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Stem Cell Research Being Used in Place of Total Hip Replacement

In the past couple months, many people have heard about stem cell treatments being used to try to avoid major joint surgery. Much of these news came from the baseball world, where the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (LAA) allowed doctors to perform a stem cell treatment instead of “Tommy John” surgery on two pitchers.

untitled-1238929-mIn the case of these baseball players, Tommy John surgery (named after the first pitcher to get the procedure, more formally known as an ulna collateral ligament or UCL procedure) can save a career, but it takes over a year for the pitcher to return to the game in most cases. The new procedure uses stem cells from bone marrow (not embryonic stem cells), and they may be able to regrow the damaged tissue instead of needing a replacement.  Unfortunately, for one of the two pitchers, it did not work, so they had to do the Tommy John procedure after all.

UCL surgery is not the only place for stem cell procedures, according to a recent article from Fox News, as doctors are now trying to using stem cells to avoid a total hip replacement.  This particular patient featured in the article is a doctor who is only 46 years of age.  She started to feel pain while walking and could no longer do rounds without using a cane.  She was diagnosed with a serious medical condition known as avascular necrosis.  This is where the bone in the leg dies at the femoral head where it connects to the hip.  This is the cause of about 15 percent of all total hip replacement procedures. In this procedure, they cut off the bone below the femoral head and insert a spike that anchors the artificial hip joint.

This doctor did not want to do a total hip replacement because of her age.  The typical hip replacement joint is designed to last 10 to 15 years.  This means she would probably need at least one if not two more total hip replacement procedures during her lifetime, and she did not want to go through that. As our Boston defective hip replacement lawyers can explain, if the artificial hip was defectively designed, it may not last even close to 10 years, and it may need to be replaced the same year it was implanted.  This means more recovery time and more pain and suffering.

Instead of a total hip replacement, she opted to try a new stem cell procedure. With this procedure, the doctor can extract bone marrow from a patient and then implant it into one or both hips in an hour.  After the procedure is complete, it is said that there is success in about 65 percent of the cases, and patients do not need a total hip replacement.

Patients who undergo this procedure are able to walk the same day of the operation, but they are supposed to use a cane for the first six weeks after the procedure. The doctor who had this procedure was able to go back to swimming and hiking soon after the operation.

If you have undergone a hip replacement surgery and have suffered complications, you may be entitled to compensation.

Call the Boston Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Novel stem cell technique helps patients avoid total hip replacement, July 17, 2016, Fox News

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