Causes of Degeneration of the Knee and Surrounding Structures
The knee is the largest joint in the body, connecting the thigh and leg bones. Our knees are extremely vulnerable to injury and damage because we use them with nearly every leg movement we make. Sprains, tears, and bruising of the knees can occur because of daily wear and tear on the joint, as well as a host of other reasons. No matter the cause or causes, however, it is because our knees take such a beating that we ought to care for them in the best possible ways.
While a total knee replacement (TKR) is often suggested as treatment for impaired knee function, no matter the cause, it is important to note that there are a host of dangerous risks and complications that can result from a total arthroplasty, or TKR.
With the advent of stem cell therapy, there are even more alternatives and options to total knee replacements and surgical, restorative care. According to the Journal of Arthritis Research and Therapy, the transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) into the damaged areas of the knee and its surrounding structures, appears to successfully generate cartilage—like tissue that assimilates into the natural tissue present. MSC transplantation requires fewer surgical procedures than other treatments, is less invasive, and can be used as an effective approach even in the presence of extensive joint or cartilage damage. It is hoped that stem cell treatment will one day be the standard by which other restorative procedures are measured.
While total knee arthroplasty is a procedure laden with risks, pitfalls, and significant long term orthopedic limitations, it may be warranted in extreme medical situations. Prevention of the conditions that lead to knee and cartilage degeneration is always the best way to go, but if you are beyond that point, it is important for you to know that there are alternatives procedures and therapies you can pursue.