Regenerative Injections: A Nonsurgical Alternative to Joint Reconstruction or Replacement

Doctor injecting treatment into patients knee

Longevità Medical exists to offer patients nonsurgical options to optimize aging, regenerate vitality, and live younger. One of the ways that we achieve this is through non-operative orthopedics—an alternative to joint reconstruction or replacement for our Rochester, NY, area patients. We aim to provide a comprehensive, personalized assessment and plan of care in the treatment of osteoarthritis, and acute/chronic athletic injuries of the shoulder, hip, and knee.

What do you use to treat arthritis and other joint pain?

We perform joint injections using ultrasound guidance. These include corticosteroid, viscosupplementation (gel), BMC (stem cells), and PRP (platelet-rich plasma).

Prior to treatment, we review an x-ray of the affected joint to assess the appropriate non-operative treatment options.

How do regenerative injections work? What can I expect at my appointment?

Corticosteroid injections can help relieve joint pain by decreasing inflammation in and around a joint. If there is fluid in/around the joint, an ultrasound may be utilized to drain the joint. A topical or injectable anesthetic will be applied prior to the injection to minimize discomfort.

  • Viscosupplementation (Monovisc, Orthovisc, Euflexxa, Synvisc-1, Synojoynt): These specialized injections act as a viscoelastic supplement, or a replacement, for synovial fluid in human knee joints. The gel-like substance is administered with one to three injections (depending on the product) into the osteoarthritic joint. The most common site of injection is the knee, although it has been used in the hip and shoulder. It typically takes 4 to 8 weeks to reach maximal benefit but can provide 6 or more months of relief. These injections can be repeated as frequently as every 6 months. The procedure is similar to a corticosteroid injection and can be performed under ultrasound guidance.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma: Platelets are a rich source of proteins called growth factors, which promote healing. Any time your tissues are damaged or diseased, platelets migrate to the area, stimulate new cell growth, and accelerate tissue repair. Your blood will be drawn and spun in a special centrifuge. The targeted area is numbed, and using ultrasound imaging to precisely guide the needle, the doctor injects the PRP into the damaged tissue or joint.
    After they’re injected, the platelets recruit regenerative cells to the area, increase the regenerative cell’s effectiveness, and reduce inflammation and pain. The growth factors in regenerative cells are also responsible for many aspects of healing. For instance, they increase blood vessel growth and prevent degeneration of soft tissues. The procedure takes approximately 1 to 2 hours.
  • Bone Marrow Aspirate (BMC): BMC is a procedure in which the doctor will take some of your own body’s bone marrow, concentrated regenerative cells, in an FDA-approved device and inject them into the area(s) of injury with ultrasound guidance to ensure exact placement. The concentration of regenerative cells works directly at the site of injury or degenerated tissue to increase the healing potential tenfold. The procedure takes approximately 2 to 3 hours.

What is the downtime for regenerative injections?

The most common side effect with a viscosupplementation injection is pain or swelling at the injection site, a sensation of fullness, stiffness, or heaviness that improves with movement. It is advised to avoid strenuous activity the day you of injection. Patients may resume normal activities and exercise 2 to 3 days after cortisone or viscosupplementation injections.

After a PRP or BMC procedure, some patients experience a low-grade fever, swelling of the injected area, body aches, and fatigue for the first 72 hours. Rest and routine daily activities only are advised for the first two weeks post-PRP and BMC treatments.

How long do regenerative injections last?

Corticosteroid injections generally provide at least 3 months of benefit and should not be provided more than 3 to 4 times per year.

For PRP or BMC injections, the average patient requires 1to 2 treatments. In rare cases, a patient may require 3. Treatments are usually spaced 12 to 16 weeks apart.

What are the benefits of regenerative injections?

Regenerative orthopedics provides a nonsurgical alternative with faster recovery than invasive surgical procedures such as knee, hip, or shoulder reconstruction or replacement. At our Rochester-area practice, a thorough assessment and customized plan are provided to each patient, which may include physical therapy, acupuncture, orthotics, imaging, or injections. Patients can significantly benefit from non-operative advancements with less downtime. If an injection is advised, it can effectively reduce pain, inflammation, restore and enhance mobility, and potentially halt the progression of osteoarthritis while improving a patient’s quality of life.

Learn more at your consultation.

For more information about regenerative injections, please request a consultation online, or call (585) 244-1506.

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