not indicate any symptoms. However, when the condition gets worse, one can experience pain in the affected joint. People with avascular necrosis can develop pain in the groin, thigh or buttocks. The pain resulting from AVN can be mild or severe and temporary or persistent.
Any trauma to the joint can weaken the bone and damage the nearby blood vessels, which leads to the reduced blood supply. Fatty deposits in the blood greatly affect the flow of blood to the bones. Health conditions, such as Gaucher’s disease and sickle cell anemia can also reduce the blood flow to the bones. In some people, the interruption of blood flow to the bone tissue is not known.
Stem cell injections for avascular necrosis/osteonecrosis treatment
Stem cells are the specialized cells that are widely being used in orthopedic treatments over the past decade. The use of stem cells in treating AVN is a promising minimally-invasive, non-surgical treatment option to halt the progression of the disease and heal the dead tissue.
Stem cell therapy for avascular necrosis helps to avoid total hip arthroplasty surgery. During the procedure, stem cells are harvested from the bone marrow of the patient and are processed in the laboratory to obtain a desired customized concentrate suitable for the treatment. The concentrate used in the treatment depends on the extent of the damage caused and the severity of the condition.
Various research studies have stated that the stem cells decrease the pain and other symptoms that are associated with the condition. Also, stem cell therapy for avascular necrosis prevents the collapse of the femoral head and significantly improves the range of motion.
The patients who receive stem cell treatment for AVN are sent back on the same day as the procedure are out-paitnet. However, it is mandatory for the patients to do regular physiotherapy exercises that help to improve the blood flow to the treated area. Stem cells begin to show their effect within 2 to 6 weeks of receiving the treatment.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
How effective are injections of stem cells for degenerative conditions?
Degenerative conditions occur due to the wear and tear of the joint cartilage. It usually occurs due to the process of aging. In some cases, it can also develop gradually from an injury that is left untreated. Stem cells injections are highly effective in the treatment of degenerative conditions. They help in the tissue repair and regeneration by non-surgical treatment options.
What factors can lead to avascular necrosis?
Excessive alcohol consumption can form fatty deposits in the blood vessels, thereby obstructing the free flow of blood to various parts of the body. Hip fractures/injuries can cause damage to the blood vessels and reduce blood supply to the bones. Although rare, long-term use of high-dose steroid medications that fight inflammation can raise fat levels in the blood. Also, medical treatments like radiation can weaken the bones in the treated area and increase the chances of avascular necrosis.
Does stem cell injection for AVN result in side effects?
Stem cell procedure for AVN is highly safe and does not result in any side effects. The treatment involves the use of patient’s autologous stem cells, which are concentrated in a lab and injected back into the site of injury to enhance the body’s natural mechanism to heal the tissue. However, some people might experience the side effects of injection, such as pain, bruising or redness at the site of injection. Such effects of the injection are addressed by over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammation medications.