A brand new synthetic cartilage implant is offering hope to millions of American arthritis patients. Interestingly, this implant is made out of the same exact material most contact lenses are made of.
As of today, this implant procedure is only used for people who have arthritis in their big toe in the USA. In Europe, however, doctors have been using this implant to successfully treat cases of arthritis in the knee and thumbs.
Doctors involved with helping arthritis patients believe this new method of treatment can be a real game-changer in the medical industry. Not only has this implant shown incredible success rates, it also helps patients avoid opting for more serious surgical procedures or potentially getting addicted to painkilling drugs.
Recent statistics show that 91 percent of patients who received this surgical implant experienced a significant reduction in arthritis pain within a few weeks. An amazing 100 percent of patients who opted for this surgical procedure said they were able to play sports again with this implant in their big toe.
Patients who go through with this surgical procedure often see a full improvement within six months. Many people who got the toe implant were also considering a more common, yet more risky, toe fusing procedure. It goes without saying that these patients were all incredibly happy to have the choice between this implant and the toe fusing.
Selene Parekh, an orthopedic doctor who works in Durham, N.C., believes this big toe implant is set to revolutionize how doctors think of treating arthritis patients. He told reporters that these implants are a viable long-term solution to both reduce pain and increase range of motion. In the future, Dr. Parekh is hopeful that scientists and doctors will run more tests on these implants so that they can be used in different joints commonly affected by arthritis.
54 million Americans now suffer from symptoms of arthritis in at least one joint. A few of the most common symptoms of arthritis include reduced range of motion, joint swelling, pain, and stiffness. Most people with arthritis experience their first symptoms between the ages of 40 and 60. Women are far more susceptible to arthritis pain than men.
Some of the more traditional treatment options for arthritis pain include physical therapy, replacement surgery, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ice packs, and heating pads. Doctors have also found that alternative therapies like acupuncture, yoga, and tai chi are excellent at reducing overall arthritis symptoms.
There's no word yet on whether or not American doctors will be able to use these implants in the knees, thumbs, or other joints any time soon.