Cartilage damage and degeneration can cause extreme discomfort and impairs a patients’ quality of life. According to the Arthritis Foundation, The FDA recently approved the Matrix Associated Chondrocyte Implantation (MACI) treatment, which can heal early stage cartilage damage. In the interview with Farshid Guilak, PhD, by the Arthritis Foundation, degenerated cartilage tissue is similar to a road with potholes, and the MACI treatment “fills” the holes, before they become rugged and need “repaving”. After initial examination, the doctor removes a small piece of affected cartilage, cultures/grows the tissue with medium for several weeks, and implants the new, healthy matrix back to the joint. The biggest advantage of MACI is its use of the patient’s own tissue. However, there are several limitations. First, MACI only benefits patients who are younger than fifty years old with early stage of cartilage degeneration. Second, harvesting the cartilage tissue may cause damage to the joint. Therefore, further research is needed to confirm the efficacy of such treatment.
Are there other alternative treatments for a painful joint?
Yes! Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a non-invasive, all-natural, as well as promising treatment for injury, degeneration, and chronic pain of the joints. Instead of cutting through the cartilage, PRP involves drawing your own blood. The bloods platelets and plasma are isolated and concentrated releasing powerful proteins called growth factors into inflamed and painful joints. The whole process takes no longer than two hours, and generally allows for a brief activity so you can resume regular activities asap. Additionally, the Bone Marrow Stem Cell (BMC) therapy may also help with painful cartilage, joints, and other damaged tissue. The therapy leverages the body’s own healing power through stem cells that make regeneration possible. BMC is generally reserved for more severe or advanced conditions. At the Orthohealing Center, our physicians provide various customized treatment options that best help your condition. More and more research is being done to combat the epidemic of arthritis!