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The Cost of Knee Replacement Surgery

Researchers look into stem cell knee replacement alternatives

Even as thousands of knee replacement surgeries are performed every week, scientists are looking into a revolutionary cure that may make knee arthroplasty obsolete. The National Post‘s Tom Blackwell reports:

If Dr. Nizar Mahomed and colleagues at the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto succeed with fascinating new research, however, [knee replacement] surgery will eventually become a thing of the past.

The operations are, in fact, anything but panaceas, never really restoring people to their healthiest state, and often requiring replacement when the implant wears out, acknowledges Dr. Mahomed, head of orthopedics at the UHN’s Toronto Western Hospital.

With those limitations in mind, the UHN is pursuing research that aims to find a biological cure for joints decimated by osteo-arthritis, the most common form of the disease. Most dazzling among several experiments is a project that uses stem cells to create bone and cartilage, which researchers hope can be turned into a sort of organic joint implant that would fuse with existing tissue and regenerate diseased knees and hips.

Theoretically, the limits imposed on artificial joint-replacement patients would be forgotten.

“If we can find biological repair options, then basically we’re restoring the joint back to its native health state,” Dr. Mahomed said. “There would be no restrictions. You could go and run a marathon if you’d like. And there’s no concern that it is going to wear out, because we’ve basically restored it back to its [original] state of health.”

You can read the full National Post article here.

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