The Latest Advances and Innovations in Knee Surgeries
Knee Injury is a Persistent Threat to All Athletes
All athletes know that one of the biggest threats to their competitive career is a knee injury. Knee injuries are one of the most common of all sports-related injuries. Everyone from professionals to high school athletes to people looking to live an active lifestyle knows in the back of their minds that a painful knee injury could strike at any time.
But...Surgical Advances are Progressing at a Fast Rate
However, while knee injuries such as an ACL tear was once the end of any athletic career, most people are now able to bounce back. But, it often takes more than a year to get the knee back in shape for elite-level training and performance.
Recent medical advances are now making knee surgeries less invasive and greatly shortening the recovery time. And the advances are happening at ever-increasing intervals
Radio Frequency Treatment
With some knee conditions surgery is not needed to heal the tear, but to heal the pain. With some knee issues, the only way to handle the pain is strong prescription drugs or invasive surgery.
But, now a new FDA approved procedure offers a new path. Doctors can now treat chronic knee pain by inserting specialized needles into the knee that send out a particular radiofrequency.
This radio frequency targets the nerve cells in the knee and “freezes” them. The radio waves basically keep the nerves from reporting the pain reflex back to the brain.
This allows people to improve their quality of life and be free of opioids. This allows patients to forego invasive surgery until it is absolutely necessary.
Traditional style ACL surgery is brutal. The reconstructive surgery required a tendon graft and that holes be drilled into the bone. The reason for this was that it was thought that ACL tears couldn’t be stitched back together and left to heal.
One former engineering student turned knee surgeon felt that there had to be a better way. Dr. Martha Murray has invented a new procedure that offers great promise and will soon be undergoing human trials.
Dr. Murry invented a sponge scaffold that can be surgically implanted around the ACL injury and helps the tendon to heal.
The surgery is much less invasive than the traditional approach and it allows for the patient to be active in a much shorter time.
ACL Stem Cell Procedure
It seems like stem cells are always in the medical news in one way or another. A new stem cell procedure is currently being used to treat both full and partial ACL tears.
With this stem cell procedure, instead of opening up the body, the stem cells are inserted into target areas through a simple needle.
The stem cells trigger the regrowth and healing of the tendon.
The most incredible part of this therapy is it allows athletes to return much faster to training and full competition than surgical treatments.
This one is interesting! Swiss doctors have developed a successful treatment for knee cartilage injuries. The issues with many cartilage injuries are that the injury contributes to the rapid development of many different degenerative joint conditions. Before this newest technique, doctors often struggled to repair the cartilage.
The Swiss doctors have successfully transplanted cartilage from the nose to the knee. These transplants are still in the early trial stages, but they are very promising. In a small trial, patients underwent the procedure and two years later these patients reported reduced knee pain as well as improved knee function and mobility. These findings can be found at The Lancet.
Prevention and Patience Pay Dividends
While no athlete wants to suffer a knee injury, it is exciting that so much research is being done on this issue. These new advances make soon make major knee surgery a thing of the past.
However, even with these innovative treatments, athletes still will need to make sure they are taking proper care of their knee as they recover. This means keeping it protected, stable, and clean.
The better care you take of your knees during the recovery process, the faster you can get back out into competition. And the longer you wait to have that invasive knee surgery, the more likely you are to receive the most up to date procedure and benefit from all those knee surgeons and patients who came before you, enabling these advancements to take place.
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