Ricardo E. Colberg, M.D.
What is osteoarthritis?
- Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide.
- Osteoarthritis is the #1 cause of disability in the United States.
- It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wear down over time, and the condition gradually worsens.
- Osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, but the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips & spine.
Is there a cure for osteoarthritis?
- No, there is no known cure for osteoarthritis. However, staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and other treatments may slow the progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.
- The standard treatment of early OA is conservative treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and cortisone injections.
- Since there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, the key is to slow the progression.
- At Andrews Sports Medicine, We provide a variety of treatments for osteoarthritis that will not only eliminate the pain but also restore function and allow our patients to return to an active and rewarding life.
Has the paradigm shift changed the patient population you are seeing?
Yes. This used to be a condition that was typically associated with older patients, but with the advances in technology, we can now detect the arthritis in patients in their 30’s & 40’s. So we are able to help these patients before the condition worsens and severely affects their day-to-day activities.
Like any disease, early diagnosis and treatment that emphasize the repair of the damaged tissue minimizes complications later on in life.
I understand regenerative medicine is now playing a large role in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Please explain.
Yes, regenerative medicine is becoming a more viable treatment for many of our patients. The purpose of regenerative medicine with regards to osteoarthritis is to restore the natural environment of the joint. We can use the body’s own natural components for healing or we can use medications to achieve the same.
- There are essentially 3 generations of regenerative medicine treatments for osteoarthritis:
- 1st level – The gel shot. This is called hyaluronate. It is essentially a synthetic version of your joint fluid that helps lubricate the joint in order to decrease friction, inflammation and pain. This has been in use for over ten years now.
- The next level, or 2nd generation of treatment, is a procedure called PRP, which stands for Platelet Rich Plasma.
- We have developed the technology were we can now extract the growth factors and stem cells that we all have in our own blood and get a concentrated dose. These are the same growth factors that stimulate your skin to heal when you cut your skin… 12 weeks later, you have new skin. PRP contains huge reservoirs of these growth factors, up to 7 times as many as in regular blood.
- With regards to osteoarthritis, the PRP decrease the inflammatory reaction in the joint, which is what is causing the pain, and helps the injured tissue scar down and heal. The best part of PRP is that we use your own blood, so there is minimal risk of complications.
Tell us about the 3rd generation of regenerative medicine for the treatment of osteoarthritis
3rd Generation - Bone Marrow Concentrate Therapy (BMC)
- BMC therapy is a promising non-surgical regenerative treatment used to treat various chronic orthopedic injuries, including moderate to severe osteoarthritis and tendon injures. BMC is a concentrate of regenerative stem cells obtained from the patient’s own bone marrow. This is the place in our body were we store the most stem cells.
- The physician removes a small amount of the patient’s bone marrow and and process it with a machine that generates a powerful concentrate of stem cells and growth factors, up to 15 times as many as our own blood. In the past, these types of cells were often very difficult and expensive to obtain from the body. With recent medical advancements, the cells can be easily obtained and the procedure can be done with minimal discomfort by a simple office procedure.