Arthritis

The Regenerative Medicine Clinic

Orthopaedic Surgeons & Molecular Immunobiologists located in Wilmington, NC

Arthritis is a scourge on the world’s population with projected prevalence extrapolations skyrocketing to 2030. It’s estimated that 54 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with arthritis and suffer both directly and indirectly from the symptoms. Orthopedic surgeon and regenerative medicine specialist, Austin Yeargan III MD, at The Regenerative Medicine Clinic specializes in degenerative conditions like arthritis. He takes a conservative approach to care focused on providing treatments that support your body’s natural healing to repair damage and ease your pain. To schedule an appointment with the regenerative medicine specialist, call the office in Wilmington, North Carolina, or use the online booking button. Telemedicine consultations are available.

Arthritis

What is arthritis?

Arthritis itself isn’t a specific disease, but a medical term that describes inflammation and tenderness in one or more joints. Arthritis can develop at any age and affect any joint in your body. In addition to the pain, your arthritis may also cause your joints to swell and/or lose some or all of their function.  Arthritis is a mechanically induced disease that is biochemically linked to a mechanotransduction apparatus in cells and tissues.  Impact loading damages the bone underneath the cartilage first on the concave side of the joint, then on the convex side, ultimately leading to destruction of the overlying cartilage. Arthritis is predictably progressive, a fact clearly visualized on serial MR images during a patient’s lifetime. 

What are the most common types of arthritis?

There are over 100 types of arthritis. While the inciting pathways are different, with osteoarthritis being driven by faulty mechanotransduction, the intermediate signaling pathways are the same, which means that no matter what type of arthritis you have, the biochemical target receptors are the same.  That’s why big pharma can make ‘biosimilars’ that are ‘similar’ to immunobiologics that work for all kinds of arthritis, your insurance won’t cover biosimilars unless you have inflammatory arthritis, which is ten times less common than osteoarthritis. Inflammatory arthritis is an autoimmune disease and comes in many flavors.  Some forms of arthritis are more common than others, including, but not limited to/:

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is by far the most common type of arthritis, affecting more than 30 million Americans. Also referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis develops as the bone underneath the cartilage (subchondral bone) becomes stiff and reflects the load back across the joint, destroying cartilage mechanically and causing an inflammatory response that continues to degrade the articular surface of the cartilage.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory, autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys the bone and soft tissue that lines your joints.  This is a T-cell mediated response and treatment is often systemic. 

Psoriatic arthritis

Like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is also an inflammatory autoimmune disorder. In this instance, the immune system attacks the connective tissue in your joints, such as the tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.

Arthritis can affect any joint in your body. At The Regenerative Medicine Clinic, Dr. Yeargan specializes in treating arthritis that can affect any synovial joint including the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle joints in addition to the small joints of the hands and feet.  

How is arthritis treated?

Treatment for your arthritis may depend on the type of arthritis you have and the severity of your symptoms. Traditionally, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are recommended to ease arthritis pain and improve function. Disease-specific medication may also be prescribed in the setting of inflammatory disease

Though these treatments may reduce pain, they may not stop the progression of the disease. Dr. Yeargan offers signaling cell based therapies and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as alternative treatments to ease your arthritis pain and stop or delay more invasive treatments, such as surgery.

Cell based procedures include a joint (articular) injection, an interosseous injection or both depending on the clinical indication.  If the goal is to reverse the symptoms of arthritis in a mild case or low moderate case, articular injection may suffice. In most instances though, a cure is sought and the interosseous component (Nanoplastytm) is recommended for a lasting result.

Am I a good candidate for regenerative medicine for my arthritis?

When you come in for a consultation, Dr. Yeargan determines if you’re a good candidate for regenerative medicine for your arthritis. His goal is to maximize all conservative treatment options before resorting to surgical intervention, no matter how seemingly insignificant. What we look at in our patients is the extent of radiographic and clinical disease combined with laboratory and imaging studies to determine the best course of action, and it may still be a recommendation for joint replacement.  There’s only one way to find out if you’re really a candidate for these advanced procedures.

For innovative arthritis care that may delay your need for surgery, contact The Regenerative Medicine Clinic by phone today.