Meniscus

Can stem cell therapy repair and regenerate cartilage inside your knee

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Marc Darrow MD,JD

Stem cell therapy works in a multi-factorial way. Stem cells repair, stem cells regenerate, and stem cells communicate. Communication is one of the key but less understood functions of stem cell therapy. In this communication aspect, newly introduced stem cells (those introduced in stem cell therapy injections) can mobilize stem cells already in your knee to jump start a new repair cycle for degenerative and acute injury damage.

In 2011, doctors at the University of Aberdeen published research in the journal Arthritis and rheumatism that provided the first evidence that resident stem cells in the knee joint synovium underwent proliferation (multiplied) and chondrogenic differentiation (made themselves into cartilage cells) following injury. (1) This paper, presenting the idea that stem cells in an injured knee increased in numbers in preparation of healing has been cited by more than 68 medical studies.

One of the more recent of these 68 papers is a June 2019 study (2) in which researchers suggest that in both rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative arthritis, communication between the native cells in the damage knee causes an increase of stem cells found in the synovial fluid.

A new study in The journal of knee surgery,(3) May 2020 noted that synovial fluid-derived stem cell population increase exponentially in patients with joint injury or disease, pointing to a potential use as a biomarker or as a treatment of some orthopaedic disorders.

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Stem Cell Therapy Alternative For Meniscus Surgery

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Marc Darrow MD,JD

Many people today are exploring meniscus surgery alternatives. One reason is that they may be on a waiting list to get the surgery. Another is that they have been doing research and are not absolutely convinced that meniscus surgery will help them anyway.

Meniscus repair surgery, opinion as of 2020: “in the knees without the meniscus, the impact and load are three times higher.”

A 2020 study in The archives of bone and joint surgery (1) offers an updated opinion on meniscus surgery. Here are some points brought up by the surgeon researchers.
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Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy for Partial Meniscus Tears

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Marc Darrow MD,JD

Even before it became more challenging to get a meniscus tear surgery, people contacted me to see if our treatments of stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma therapy could help them avoid arthroscopic knee surgery. More questions came from the people who were told that they would need total removal of the meniscus or meniscectomy.

I am going to focus this article on the use of Platelet Rich Plasma injections for meniscus tears and repairs. For stem cell therapy, please see my companion article: Stem cell therapy for meniscus tears.

Here is a research study from August 2019 (1), In the introduction of the study, the research team introduced its readers to the understanding of how Platelet Rich Plasma injections can help people with meniscus tears.
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