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What is Orthobiologic Treatment for a Meniscus Tear?

Orthobiologics are products manufactured from biological substances that are naturally present in the body. These products are used to repair the damage to the musculoskeletal tissues like muscles, bones, and tendons. The meniscus is a c-shaped cartilage present between the shinbone and thighbone that act as a shock absorber and helps in stabilizing the knee. A tear in the meniscus may result in stiffness, pain, and swelling. Orthobiologics may be used only as a conservative treatment to stimulate healing of the meniscus tear or after meniscal surgery to enhance surgical outcomes.

Indications of Orthobiologic Treatment for Meniscus Tear

Orthobiologics are usually recommended when joint replacement is not advised and when conservative treatment methods like rest, medications, and physical therapy do not relieve the symptoms. Some of the causes of meniscal tears include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Automobile accidents
  • Fall from heights
  • Twisted knee
  • Joint damage
  • Strenuous exercise

Types of Orthobiologic Treatment for Meniscus Tear

Some of the common types of orthobiologics include:

  • Cell therapy: This technique uses specialized cells that are obtained from the marrow of the pelvic bone. This produces proteins and growth factors that help in reducing pain and inflammation and promote musculoskeletal repair.
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): PRP is derived from blood after it has been processed into platelets and white blood cells and improves healing and reduces inflammation. This is directly injected into the damaged tissue during an outpatient procedure or after surgery.

Procedure for Orthobiologic Treatments for a Meniscus Tear

The procedure for orthobiologic treatment for a meniscus tear includes the following steps:

  • The area from where the cells are to be harvested is cleaned and numbed.
  • Using a special needle and syringe, fluid containing the cells is drawn from the source.
  • The fluid obtained is then spun in a centrifuge machine for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • This process helps obtain a concentrated layer of the specialized cells to be used.
  • The skin over the injection site will be sterilized and numbed with local anesthesia.
  • The injection containing orthobiologics will be inserted into the affected knee and an ultrasound will be used that helps to guide the needle to the correct location.

Post-Procedure Care

Post-procedure care will include the following instructions:

  • You will most likely be able to return to work the next day following your procedure.
  • You will need to take it easy and avoid any load-bearing activities for at least two weeks following your procedure.
  • You will need to refrain from taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a while as this can affect the healing process of your body.
  • You may apply ice to the injection site for comfort.
  • Rest, elevation and medicines are recommended to relieve pain and swelling.
  • A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor your overall progress.

Risks and Complications

Orthobiologic treatment for a meniscus tear is a relatively safe procedure; however, as with any procedure, there may be some complications, such as:

  • Infection
  • Soreness at the injection site
  • Nerve damage
  • Immune reaction

Advantages of Orthobiologic Treatments

The advantages of the orthobiologic treatments include:

  • Simple, minimally invasive outpatient procedure
  • No hospitalization
  • No risk of rejection if obtained from the patient
  • Faster healing and long-lasting recovery