Biologic Joint Replacement: The Future of Joint Replacement Surgery

For traumatic and osteoarthritis, biologic joint replacements could be the wave of the future for surgery centers, said Kevin Stone, MD, The Stone Clinic at the 9th Annual Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference in Chicago on June 10.

Dr. Stone said the old school of thought for arthritis patients was to rest the knees until a knee replacement surgery was necessary, but now the thought is to exercise every day for an hour in order to remove pain but also improve the function of joints.

Depending on the state of meniscus, cartilage and other ligaments, there are simple non-surgical treatments that any patient with joint pain can utilize, Dr. Stone said. These include strength training, balance tests, biking, pool exercises, soft tissue mobilization and the proper nutrition of glucosamine, vitamin D, calcium and water.

However, if a joint is actually arthritic or in Stage II or III, surgeons can utilize stem cells paste grafting, meniscus allograft transplantation and general biologic joint replacement, Dr. Stone said.

For complete cartilage replacements, Dr. Stone said animals are the best source for biologic joint replacements because the supply is basically unlimited, and animal tissue, such as pig tissue, can have a lot of similarities to human tissue.

Dr. Stone said biologic replacements might be improved if researchers looked to large animals such as elephants and bears that support a lot of weight on their joints but still maintain a high level of fitness. Other advancements could include super biologics loaded with stem cells, and patients should still be encouraged to remain active, a proven tactic to prevent or relieve joint pain. 

Related Articles on Joint Replacement:
5 Points on Performing MAKOplasty in an ASC
5 Steps to Bring Total Joint Replacements Into Surgery Centers
5 New Developments in Orthopedics

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