Joint Preservation Blog

December 13, 2008

Ligament Injuries in Elbow

There are several ligaments that help support the elbow and a host of tendons that also help support the joint.  The collateral ligaments are the main structural support and act like duct tape that holds the elbow together.  Ligament injuries in elbow are very similar to other areas such as the ankle.  They can be caused by repetitive use or trauma.   While many heal, some do not.  Surgery for this condition can be difficult, as sewing damaged ligaments may or may not result in a good physiologic reapir.  The problem is that many times, the repair will either be tighter or looser than the original.  If the repair is not at the right physiologic tension, then the joint can be beat uo by the extra force and degeneration in the joint can increase.  I have several patients that are young and in this category.  They had a ligament repair that regrettably ended up too tight and now in their 20’s and 30’s the joints are wearing out. 

Is there a better way to treat a partial elblow ligament tear?  Yes, injecting the patient’s own stem cells into the ligament tear can help that ligament heal.  This way, the body sets the right level of tension in the ligament, more like a natural ligament repair.  For more information on this new procedure, see the link above.

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August 21, 2008

What is joint preservation?

Joint preservation is both an unknown and new medical science.  It literally means what it sounds like, preserving a joint via a number of tools rather than replacing all or part of that joint.  So instead of a total knee replacement, fixing as many issues as possible to make sure the joint still functions.  Why do this?  Joint replacement is big surgery with big risks, so many of us would like to avoid these risks.  In addition, from a psychological perspective, one knows they are truly “old” when a surgeon cuts out what used to a perfectly good joint and replaces that with metal and plastic.  So this blog is dedicated to my clinical experience and the tools I use to save joints, hence joint preservation.

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