Knee avascular necrosis (AVN) is a difficult disorder, and the use of stem cells for the treatment of AVN now is now being more readily applied. The concept of using stem cells to treat avascular necrosis is not new. Less specific and concentrated approaches of using stem cells for AVN have been used for many years with the use of core decompression.
Knee AVN is associated with debility and pain. Long term outcomes for AVN with joint collapse is poor, and usually leads to knee joint replacement. Alternatives to knee joint replacement are desired, as other options such as living with the pain, and loss of function and mobility are not very appealing.
Knee AVN is caused by the disruption of blood flow (ischemia) to a region of bone resulting in necrosis or bone cell death. The amount of necrotic area can influence outcome, as well as if contact with the knee joint surface or collapse has occurred.
Knee joint collapse is associated with the development of rapid secondary degenerative arthritis.
Knee AVN treatment with concentrated stem cells from the patients own body, is actually a collection of many types of stem cells, progenitor cells, vascular cells and other cell types which may all collectively be beneficial. Improving blood flow can be initiated by signals from various cell types and is very complex.
Regeneration of bone cells can involve the differentiation of stem cells into new bone cells or the recruitment of progenitor cells (precursor cells).
Stabilization of secondary degenerative arthritis or halting the development, is important for knee joint stability and prevention of joint collapse.
The complexity of knee avascular necrosis due to the many possible risk factors and the variations in different individual patients, necessitates an individualized treatment plan for each patient. There is no automated formula for treating knee AVN. The most optimal plan includes assessing each patient individually.