Out is routine Medicare and insurance coverage indemnification of hyaluronic acid injections for osteoarthritic joints other than the knee. Additionally, several insurance carriers are now requiring pre-certification to determine if they will even cover hyaluronic acid injections of the knee. The phenomenon was first reported in Florida but now the reduction in coverage is spreading across the country including Illinois. A physician may decide to proceed with the single, thee part or at times five part injection series but it would be at the expense of the patient if insurance and Medicare deny coverage. The reason behind the decision has to do with long-term studies that fail to validate the claims of the many advertisements you may see on television or find in the newspaper concerning the various forms of hyaluronic acid as a gel.

Increasingly in is Amniotic Fluid Concentrate for Osteoarthritis even though not covered by Medicare or Insurance. The clinical trial regarding outcomes for said therapy are incomplete; and to the best of my knowledge, the only source of Amniotic Fluid Concentrate providers seriously investigating results is MiMedx, out of Marietta, Georgia. Nevertheless, there seems to be an ever-increasing presence of Amniotic Fluid Concentrate offerings in the medical marketplace; unfortunately with unsupported claims of a stem cell content. There does seem to be a benefit from amniotic fluid concentrate in relieving the symptoms of an osteoarthritic joint but we have to wait for completion of current clinical trials to understand proper dosage and the length of action.

If you are a regular reader of this Blog, you will have become familiar with the term Subchondroplasty, an adjunct that I have been offering on occasion in conjunction with Bone Marrow Concentrate/Stem cell procedures into the joint. The successes of Subchondroplasty are such that the attention to the bone supporting the joint when working inside the joint is a subject gaining increased attention on a national basis. It looks like the future will be an increasing combination of both intra-articular and extra-articular intervention. While no one is able to confirm why the decompression of the bone adjacent to a joint relieves pain and why the adjunct of biologics improves longer-term outcomes, attention to bone defects in the area around the joint is proving to make a major difference in outcomes for arthritis. The question now is whether the best approach is Bone Marrow Concentrate inside and outside the joint or Bone Marrow Concentrate inside the joint with a synthetic augment outside the joint?

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