Healthy You: Don't wait to get orthopaedic care
Thursday, July 9, 2020

Orthopaedic surgeons said if your knee pain has gone from bad to worse in this pandemic, you might want to get in and see if you’re a candidate for a newer procedure before it’s too late.

The team at OrthoCincy says certain therapies are good alternatives to full joint replacement, but only if you don’t wait too long. Dr. John Larkin performs cartilage transplants at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky.

These are only performed by a handful of orthopaedic surgeons in the country. The transplants have been around for several years.

“What’s changed over the past couple of years is that we now have living cartilage that we can transplant into the knee,” said Dr. Larkin. “Cartilage is different than a liver or heart. It doesn’t have an autoimmune response, so you don’t have to worry about rejection.”

When Local 12 met up with him pre-pandemic, Chuck Holbrook shared with us how this had changed his life after a bad car accident damaged his knee.

“I mean, I was broken up nose to toe, literally,” said Holbrook. “He said, let me tell you about a procedure. The procedure was taking out all my old, damaged, bloody, bruised cartilage and putting brand new, pearly white cartilage in there. I didn’t even know that was possible.”

Now, not only is it possible for damaged knees, Dr. Larkin said it’s the future of arthritis treatment if you don’t wait too long to get it.

“What arthritis is is when the area between the bones disappears, and the bone gets exposed,” said Dr. Larkin. “That’s what causes the pain.”

He said if you’ve been delaying care post-pandemic, not only is it safe to get this kind of treatment, but it could also help you reduce the odds you’ll need to replace a joint in the future.

“What we do is that we go where that damage is,” said Dr. Larkin. “We replace that with living cartilage and that cartilage incorporates and resurfaces the kneecap. So, this is really the future of arthritis is to catch it early and be able to repair it before it’s bone on bone and never have to do a knee replacement.”

To find out if you’re a candidate for this procedure, ask your doctor to refer you to an orthopaedic specialist or contact Dr. Larkin's team at OrthoCincy at 859-301-2663.