Innovation is crucial in the field of medicine, but it must be thoroughly tested and proven valuable before being incorporated into our range of medical and surgical solutions for arthritis treatment. Unfortunately, history has shown that most “promising new technologies” either provide no benefits or, worse, can be harmful. Only time and extensive testing can reveal the true value and safety of cutting-edge technologies.
Most patients rightfully expect medical and surgical treatments to be supported by gold-standard scientific studies. It is advisable for patients to steer clear of treatments that lack scientific evidence and come with a hefty price tag, especially if they are not covered by insurance. This is particularly true for treatments that have been available for several years, as sufficient time has passed for research on their effectiveness. Eventually, the once “new and promising” treatment must be evaluated as “tried and disappointing.”
Two examples of such treatments are PRP (platelet-rich plasma)* and stem cell** injections, which, despite claims to the contrary, have been proven to provide no benefits for knee or hip arthritis treatment. At best, these treatments might create a strong placebo effect but do not actually restore joint health.
Regrettably, there are numerous medical treatments offered by physicians, surgeons, chiropractors, and other practitioners that lack sufficient scientific evidence to support their claims. Buyers should exercise caution when considering these treatments, as they can be expensive, costing thousands of dollars, and are often not covered by insurance. Insurance companies conduct thorough investigations over several years to determine the effectiveness of treatments.
While there may be a strong temptation to offer these unproven modalities in order to boost revenue, we believe that prioritizing proof of efficacy is crucial. It is essential to thoroughly investigate before investing in such treatments to avoid the risk of being misled.
At our center, we focus on an approach to arthritis treatment that adheres to clinical guidelines. We employ medications and techniques with a proven track record of success and solid scientific backing. By embracing medical and surgical innovations that add value, we have become leaders in same-day total joint replacement through the A.V.A.T.A.R program.
*Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is derived from blood that is spun down to concentrate blood cells called platelets. Platelets contain “growth factors” that are believed to have physiological effects on metabolic processes. However, the actual quantities of these “growth factors” and their biological and metabolic responses remain undefined when injected into a joint. .
It is hypothesized that when these growth factors are injected into human joints, they may have a beneficial effect. Unfortunately, no scientific studies have demonstrated such an effect. To illustrate, just as knowing that gasoline makes a car accelerate does not mean that pouring it over the car’s engine will make it go faster. Injecting PRP into a joint will not boost healing of arthritis or other conditions.
** Stem cells are primitive cells that can mutate into more mature cells with specific differentiated structures and functions in certain environments within the body. It is hypothesized that injecting stem cells into a joint will result in a complex sequence of steps that transform them from primitive cells to mature, complex cartilage tissues. For this to happen, the injected cells must navigate a complicated sequence of steps : the cells must survive intact, then migrate to the damaged surfaces, adhere to the surface and mutate into mature cartilage cells, manufacture the constituents of mature cartilage, replicate the normal complex structure of cartilage tissue and be durable enough to resist abrasive damage. Unfortunately, there is currently no scientific evidence that this sequence of events actually occurs. If it did, it would be easy to obtain and demonstrate proof of the process, but no proof exists.