Cutting-Edge FloGraft Can Alleviate Knee Pain

Dr. Kevin Plancher

Instead of putting up with nagging pain and stiffness and continually taking anti-inflammatory medications, wouldn’t it be better to help those with knee arthritis to actually heal?

Instead of putting up with nagging pain and stiffness and continually taking anti-inflammatory medications, wouldn’t it be better to help those with knee arthritis to actually heal? That’s the premise behind a newer injectable therapy called FloGraft, which uses human amniotic fluid to protect and regenerate inflamed knee joints, says orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

FloGraft is one of several bio-derived substances orthopaedists and sports medicine doctors have been using in recent years as part of a “regenerative medicine” effort. This cutting-edge treatment makes use of amniotic fluid, which cushions and protects babies during pregnancy and is harvested during cesarean births without harming mother or baby, Dr. Plancher explains.

The injectable treatment adds another alternative for a nonsurgical treatment for osteoarthritis, which is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Arthritis of the knee affects about 10% of men and 13% of women over age 60 nationwide, according to the National Institutes of Health. Often called wear-and-tear arthritis, the pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion and swelling it causes not only makes it hard to move around easily, but takes away some of the enjoyment of life for those affected.

“Beyond undergoing total knee replacement surgery, which is obviously an invasive procedure, doctors haven’t had that many options to offer knee arthritis patients in the past,” says Dr. Plancher, also a Clinical Professor in Orthopaedics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “The development of FloGraft is definitely a promising and welcoming alternative along with other newer modalities.”

How FloGraft works

How does FloGraft work? It helps to understand that amniotic fluid, and the membrane surrounding it, are diverse substances containing many components, including the structural protein collagen, growth factors, and anti-inflammatory proteins. When injected into the knee, these all work together to ease the bone-on-bone grinding from thinning cartilage often occurring in knee arthritis. Furthermore, this potentially promotes regeneration of the cartilage and other tissues that have been worn away.

Injections of amniotic fluid and membrane tissue are being analyzed not just for knee arthritis, but other orthopaedic conditions as well, Dr. Plancher notes. These include tendonitis, muscle tears, cartilage repair, and even plantar fasciitis in the…

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