Alternative for Artificial Knee Replacement, the Bioprosthesis

Artificial Knee Replacements are done at the rate of over 500,000 per year in the United States. They are most often done in people above the age of 60.

This costly, sometimes painful and short-lived (on average 10-15 years) solution can be avoided or postponed for many years in many cases with the knee bioprothesis.

The leading diagnosis for these patients is osteoarthritis/arthritis of the knee, which in general is a normal aging process. Of course, for the athlete this is brought on not so much by aging as the high frequency and excessive forces repeatedly placed on the joint.

In cases with knee arthrosis or arthritis, the osteophytes, growing at the foot of the femur and the head of tibia are a result of sanding away the knee cartilage until there is bone-on-bone contact, therefore requiring a knee replacement. This leaves the patient in great deal of pain as the weight of the body is pressing on the bone-to-bone connection of the knee when standing, and even greater pain when walking or running.

While the results of many artificial knee replacements are good, this traumatic surgery, where both the foot of the femur and the head of the tibia are sawed off, can be avoided in many cases with the use of the Bio Prosthesis. This is a particular good strategy for younger patients, so that they can avoid a metal-and-plastic revision surgery later in life, which does not have good success rates. It is also a good strategy for older patient populations, because of the reduced trauma and the probability of more successful revisions. A revision of the bioprosthesis, which can last about the same length of time as a metal-and-plastic prosthesis, can be done with another Bio Prosthesis or conventional metal-and-plastic prosthesis. Theoretically, a Bio Prosthesis revision is endless. This is not the case with metal-and-plastic knee revisions.

In a bioprosthesis procedure, which is an endoscopic procedure, the bone surface in the area of the damage is remodeled allowing existing cartilage to grow and preventing further damage. Sometimes additional procedures must be added. One option is stem cell therapy where patients┬┤ stem cells from the bone marrow are concentrated and distributed onto the cartilage defect in the same operation in order to stimulate cartilage regeneration. The newest technology developed for stem cell harvesting is extraction from abdominal fatty tissue and not the hip. These stem cells also help to promote growth and repair of the cartilage.

Don't believe stem cells can happen with orthopedic injuries? Ask Kobie Bryan, Peyton Manning, and Terril Owens.

In many cases the alignment of the leg must be changed to allow the cartilage to grow. Temporarily, plates may be inserted to facilitate this realignment and removed some months later.

The patient must stay off the knee for about 4-8 weeks and exercise on non-load bearing equipment. This is done to allow the cartilage regrowth to occur.