Stem Cells Considered for Treatment of Torn Meniscus

A torn meniscus is a common ailment affecting thousands of individuals. The injury can occur as the result of nearly any type of activity, regardless of lifestyle. Whether you take a simple misstep or injure yourself during a professional-level athletic game, the resulting incapacity and pain can be devastating. As technology in our field grows, many doctors are exploring the use of stem cells for effective and less-invasive medical treatment.

The menisci are fibrocartilaginous, wedge-shaped discs located within the knees. They perform a number of important functions, including providing protection for the cartilage in the joint, absorbing shock, and aiding in the transfer of weight. A torn meniscus can cause chronic pain and incapacity. It is diagnosed through a physical exam and an MRI scan. Introductory treatment methods often include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. When more intense orthopedic treatment is called for, a meniscectomy is the usual course of action. Unfortunately, the side effects and risks associated with any invasive surgery make it a less-than-desirable option in many cases.

In exciting news, stem cell therapy has now successfully been used to reduce knee pain that results from a torn meniscus. A newly published study follows the case of an individual with a torn meniscus, and represents the first such-documented news of its kind. The patient received injections of his own mesenchymal stem cells, platelet-rich plasma, and hyaluronic acid. The torn meniscus successfully repaired itself as a result of the treatments and the patient experienced a significant reduction in knee pain. This exciting success story supports findings in many other isolated, yet frequent medical issues, like the torn meniscus, and shows the potential for stem cell therapy as the future of modern medical care.