Stem Cell Therapy in Treating Arthritis
A person is required to get a knee replacement surgery if they experience osteoarthritis or any severe arthritic condition.
What happens during the procedure is where a qualified doctor makes an incision near the affected knee joint and then they will slowly replace the thinned and old cartilage with plastic implants.
The implants aim to mimic what the natural cartilage can do so that the person will be able to walk again. However, there are some problems with this treatment.
One, the plastic implants might not be angled the same way as the original cartilage. Therefore, the person might still experience some pain if they walk a certain way.
Second, the use of implants, especially one that is made out of plastic, has a risk of infection which might cause additional problems as well.
So, a suitable alternative would be to use stem cells for treating such a condition. But, is it really safe and effective?
Is Stem Cell Therapy a Viable Alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery?
Stem cells can be found abundantly inside our bodies.
They have two characteristics in that they have the ability to proliferate and divide indefinitely and they can also turn into just about any cell in the body.
With all of those being said, they are believed to regenerate or repair the cartilage that connects the muscle and the knee joint which will, hopefully, cure the condition.
Although there are some clinics that have already done this particular procedure, the results were mixed.
In some cases, some patients have reported that they’ve never felt better. In other cases, the patient’s do not feel an effect, at least, immediately. And in some rare instances, some people just didn’t feel any improvement at all.
What Do the Proponents and Skeptics Say?
If you ask the proponents of stem cell therapy, they would say that the procedure does what the knee replacement surgery cannot and that is to repair the old cartilage and give it a new life.
However, the critics went on to say that that stem cell therapies are nothing more than just a placebo.
Let’s delve into the matter by looking at some studies. There is a study that stem cells can actually regenerate lost cells and tissue. That has been documented by at least 5 other studies as well, but it is important to note that these studies only involved mice.
Critics also say that there are no large-scale and double-blind research studies to indicate that stem cells do work as what is intended by the doctors.
Can PRP Help?
Some doctors believe that stem cells, by themselves, cannot initiate the full healing process. And thus, they’re proposing that stem cell therapy should be accompanied by a procedure known as Platelet-Rich Plasma.
PRP can be drawn from the patient’s blood and it contains various proteins and growth factors that can initiate muscle repair and synthesis.
When combined with stem cells, they might be able to work in tandem to regenerate whatever is damaged inside the patient’s body.
So, are stem cell therapies safe and effective for treating Arthritis? Unfortunately, the answer is not cut-and-dry. In some cases, patients who have undergone stem cell treatments do report a massive improvement while others say that they did not experience any improvement at all.
If you still want to get the treatment for yourself, do this with some level of skepticism.