Can cartilage in joints be regenerated?
In the XXI century it is. In first place we should mention a disease called artrosis, this is simply joint pain which comes with physical aging. This pain can be diminished but not fully treated, therefore the patient would be able to live without any pain and have a good life quality.
The knees are the joints which are exposed the most because they are anatomically unstable and undergo excessive damage at any age as well as osteoarthritic in advanced ages.
In the last century the greatest advance was the possibility of using metallic prostheses in high risk surgeries. These wear off and damage and can result in painful symptoms for the patient in certain cases. In the current century the great advance is the possibility of regenerating damaged cartilage tissue with hyaline cartilage with the use of stem cells with a simple arthroscopic intervention.
Stem cells: extraction
Stem cells can be used when they are extracted from bone marrow or body fat. For the regeneration of the cartilage bone marrow is used due to its similarity and proximity, this is obtained during the same arthroscopic procedure.
Other techniques for obtaining stem cells in fat are not as effective for the regeneration of cartilage tissue because they are not of close similarity or lineage to bone tissue and would require a special treatment of the affected areas for them to work , therefore not regenerating tissue just by infiltration.
It is the beginning of a new era in joint diseases treatments that will continue to develop in the coming years, improving the purity and quantity of stem cells without making use of cell cultures which introduce some risk for the patient. Another procedure chosen by many patients before undergoing surgery are platelet growth factors infiltrations that, although they do not regenerate like the stem cells, it helps significantly in reducing pain and improves patients’ quality of life for more than a year.
Traumatologist, knee specialist.
Head of Traumatology services in Hospital General Universitario de Alicante