How can arthrosis be treated? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the individual treatment options? What is the best option for me? Together with your physician you will find out and take the right decision. However, it is good to know all options, as your health and mobility are at stake.
Pharmaceutical and conservative treatment
If the patient suffers from painful joints and discovers signs of arthrosis, the first steps are conservative medication treatment, physical therapy, physiotherapy as well as orthopaedic aids for joint relief. Although drugs provide a temporary pain relief, they cause irritations to the stomach and cardiovascular system and are thus not suitable as long-term solution.
Therapeutic exercise is a good option, as it strengthens the muscles by light load (e. g. swimming) and relieves the joint. Thus, the patient's mobility preserves the patient's natural requirements required for stabilisation and regeneration of the cartilage surface.
However, the patient also receives medication and physical treatment to relieve pain during therapeutic exercise. Thus, pain as a warning signal of the body is ignored or dampened.
Unfortunately, arthrosis is neither based on chronic joint degeneration, nor has it hereditary or even traumatic causes. Therefore, medication treatment is only a first short-term solution to treat pain and loss of motion and cannot eliminate these restrictions. Whereas therapeutic exercise only present a relief in case of a mild cartilage defect.
Hyaluronic acid injections
This treatment option is partially suitable for patients in the early stage of joint arthrosis. Hyaluronic acid acts as a lubricant between the different joint parts and is naturally produced by the healthy joint.
The degeneration of the cartilage surfaces shall thus be reduced or even stopped by hyaluronic acid. This substance has a high density and is also used for the treatment of joint degeneration in the spine. A clear disadvantage is that intra-articular injections present the risk of a joint infection, especially as a long-term indication is required over a longer period of time.
Transplantation (ACI, autologous chondrocyte implantation)
Chondrocyte transplantation uses the patient's own cells and is suitable for larger cartilage defects. ACI is certainly a good treatment option for young and active patients with large cartilage defects, but is still an expensive procedure. Treatment comprises two procedures: During the first procedure, cartilage and stem cells are removed. During the second procedure, externally cultivated fibre cartilage is transplanted. For this reason, this treatment option is only suitable for a few patients in Germany and should only be performed in specialist hospitals. The sustainability of the method is difficult to assess and often of varying degrees of success.
Joint replacement - Endoprosthesis (THA, total hip arthroplasty)
Implantation of an endoprosthesis should only be considered as the last treatment option for arthrosis patients. Despite their longevity (between 7-10 years) and good functional results during normal activities as well as pain relief, the patient's natural bone substance plays a crucial role to achieve these treatment goals.
The older the patient's bone substance, the more implantation and durability are affected, as the bone becomes porous (osteoporosis) and provides less support. Implantation of a TEP can only be performed in hospital and requires postoperative medical treatment and rehabilitation. A good joint prosthesis should be nickel-free and made of high-quality materials, as from time to time postoperative allergies or intolerances are observed.
Minimally-invasive surgery (MIC) by means of shaping or Pridie drilling
Microfracturing is a good treatment option for patients with smaller defects. A microfracture creates small holes in the surface layer of the bone to stimulate stem cells to form regenerative cell tissue promoting growth of new fibre cartilage. Since only few stem cells are reached in this region, the prospect of success is often only short-lived, so that the method may have to be repeated.
Difference between Microfracturing and Implantation of carbon fibre pins!
Implantation of carbon fibre pins
In contrast to the other treatment options, carbon fibre pins or so-called repair pins have a significantly wider range of application. They are not only suitable for medium and larger cartilage defects, but also show good results in patients with multiple defects or after previous failed treatment or residual lesions.
As the implantation of carbon fibre pins is normally combined with microfracturing (turbo microfracturing), this method presents the same application advantages.
It can be performed on an outpatient basis and presents a viable alternative for every orthopaedic surgeon specializing in arthroscopic surgery. It is also more cost-efficient and long-term solution.
Furthermore, the implantation of the carbon fibre pins still works when MF and ACI have failed. So why not immediately choose the safe and more successful alternatives?
Talk to your orthopaedic specialist and get optimal advice about our CHOPIN® implants.