Regenerative Medicine Applications In Orthopaedic Care 2022

Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Traditional treatments like joint fusion can limit mobility. An alternative procedure called ankle distraction arthroplasty has been gaining some traction, but how well does it hold up in the long term? 

A recent study by Greenfield et al. (2019) investigated this very question. They conducted a survival analysis of ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis. Their findings suggest that this procedure may be a viable option for some patients. 

Key takeaways from the study: 

  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty showed promising results, with an 84% survival rate at 5 years. This is better than some previously reported outcomes. 
  • The study also identified factors that can influence the success of the procedure. Avascular necrosis of the talus (bone death) was associated with a lower survival rate. Additionally, sex may play a role, with the study suggesting potential gender differences in long-term outcomes. 

What this means for patients: 

Ankle distraction arthroplasty offers a potential option for preserving joint mobility in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. This study provides valuable data for surgeons and patients to consider when making treatment decisions. 

Important to note: 

  • This was a retrospective study, meaning researchers analyzed past data. More robust research designs are needed to confirm these findings. 
  • The study involved a relatively small group of patients. Larger studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. 

Overall, this research suggests that ankle distraction arthroplasty may be a valuable tool for treating ankle osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to solidify its place as a standard treatment option. 

ReferenceGreenfield, S., Matta, K. M., McCoy, T. H., Rozbruch, S. R., & Fragomen, A. (2019). Ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis: a survival analysis. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 14(2), 65.,and%2037%25%20within%205%20years


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual treatment options.

Image Credit: The Mandarin

“The cheerful mind perseveres, and the strong mind hews its way through a thousand difficulties.” – Swami Vivekananda

Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

You have always known of your body’s ability to heal itself. During varying phases of life, you or your children may have injured yourself. Children, for instance, love to play and occasionally may fall and get scrapes on their knees or elbows. As the wound is cleaned, dressed and bandaged, the healing process of the skin occurs and within a few weeks complete healing has occurred. 

There are various constant regenerative processes that take place within the body that enable our health to be maintained. The body is continuously generating new cells that replace the existing cells. Two critical enablers to health are food, and physical activity. As our lifestyle and age changes, the body’s healing mechanisms may often be reduced. Medical scientists have identified that certain key contributors catalyze the regenerative properties of the body. The presence of these cells restore life force and healing to the body. 

Various body tissues such as bone and cartilage have been regrown via the utilization of regenerative medicine. In the orthopaedic field, patient ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints have been restored. Prevention is actually better than cure, and in many instances patients did not have to undergo surgery after their regenerative medicine treatments. 

How has regenerative medicine changed orthopaedic treatments? 

As the practice of medicine evolves, there are some marvels being incorporated into almost all specialities, including the orthopaedic realm.  Medicine, like all fields, does have its current limitations, and with the advent of new technologies, it is possible to improve the standard of healthcare that is being offered to the current patient pool. 

Bioengineering methods, and the utilization of regenerative therapies such as stem cells are the next generation of orthopaedic treatments. Growth factors are also incorporated into the treatment of conditions such as arthritis. Bone treatment is now being enhanced with materials generated in a material science lab. Via the synthesis of a material that actually matches the physical properties of bone, these materials can be implanted into the body in a seamless fashion. Transplant medicine is benefitting from the fact that via certain critical biological procedures, new organs or even veins can be grown for an individual, and implanted into the body in order to integrate with the existing mechanism. 

As the mechanism of stem cell proliferation in the body is understood, healing of the body can be further enabled. Via external injections or infusions of stem cells into the body, healing can be restored to a site. In the regenerative realm, researchers are studying how stem cells can be used to replace, repair, reprogram and even renew diseased cells. 

Stem Cell Therapy and Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most prevalent foot and ankle degenerative conditions. Depending on which stage of the arthritis severity curve you are on, you may be the perfect candidate for stem cell treatment. If your pain point is high enough, you’ll be better able, with the help of your orthopaedic surgeon, to find a path that will result in the best restorative treatment. 

How does Stem Cell Therapy Heal My Arthritis?

With the advent of ortho-biologics, arthritis treatments with the facilitation of cartilage restoration is now a modern-day possibility. With options ranging from total joint replacement, to distraction arthroplasty, stem cell therapy and growth factors there are a myriad of evolving technologies and minimally invasive methods that can heal the arthritic site.

How do Stem Cells or Growth Factors Regenerate the Body? 

The stem cell has long been identified as the regenerative life force in our bodies. With their ability to divide and duplicate, as well as generate new and different stem cells that are relevant to a healing site, it is possible to regenerate cartilage cells and even bone cells. This is great news for the arthritic foot. Over time, the joint can wear away, and with the ability to rebuild it naturally, it will save the individual time from having to go through processes like harvesting. 

Additional Regenerative Medicine Applications: 

Additional utilization of stem cells include applications such as tissue engineering and biomaterials and medical devices and artificial organs. Tissue engineering is a strategy that involves the insertion of biologically active scaffolds. The scaffold provides a bridge for the new tissue to form on. With appropriate physical therapy applications, the body eventually is able to regenerate functional engineered tissues. 

Within the body, organs do actually fail, and the predominant method that is emerging to treat this condition is to grow a new organ. Originally, organ transfers were often relied on to supply new organs and the process for incorporating the donor organ into the body is a very complex one that requires the utilization of immunosuppressive drugs, and the post surgical risks. With grown organs, the risks associated with donor organs are minimized, as they are from the patient’s own cells. As science and technology evolves, it will be possible to facilitate various orthopaedic care requirements, via the utilization of regenerative medicine. 

Reference Articles: 

Mayo Clinic Transplant Center:

Cartilage Restoration:

Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis:

Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy for Foot and Ankle Pain:

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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