Osteoarthritis of the knee is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Overtime, the cartilage and ligament around your knee wears down. As we age, the cartilage can become weaker and brittle, which increases the risk of injury and other complications. Unfortunately, this typically leads to knee replacement surgery, a procedure that’s performed on about 600,000 people in America every year.
While knee surgery is often considered to be relatively safe, it’s a procedure that’s not reversible and it limits your range of motion. Furthermore, a replacement knee isn’t permanent. Eventually, it’ll need to be replaced. Patients have also complained about recovery times as long as a year.
For this reason, it may be a good idea to consider alternatives to knee surgery first. One such alternative is stem cell therapy for knees.
Stem Cells for Knees: How Does It Work?
In the stem cell procedure, you and your doctor have several choices. Stem cells can be harvested from your bone marrow, abdominal fat, or umbilical blood of a new born baby. Once the stem cells are ready, they’re injected directly into the injured area. This can be an effective way to treat a variety of knee conditions including:
- Meniscus Tears
- Torn Ligament
- Tendon Injuries
Knee Stem Cell Treatment Recovery Time
The recovery time for stem cell treatment for the knees varies depending on your age, condition, and where the stem cells come from. Many patients only need 1 to 2 weeks for the more severe discomfort to be mostly gone. For the first week, patients may be encouraged to place minimal weight on the affected knee, which usually requires using crutches or a walker. It’s best to avoid further injury as it could be counterproductive to the stem cell therapy. Depending on the nature of your condition, further treatments may be necessary, although many patients report considerable relief after just one injection. It should be noted that cartilage growth is a slow process, so continual improvement should be seen over the course of a few months and up to a year. That means you should notice your knee improving more every month! Be sure to continue dietary changes and application of prescription creams and other agents that are prescribed.
The Advantages of Using Stem Cells vs Knee Replacement Surgery
The primary reason that most patients choose to have stem cell injections for knee pain is that it’s much less invasive and more affordable than a total knee replacement surgery. A complete replacement of the knee typically costs $50,000 or more, but further complications could increase that cost. Plus, knee replacements aren’t permanent. Eventually, you may need to have the surgery again to replace worn out hardware, which is why most doctors are hesitant to perform it on younger patients. And lastly, what if your body turns out to be sensitive or allergic to the materials in the artificial knee? What if the foreign materials trigger your particular immune system and this causes an adverse health effect? Now you can’t go back and use your own biology for healing. There is still an artificial knee and you still have knee pain.
Remember, range of motion correlates with x-ray and condition of joint cartilage, but pain does not correlate with x-ray. Most knee or joint pain comes from injured fascia holding the muscles together that move the joint. Did your doctor thoroughly examine your fascia? Did your doctor even touch you?
How Long Do Stem Cells Take to Work on a Knee?
If you’re thinking of booking an appointment with a stem cell doctor for knees, then you might be wondering how long until relief can be had. And the answer is…it depends.
As with all kinds of stem cell procedures, the length of time it takes to experience relief depends on factors like the severity of your pain and the type of condition you have. For example, if you’re dealing with minor cartilage wear in the knee, it’s possible that you may only require a single treatment. However, if you’re experience significant deterioration of the knee joint and you’re trying to avoid knee replacement surgery, then you may need multiple treatments. But don’t be dismayed – many patients report significant relief after only one treatment. Plus, one of the best reasons to choose stem cells over surgery is that there’s continued improvement of the knee with every passing month. In other words, your knee will continue to strengthen itself over time.