Knee problems are one of the most common orthopedic issues for which a person visits an orthopedic physician. Knee joints undergo tremendous stress in our day-to-day life. They are the weight-bearing joints that often get injured or damaged with any little pressure on them. Meniscus tear is a common knee injury in a sportsperson. A meniscus tear can happen when there is a sudden twisting or changing the position of the knee instantly.
Stem cell therapy for meniscus tear repairs the damaged tissue non-surgically. Stem cells are the unique cells in the body that repairs the damaged knee cartilage tissue and aids in the regeneration of healthy tissue. So far, there is extensive research done regarding the use of autologous stem cells in meniscus regeneration. The establishment of regenerative medicine to replace and regenerate the human tissues has reduced the need for orthopedic surgeries.
The use of orthobiologics, such as mesenchymal stem cells and blood platelets have helped the patients with meniscus tears to avoid surgery. There is vast growing evidence that stem cell therapy is effective in the treatment of meniscal injuries. Stem cell treatments can heal the persistent symptoms of meniscus tears, such as severe pain and inflammation at the site of the damage.
Understanding the knee meniscus and its injury
The meniscus is a piece of rubbery soft tissue similar to cartilage that serves as a cushion between the tibia (shinbone) and Femur (thigh bone). Knee meniscus protects the bones from wear and tear and stabilizes the knee joint. Meniscus tear is one of the most common knee injuries that require prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent further damage of the knee cartilage. Any pressure on the knee that exceeds the normal endurance limit can result in a torn meniscus.
Although meniscus tear is a common knee injury in athletes, it can even occur in people who perform activities that involve getting up too quickly from a position, a sudden turn or pivot, or deep squatting. Individuals who play sports that involve sudden turn or stops are at higher risk of a meniscus injury. Older athletes are at an increased risk of meniscus injuries since meniscus weakens with the process of aging.
However, in some people, meniscus injury can result from a degenerative condition, such as knee osteoarthritis. One might hear a popping sound when a meniscus tear occurs. A torn meniscus results in pain and swelling of the knee, causing difficulty to move the knee in a complete range of motion. One should seek immediate medical attention if such symptoms are noticed.
Regenerative medicine offers advanced non-surgical treatment for a torn meniscus. Meniscal tear treatment with stem cells provides an ideal treatment option to avoid surgery. A sportsperson who gets treated with stem cell therapy for meniscus tears can typically get back to playing his favourite sport within a few weeks of the treatment.
Stem cell therapy for meniscus tears
Stem cell treatments are advanced non-surgical procedures for knee problems, such as knee meniscus tears. Knee meniscus stem cell treatment enhances the body’s natural healing mechanism by repairing and regenerating the healthy cartilage tissue. Despite decades of conservative treatment methods, stem cell therapy has proven the fact that it can heal the meniscus injury without surgery.
Knee meniscus stem cell treatment is an effective alternative to knee meniscus surgery. Surgery for a torn meniscus often involves a risk of developing certain adverse effects and post-surgical complications. Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive procedure, which is carried out by needle-based injections.
During the process of stem cell therapy for meniscus tears, stem cells obtained from the bone marrow of the patient are concentrated in the laboratory for further clinical use. The stem cells are centrifuged to obtain a customized concentrate that is essential for the treatment of torn meniscus. The customized concentrates of the stem cells are precisely injected into the site of damage with the help of image-guided techniques, such as fluoroscopy and ultrasound. Stem cell therapy can rebuild healthy tissue and restore the normal function of the knee.
Sometimes, stem cell injections are followed by injecting the other growth factors to enhance healing ability. Platelets contain growth factors that enable faster regeneration of the tissue. Plasma collected from the patient’s body is centrifuged to obtain a concentrated substrate. The concentrated plasma contains growth factors that are 5 to 10 times more than the original plasma. A blend of stem cell injection followed by platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection helps to fasten the process of healing and tissue regeneration at the site of damage. Also, platelet lysate injections contain growth factors that enhance the body’s natural healing ability.
Benefits of stem cell treatment for meniscus injury
A torn meniscus can occur due to a sports injury (sudden tear of the meniscus) or from an underlying degenerative condition. Surgery for meniscus tear does not repair the damaged cartilage instead involves the removal of torn pieces of the meniscus. Stem cell meniscus repair aids in the repair and regeneration of the damaged tissue.
Adult stem cells are the specialized cells in the human body that can transform themselves into various cell types depending on the target at which they are injected. The procedure enables the body’s natural healing capacity in the affected area, thereby repairing the damaged cartilage. Also, stem cells for torn meniscus regenerate healthy tissue and restore the health of tissue surrounding the damaged area.
Stem cell injections for meniscus tears are the same-day procedures that heal the injured tissue naturally. Unlike surgery, stem cell therapy does not require painful and lengthy recovery periods. Surgery for meniscus tears makes it difficult for a person to move around freely at least for the initial few days. Whereas a person who received stem cell injections is encouraged to walk on the same day of the treatment.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Can meniscus injuries be prevented?
Meniscus tears can be prevented by performing regular exercises that aid in strengthening the leg muscles. The use of braces to support the knee or protective gear while playing sports can reduce the risk of meniscus injury. It is recommended to have proper stretching and warm-up before playing sport to reduce sudden pressure on the knee joint.
How quick are the recovery and rehabilitation after meniscal tear treatment?
The recovery from stem cell treatment is quite faster and efficient. Unlike conservative surgical methods, minimally invasive stem cell treatments for meniscus tears takes very few days for the recovery. One can get back to their normal routines within 3-4 days of the stem cell treatment. Also, rehabilitation after stem cell treatment involves certain physical exercises that are essential to regain the strength and mobility in the joint treated.
How long does it take to see the results?
Stem cells for a torn meniscus will begin their work at the site of the injury immediately after a stem cell injection is administered. Patients will begin to respond to the stem cell therapy in about three to four weeks of receiving the stem cell injection. In the cases where meniscus tear has caused severe damage, such patients might require a second stem cell injection after a month of getting the first injection.
Is stem cell therapy for meniscus injury safe?
Stem cell therapy does not involve an injection of any foreign body during the procedure. Due to this, the risk of rejection and infection completely ruled out. It is a highly safe alternative to surgery for a torn meniscus. The stem cells used in the procedure are the autologous cells that are drawn from the patient’s body.
What are the factors that determine the cost of stem cell therapy for a torn meniscus?
Stem cell treatments are tailored according to the unique needs of a patient. Due to this, the cost of stem cell therapy varies from greatly depending upon the condition. An interventional orthopedic specialist will evaluate the condition to estimate the cost of stem cell treatment for meniscus tears. The severity of the meniscus tear, the number of joints to be treated, and the area of damage are some of the important factors that determine the cost of the stem cell treatment.
How successful is stem cell therapy for meniscus tears?
Stem cell therapy for meniscus tears is the most advanced orthopedic therapy that has been booming in the current world. Stem cell treatments are highly effective non-surgical methods to heal a meniscus injury. The patients who received stem cell injections for meniscus tear have found significant improvement in the pain. Also, stem cell therapy healed the injury and restored the health of the surrounding tissue.