Interventional orthopedics uses platelets and stem cell injections for treating musculoskeletal disorders. Previously, the only recourse for treating these conditions was surgery with fluoroscopic guidance. The basic tenets of this procedure include the following:
- Injections into the bone, tendon, muscle, cartilage, and ligament
- Using image guidance to place the injections into the injured region
- Eventually, regenerative tissues are developed that cause healing
Non-interventional orthopedic and regenerative medications are available in the form of simple intra-articular joint injections. These make up for 95% of orthopedic treatments that physicians offer.
Image Guided Injections
Non-interventional orthopedic medicine involves injecting the joints without image-guidance. Not only is this risky, but requires the hand of a trained physician which is often resource-intensive, particularly if you are running a medical business.
However, interventional orthopedics offers image-guided injections to help musculoskeletal injuries to the tendons of the biceps, tears in the supraspinatus, and any other ligament, bone, tendon, and fibrocartilage.
A physician with an expertise in interventional orthopedics is able to precisely inject medications into the joint, without any risks.
The process of image-guided interventional orthopedic injections is fairly simple. It uses fluoroscopy and real-time X-rays to insert stem cells and platelets into the joints via injection as opposed to the traditional method of going in blindly.
No matter the procedure, stem cells still take a lot of time to mature and start healing and very often the outcome not as good as brand new.
The Trends of Interventional Orthopedics
A part of the appeal of interventional orthopedics lies in its non-invasiveness. An orthopedic surgeon can stabilize the injured tissue and reform a broken bone. However, the procedure is painful, takes some time, and requires substantial time for recovery as well.
Additionally, an orthopedic surgeon may not have the precision to insert stem cells and regenerative tissues at specific points of the body, without surgery.
For example, most trained physicians are familiar with only one kind of knee injection interventional orthopedics procedure. They use ultrasound to locate kneecap space and injecting it in blindly. However, a trained interventional orthopedics will learn not just to inject into the kneecap space, but also the patellar and quadriceps tendons as well.
The same applies to parts of the body other than the knee as well.
The Setbacks in Interventional Orthopedics
Interventional orthopedic surgery may be better than blindly going in, but like any procedure, it has its setbacks:
- Image-guided injections don’t work as effectively on the shoulder labrum, the rotator cuff, or any of the ligaments in the body because injecting those structures is different than injecting the other joints.
- Few doctors are well trained in interventional orthopedics, so they are hard to locate in a big-region, and often charge more than others to perform the procedure.
The Future of Interventional Orthopedics
Interventional orthopedics came about spontaneously because of technological advancements. Thus, the treatment of injuries that previously required musculoskeletal surgeries now has a high success rate of non-invasive treatments. Without a doubt, IO is one of the first few steps on the ladder to surgery-free medical treatments. Perhaps, more research down the line may eliminate the need for surgery altogether.