In a more recent understanding of the arthritic joint, science now tells us that it is not only loss of cartilage that leads to pain, loss of motion, altered function and a progressive downhill course; but rather an involvement of the entire joint as well as the bone supporting the joint. The mechanism is probably bio-immune in nature and the reason for our success in treating the arthritic joint with orthobiologics is based on addressing molecular changes within the joint. The Europeans however have taught us that almost as important as intervention inside the joint is addressing the bone supporting the joint. In a recent scientific meeting, Spanish and French Orthopedic Surgeons demonstrated improved overall results within the arthritic joint by treating the changes outside of the joint as seen in an MRI. These changes are frequently described as bone contusions or bone marrow lesions. When followed, it becomes apparent that the altered bone fails to support or protect the cartilage within the joint. By drilling into the subchondral bone, one stimulates a healing process and by adding orthobiologics, one hastens the healing of those bony lesions.

Subchondroplasty is accomplished with a specially designed drill bit and the orthobiologic is introduced through a specially designed trochar needle that slides over the drill bit serving additionally as a guide wire. The entire process is accomplished through a small skin puncture with accuracy enhanced through fluoroscopy, real time X-ray. Because the drill bit causes little structural damage, there are few alterations in the rehabilitation process when compared to the joint intervention alone. While Orthopedic Surgeons have been addressing these bony lesions by a macro system for several years with documented success, our work, as was seen on the Fox News airing last Thursday night, is based on minimally invasive means thereby eliminating the need for prolonged restriction of weight bearing and crutch dependency. Additionally, by introducing Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate in addition to the present Calcium Phosphate adjunct, the patient should anticipate healing in weeks, not months. The first target was the knee but we have expanded subchondroplasty to the ankle and soon to the hip and shoulder.

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