Regeneration and Rejuvenation: Regrowing Cartilage for a New You
When a salamander loses a limb or a tail, they can just regrow that part of their body. It may take a while, but sure enough that stump will regenerate back into a tail eventually. What a wonderful idea! If only our bodies could do that with commonly injured and worn parts.
Luckily, in recent years, something similar has been developed to help with cartilage regeneration. The cartilage in your joints will very quickly wear down, especially if you lead an active lifestyle. If your cartilage has broken down due to wear and tear, you can develop early osteoarthritis. This condition often leads to knee replacements, pain, and minimal mobility. But with forms of cartilage regeneration, your body can essentially regrow cartilage through surgery, injections, and physical therapy.
A Long Road to Recovery
Unfortunately, cartilage regeneration is a long road. Here we’ll walk you through the process.
After you are examined and found ready for treatment, it will begin via a drilling surgery. This microdrilling requires small holes to be made in the bone near the cartilage damage. This helps to stimulate the bone marrow, which then provides good conditions for the cartilage to heal.
On the first day, along with the surgery, you will receive your first injection. This injection contains plasma with stem cells that can help form cartilage and hyaluronic acid, which is one of the body’s building blocks in fats and cartilage. You will receive one injection every week for the first 5 weeks. Once you hit the 4 month mark, you will do another 3 weeks of injections; this 3 week period of injections will be repeated at the year mark as well.
An important part of this physical therapy is daily use of a CPM machine for the first 5 weeks. CPM stands for “continuous passive motion” and this therapy helps the body heal while reducing inflammation and retaining movement.
After you are mostly healed from the surgery around 4 months, you will keep regular physcial therapy appointments 2 times a week.
At 4, 12, and 18 months, you will receive an official clinic evaluation, including an MRI and an x-ray. At the 18 month mark, you will hopefully be completed with the process and your cartilage will be renewed and strengthened.