As one of the body’s largest weight-bearing joints, the hip is uniquely designed to withstand an enormous amount of pressure while still providing stability and adequate range of motion. Adding to its strength are the muscles, tendons and ligaments that surround the hip, as well as a ring of cartilage called the hip labrum. The labrum, especially, has an important role in the hip’s “ball-and-socket” design, lining the hip’s two socket cavities in such a way that it creates suction with the head of the femur (the “ball”), holding each of our legs in place and absorbing and distributing pressure so that we are able to move securely. As we age and/or expose ourselves to forceful impacts and repetitive motions (such as those necessitated by many sports activities), the labrum can deteriorate and eventually tear. Indeed, hip labral tears are a common problem among athletes and the elderly, often leading to debilitating groin pain, as well as stiffness and a clicking sensation within the hip joint during movement.
Hip labral tears can be treated in several ways, but only one treatment has the potential to actually regenerate labral tissue: stem cell therapy. Here’s everything you need to know about using stem cell therapy for hip labral tears:
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Stem Cells Facilitate Regeneration
Stem cells are special cells within embryos and fetuses that initiate the development of the body’s original tissues and organ systems. They also exist (albeit as more differentiated cells) in all bodies following birth, where they work to ensure homeostasis, replacing damaged, decayed and/or otherwise deteriorated cells when needed. For example, in most instances cells are replicated from each tissue’s stem cells (i.e., skin cell stem cells produce skin cells, heart cell stem cells produce more heart cells, etc).. Stem cells not only have the ability to self-replicate and differentiate (thereby creating new tissue), they can stimulate the release of special molecules that work to build new tissue, as well. In this way, when natural stores of existing stem cells are low or unavailable, stem cell therapy can fill in the gap and keep the body working normally.
How Stem Cell Therapy for Hip Labral Tears Works
Research indicates that adult stem cells reside in certain reserves across the body (such as bone marrow and adipose tissue). Doctors can harvest these stem cells (via needle aspiration and/or liposuction) and use them to regenerate tissue in other areas of the body, particularly in those areas without a sufficient store of stem cells and/or the adequate blood supply needed to facilitate the movement of stem cells to the area naturally. Indeed, a good blood supply is a mandatory part of all wound healing because it provides the only way for vital nutrients (such as immune cells, oxygen, collagen and, frequently, stem cells) to reach damaged tissue and begin their work toward repair. In its absence, however, doctors can manually transport the stem cells to the location of tissue damage (such as a hip labrum), still potentially initiating tissue regeneration! Traditional options for treating hip labral tears, including rest, physical therapy, medication and surgery, all take patients away from their normal activities for extended periods of time and still don’t offer the possibility of new tissue growth. Thus, stem cell therapy for hip labral tears is the only option capable of actually regrowing hip labral tissue and not just repairing or removing it!
The ThriveMD Advantage
Evidence supports using stem cell therapy for many orthopedic problems, and our team at ThriveMD knows it can be a viable option for many patients suffering from a hip labral tear. To learn more about the procedure and whether you or a loved one could benefit from this type of minimally-invasive procedure, please contact our office.