Renown Melbourne Sports Physician, Dr Julien Freitag has completed the world’s largest human study using stem cells to regrow damaged knee cartilage. —
The results involving 70 patients have shown some stunning results, with over 75% of patients seeing reduced knee pain, improved knee function, and even cartilage regrowth.
In one study, 30 osteoarthritis patients were given either stem cell treatment or a placebo, to see whether the cells halted damage or even rebuilt the knee cartilage. Regrowth occurred in almost half the subjects. Many of these people could walk pain-free for the first time in years.
A second study, on 40 patients with isolated cartilage lesions, such as osteochondritis dissecans, tried to determine whether the stem cells surgery could stop normal knee joint deterioration and the inevitable progression to arthritis.
At this time the full results are yet to be published.
However, the interim results showed that after one year, over 60% of patients had halved their knee pain and increased function. Even more astounding was that in many patients, cartilage began to regrow.
According to leading knee surgeon directory www.bestkneesurgeon.com.au this news could mean procedures such as cartilage repair, microfracture, and knee replacement surgery may become a thing of the past.
These results in Australia have mirrored similar results found by international knee surgeons.
What is most excited for Dr Freitag said Melbourne Stem Cell Centre’s research had demonstrated the greatest improvements in patients were with the most severe joint damage, where all cartilage was gone and there was bare bone. When interviewed by 7 News in Melbourne, Dr Freitag stated "Some patients have regrown a component of knee cartilage volume. In a progressive condition such as osteoarthritis, to see a reversal is very exciting."
How does the procedure work?
The doctor or knee specialist uses liposuction to harvest stem cells from the patient. It takes four weeks for the stem cells to multiply before being injected back into the damaged knee joint.
From there the stem cells regrow and repair the damaged knee cartilage tissue as well as other structures such as bone and ligaments.
Years of football injuries had left one patient, a Policeman, David Hutchinson, without any cartilage in his right knee. Previously a total knee replacement would have been his only option.
However in just eight weeks, stem cells have not only halted the 43-year-olds arthritis, David no longer needs knee surgery.
David reported that he can straighten his leg again now, which previously he could not, due to pain and restriction. He can walk pain-free and now believes he can put off knee replacement surgery for another 20 years.
At around $8,000, the procedure is expensive and not covered by Private Health Insurance or Medicare, however with continued research, hopefully, this will change in time, so more knee pain sufferers can undergo this treatment to and delay or even prevent knee surgery.
Name: Ben Hancock
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Organization: Best Knee Surgeon Directory Australia
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