Thursday, June 11, 2015

Will Biologics Revolutionize Musculoskeletal Care?

The economic costs of musculoskeletal care in the United States is approaching $800 billion or about 5.7% of annual GDP.  (Ref)  These costs are expected to increase significantly as our population ages.  This is clearly not a sustainable path.  A recent article published by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) suggests the "early evidence is promising" for biologics to revolutionize musculoskeletal care.  (AAOS Article in full)

Biologic therapies represent a rapidly evolving frontier similar to arthroscopy in the 1970s and 1980s.  There will always be a need for continued research and development but the data supporting treatments such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell treatments for tendinopathy and arthritis is increasing significantly.  PRP is now a recognized treatment for chronic tennis elbow that has been shown to be better than surgery.  (See Ref)  The number of PRP articles on PubMed now is over 8000 and the Google Trends for PRP is rising rapidly. (See Graph)

Biologic orthopedic procedures are in the process of revolutionizing the options available for patients for difficult problems such as arthritis.  It is an exciting time to execute on these point-of-care biologic treatments.   Continued progress will demand hard work and innovation by elite motivated teams in order to produce transformative outcomes for patients.


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