If you’ve been told you need a total knee replacement, it is important to seek a second opinion from a non-surgical orthopedic doctor to explore if alternatives to knee replacement could help eliminate or delay the need for surgery altogether.
A total joint replacement of the knee is an invasive surgical procedure that involves cutting down and removing the bones that make up your knee and replacing the bone with metal and plastic components. While a knee replacement may be the only option for certain people, most patients with knee arthritis pain can be successfully treated with non-surgical alternatives to joint replacement.
While implant/prosthesis technology has improved over the years, there is still a limited lifespan for knee replacement components. How long a knee replacement will last is dependent on many aspects of your lifestyle, including activity level, age and weight.
Some non-surgical alternatives to knee surgery include:
- Anti-inflammatory supplements
- Oral anti-inflammatories or other medications
- Steroids or cortisone injections to reduce pain and inflammation
- Viscosupplementation — gel shots that act as lubrication for the knee
- Orthotics and bracing
- Physical therapy programs
- Regenerative medicine, including stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma injections
Can Stem Cell Therapy be an Alternative to Knee Replacement?
Yes, stem cell therapy has been proven effective at treating chronic conditions like arthritis that may otherwise require surgery.
In fact, Dr. Steve Meyers in Fort Worth has used stem cell therapy to successfully help patients who were previously scheduled for a knee replacement avoid surgery altogether. This includes patients with bone-on-bone arthritis who had been told surgery was their only option. By using stem cells harvested from the patient’s own belly fat and injecting the cells into an arthritic joint, most patients achieve a notable decrease in knee pain, increase in function and an increase in knee cartilage thickness.