DIY RE­PAIR

Men's Health (Singapore) - - HEALTH -

THE BEST

joint re­pairs are the body’s own. “Tis­sues nat­u­rally repli­cate and, through heal­ing, get bet­ter over time,” says Dar­ryl D’Lima, M.D., Ph.D. That’s why re­searchers are study­ing ways to boost the body’s self-re­pair with tech­niques like these:

Platelet-rich plasma

Platelets in blood plasma con­tain pro­teins called growth fac­tors that pro­mote heal­ing. In PRP ther­apy, your doc draws your blood, spins it to sep­a­rate and con­cen­trate the platelets, and in­jects the prepa­ra­tion into a joint, hop­ing to help the heal­ing process. Stud­ies sug­gest it’s most effective for chronic ten­don in­juries, es­pe­cially ten­nis el­bow, but re­search hasn’t con­clu­sively shown it’s bet­ter than ex­ist­ing treat­ments.

Stem cells

Stem cells har­vested from bone mar­row (new re­search is look­ing into ex­tract­ing them from fat) have the po­ten­tial to grow into other types of cells. Once pro­grammed in the lab, they’re put into a joint to grow new tis­sues like car­ti­lage and lig­a­ment. The ther­apy has shown prom­ise in an­i­mal stud­ies, and some clin­ics of­fer it for os­teoarthri­tis. “But the jury is still out,” says Dr. D’Lima.

En­hanced ACL re­pair

In a new tech­nique, a scaf­fold loaded with a pa­tient’s blood is placed be­tween the ends of a torn ACL be­fore they’re su­tured. Called bridge-en­hanced ACL re­pair, or BEAR, it stim­u­lates heal­ing in the lig­a­ment and doesn’t re­quire a graft from else­where in the body. “Good pre­lim­i­nary re­sults,” says Brian Sen­nett, M.D.

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