Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to restore functionality of a joint. The most common reasons for joint surgery are Osteoarthritis and injury. Besides the surgeries to repair injuries like a torn ACL, the most common types of joint surgery are hip replacement, knee replacement, and shoulder replacement, though others are performed.
Whether you’ve experienced a tear or just deterioration from medical conditions and years of use, joint surgery involves some level of biological replacement. “Replacement parts” come from the following places:
- Autograft (from own patient)
- Allograft (from a cadaver)
- Xenografts (from animals)
- Synthetics (biogradable, permanent prostheses, and ligament augmentation devices)
“Cancer may kill you, but when you look at the numbers, arthritis ruins more lives. Assuming you live a long life, there’s a 50 percent chance you’ll develop arthritis” – TED Talks: The bio-future of joint replacement.
While there’s nothing quite like “original equipment,” we may soon have other options to repair and replace joints in surgery. Two striking examples are Kevlar-based cartilage, and 3D printed cartilage.
Developed by researchers at the University of Michigan, this “Kevlartilage” may prove to do what other synthetic options have been unable to do. Currently available synthetics are either strong or mimic the water content (80%) of organic cartilage – but not both. This water content is crucial to transport the nutrients that cells need to thrive. Currently available hydrogels do provide enough water content but lack the strength and durability needed.
3D printed cartilage
A Swedish team of researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and Sahlgrenska Academy have used a 3D bioprinter to create hydrogels out of human-derived cartilage cells. This technology is still far from creating body parts, but by utilizing stem cells, the hydrogel (which had been implanted) not only began to have a cartilage appearance but formed blood vessels.
An ounce of prevention/maintenance
While each of these technologies is both fascinating and promising for joint surgery applications, none has yet been approved for your joints. Whether you’re living the active life you want or are relatively sedentary, you can benefit from knee-saving advice.
Weight loss not only prevents extra stress and wear on your knees, but it has also been shown to reduce knee pain 20 percent for every 10 pounds lost in arthritic knee patients. It is important to stretch even if you’re sedentary, and don’t skip exercising within your limits even if you have structural problems.
The flexibility and muscle control from these activities are very important. Proper shoes and proper posture will help prevent knee pain too. Finally, taking a quality joint supplement with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM is an essential part of saving your joints. Our formula adds numerous other natural, beneficial ingredients to maximize effectiveness.
References and additional reading:
3D Printed Cartilage: https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/25/3d-printed-cartilage-cell-implants-baby-mice/
Helpful article on ACL reconstruction: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Anterior_Cruciate_Ligament_(ACL)_Reconstruction
Preventing knee pain: https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/preventing-knee-pain