Biologic Therapies for Hip Pain
Whether due to degenerative arthritis or injury, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that more than 450,000 total hip replacements are performed in the United States every year.[i]
Even though this is major surgery and requires hospitalization and lengthy rehab, many patients who suffer from chronic hip pain believe they have no other options.
Thanks to the advances in the field of regenerative medicine, they do.
Why Do My Hips Hurt?
Hip degeneration or tissue damage can result in pain, tenderness, “clicking” and reduced range of motion. Pain can be localized in the front, side, or back of the hip.
Hip pain can have many causes, including:
- Degenerative osteoarthritis. Occurs when the cartilage between the bones of the hip joint begins to break down, usually with age.
- Tendon tears and tendinosis. Overuse may result in a tear or degeneration of the tendons, the thick bands of tissue that attach the hip bones to neighboring muscles.
- Muscle or tendon strains. Often the result of repetitive motions that stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips.
- Hip labral tear. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that covers the outside rim of the hip socket. It cushions the joint and helps hold the femur (thighbone) ball within your hip socket. Anyone who makes repetitive twisting movements of the hip joint can develop labral tears.
- Obesity. Carrying extra weight puts tremendous pressure on the hips and can significantly hasten joint degeneration.
- In some cases, congenital abnormalities may also cause hip pain, as can previous surgery or trauma.
Using the Body’s Natural Healing Abilities to Treat Hip Pain
For those suffering from chronic hip pain, regenerative biologic therapies are providing new hope for pain relief without major surgery.
Regenerative medicine specialists use the natural healing properties in the patient’s own cells to stimulate healing of damaged tissues, reduce inflammation, and in some cases, promote the growth of new cells.
There are two types of regenerative biologic therapies used in clinical practice to treat orthopedic conditions, including hip pain.
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): A concentrated solution of platelets derived from the patient’s own blood which contains a significant amount of growth factors and proteins that promote tissue regeneration, decrease inflammation, and encourage blood vessel formation.
- Cell-Based Therapies: Cells taken from the patient’s own fat tissue (Microfragmented Adipose Tissue) or bone marrow (Bone Marrow Aspiration Concentrate) which contain adult stem cells that have the unique ability to renew themselves and develop into other cell types which promote tissue healing. These cells control pain, decrease inflammation, and fight infection.
How are these Biologic Therapies Performed?
Biologic therapies are injection procedures. Blood, bone marrow, or fat tissue is collected and processed, and then injected into the injured tissue on the same day. These procedures are performed on an out-patient basis and recovery begins at home within hours of the treatment. There are no large incisions, no lengthy hospitalizations, or rehab stays involved.
Most hip tendon injuries and osteoarthritis respond well to these orthobiologic treatments. Factors such as the degree of injury or degeneration, as well as the patient’s overall health, can impact the final outcomes, but for patients weighing invasive surgery, orthobiologics can provide an option for pain relief and healing without surgery.
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