Stem Cell Surgery

Joint preservation and Stem Cell Treatments

Joint preservation techniques are used in patients with cartilage defects to preserve the joints and restore function.

Articular cartilage is the cartilage that covers the bony surface of joints. It has a smooth surface, which allows the bones of the knee joint to slide over each other with very little friction.

Articular cartilage is often damaged by injury or normal wear and tear. When it is damaged or worn away, the affected joint becomes painful, stuff, and has limited range of motion. As this type of cartilage has limited ability to heal by itself, surgical repair may be required to stimulate the growth of new cartilage. Articular cartilage restoration relieves pain, improves function and can delay or prevent the onset of arthritis in the joint.

Non-surgical and minimally invasive surgical procedures are available. Dr. Frank McCormick is the region’s leading expert on joint preservation techniques such as arthroscopic cartilage transplantation, arthroscopic meniscal transplantation, and now offers biologic joint replacement using cartilage instead of metal.

Spectrum of Joint Preservation and Stem Cell Procedures:

  • runner-stem-cell-procedures-aA2M (Alpha 2 Macroglobulin): A protein found in our own blood, A2M can bind the enzymes that cause cartilage breakdown in arthritis. This has proven to reduce pain and prevent cartilage damage. This may best be given after an acute injury and at regular intervals. This treatment is FDA approved and is one of the most promising treatments available.
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): PRP is a procedure where a small amount of your blood is drawn and the healing factors in the blood are isolated, concentrated and then injected into the painful joint. The healing factors then signal the stem cells to the area, and results can be expected to last 6 months or more. The procedure takes about 30 minutes.
  • Diagnostic Arthroscopy: Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure during which the internal structure of a joint is examined for diagnosis and treatment of problems inside the joint. In arthroscopic examination, a small incision the size of a buttonhole is made through which the arthroscope (pencil-sized instrument) is inserted. This allows the physician to directly visualize and treat the defect with advanced Orthobiologic approaches.
  • Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) stem cell injections: Stem cells are located in our bone marrow in our hip and knee. These stem cells can be drawn from the bone under local anesthetic, concentrated, and then injected into the painful knee. Often times, PRP is injected with the stem cells to enhance the treatment. This procedure takes about an hour.
  • Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI): ACI is a two-step procedure; first step is an athroscopic surgery to remove the tissue containing healthy cartilage cells from an area of the bone that does not carry weight. These cells are cultured and multiplied in laboratory over a 3- to 5-week period. In second step, the newly grown cells are implanted through an open surgical procedure, or arthrotomy.
  • Osteochondral auto-graft transplantation: in this procedure, healthy cartilage (graft) is taken from non-weight-bearing areas and transferred to a damaged area of the knee. The graft is taken as a cylindrical plug of cartilage and underlying bone. Then the graft is matched with the damaged area and transplanted into place. This leaves a smooth cartilage surface in the joint. Transplantation may be performed using a single plug or by mosaicplasty where multiple plugs are used. The technique is used for patients with small areas of cartilage damage because of the limited availability of the healthy cartilage from the same joint.
  • Osteochondral allograft transplantation: During this technique tissue graft is taken from a cadaver donor, known as allograft and is used to repair the damaged cartilage. Allograft may be used if the cartilage defect is too large for an auto-graft.
  • Meniscal Transplant: In this procedure a healthy meniscus is taken from a donor from the blood bank and transplanted into the area where the torn and damaged meniscus was removed.