In a world where nearly 16% grapple with knee damage from age, inflammation, or injury, solutions are evolving. For years, surgical knee replacement stood as the sole recourse for severe cases. However, a paradigm shift emerges with the advent of stem cell treatment for damaged knees. This innovative therapy offers a groundbreaking avenue, showcasing its unique ability to repair and regrow damaged knee cartilage. The pivotal question now lingers: "Stem Cell vs. knee Replacement," which is the optimal choice for you? In our exploration, we unravel the answer, guiding you through the terrain of possibilities for a healthier and more informed decision.
Is this the first time you’ve heard about stem cells?
Don’t worry; you will have a pretty good idea about them in a couple of minutes.
Let us start with what exactly stem cells are.
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Stem cells are immature cells found in various parts of our bodies that can differentiate into any tissue.
They can be found in our bone marrow, fatty tissues, and circulating blood, among other places. Of course, different stem cells help treat different types of health conditions.
Stem cell treatment is a reasonably new treatment in the medical world. It is still undergoing clinical trials, which have shown promising results. However, this treatment still needs to be approved by the FDA.
Sounds intriguing, right?
But we are sure you’re wondering how stem cell therapy helps treat knee conditions.
And you will be surprised by the answer.
You see, our knees are usually damaged by excessive wear and tear or an inflammatory condition. Sometimes, an accident results in an injured knee.
Stem cells have several unique properties that can help heal your damaged knee and form new cells to replace the ones damaged beyond repair.
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If this wasn’t enough, researchers have also created cartilage from stem cells in the laboratory, which can then be inserted into the affected knee.
Have you heard of any other treatment that can give you the same benefits?
Another plus point of stem cell therapy is how easy the procedure is. All of it is done under local anesthesia, and you only need to spend three to five days in the hospital.
Most clinical trials use the patient’s stem cells, which means they are easily accessible too. The recovery period is only about a week-long, after which you can resume your daily activities.
Want to hear something amazing?
In over a decade of clinical trials, no one has reported any long-term side effects. That’s how safe this procedure is.
The stem cells inserted into the damaged knee continue to form new cells for almost a year, and the benefits have been reported to last up to three years after the stem cell procedure. After this period, one might be required to undergo another stem cell transplant.
Did you know that stem cell therapy has a success rate of nearly 80%?
Yes, 80% of treated patients in clinical studies have reported a reduction in pain and improved mobility. All this without having to undergo surgery.
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About Knee Replacement
Knee replacement or knee arthroplasty is an out-and-out surgical procedure that replaces a part of, or your entire knee joint. For decades, it has become the standard medical solution for severe cases of arthritis and knee damage.
In knee replacement surgery, the damaged knee joint is removed and replaced with a prosthesis. It is considered a last resort for people who have extreme pain and mobility issues.
So why exactly would one need a knee replacement?
You see, our knees have a cartilage that absorbs the shocks of movement when we walk around. When this cartilage is damaged, either due to an inflammatory condition, excessive wear, and tear, or due to an accident, simple tasks like walking can cause immense pain.
At this point, a knee replacement surgery is carried out. The surgery is carried out under general anesthesia in most cases. The new prosthetic is usually made of metal, plastic, or both.
While discharge from the hospital after the surgery is given in three to five days, the recovery period lasts from six weeks to three months. During this period, apart from physical therapy, one’s movements are restricted.
When one follows the proper instructions, the knee replacement lasts for nearly fifteen years in 90% of cases. However, in some cases, scar tissue is formed at the site of surgery, giving the patient no relief from pain.
Knee replacement surgeries have a high success rate and have become routine medical procedures now. However, since they are a type of surgery at the end of the day, they do carry certain risks that come with all surgeries.
The biggest risks are a blood clot in the legs or the lungs and nerve damage. The prevalence rate of these risks is quite low though.
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Stem Cell Therapy vs Knee Replacement
Still confused about how these procedures differ?
We have made a comparison chart to help you understand better.
What is Better—Stem Cell Therapy or Knee Replacement?
Let’s come to the most critical question of this debate.
This is quite a loaded question with no clear answer.
Stem cell therapy has shown promising results in its clinical trials. It is also the only treatment that grows back the body’s cells. Theoretically, this will provide better long-term results and strength. It will also help the patient live a life with more mobility.
However, stem cell treatments are still undergoing clinical trials. More long-term follow-up data is required to judge its effects on damaged knees. This treatment is quite new, and researchers still need to fine-tune it to enhance its efficacy.
To answer this question, your physician is the best person to take a call. In some cases, stem cell treatment might be the better option, especially if the patient has certain health conditions that don’t allow them to undergo surgery.
Is Stem Cell Therapy a Replacement For Knee Replacement Surgery?
There is no clear answer to this question. In a few cases, stem cell therapy is the better option, such as when the patient has an auto-immune or inflammatory condition.
It’s too soon to decide other cases. In very severe cases of damage, a knee replacement might be the better option at this point. Stem cell therapy’s efficacy is still being tested in such situations.
However, one thing is certain. Stem cell therapy is the most promising treatment to emerge in the past two decades. It also has the potential to replace surgical knee replacement entirely shortly.
Hope this article cleared your confusion about the difference between the two procedures and helped you decide the right treatment for you!
So, what is your choice of treatment- Stem cell therapy or knee replacement?
Frequently Asked Questions
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