South Nassau's Orthobiologics Program Uses the Human Anatomy to Heal Orthopedic Injuries

A driving force behind their accelerated recoveries is orthobiologics, which combines the body’s natural ability to heal itself and the use of stem cells and advanced medical technologies to repair and heal orthopedic injuries.

Oceanside, NY, August 02, 2013 --( South Nassau Communities Hospital's Center for Advanced Orthopedics is using orthobiologics, which combines the body’s natural ability to heal itself and the use of stem cells and advanced medical technologies, to repair and heal orthopedic injuries.

By definition, orthobiologics is the inclusion of biology and biochemistry in the development of bone and soft tissue replacement materials for skeletal and tissue healing.

Perhaps the most familiar orthobiologic treatment is PRP therapy. Clinically referred to as “Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy,” PRP is a holistic approach to speed the regeneration and healing of ligament, tendon and muscular injuries, reducing recovery time. Used since the 1990s to assist with the healing of spinal injuries and to facilitate recovery after plastic surgery, PRP garnered international attention when it was reported that PRP was used by Tiger Woods while he rehabilitated from micro-fracture surgery in 2008.

“Platelet-Rich Plasma is blood plasma with a high concentration of platelets with significant bioactive proteins,” says Craig Levitz, MD, chief of orthopedics at South Nassau Communities Hospital, “which are vital to the repair and regeneration of musculoskeletal soft tissue.”

PRP is extracted by drawing a small amount (approximately 10 CCs) of the patient’s blood into a test tube, which is then put in a centrifuge (lab equipment that spins at a high speed to create centrifugal force) to separate the blood into layers. The plasma and platelets are taken from the test tube, put in a syringe and then injected into the patient’s injured or surgically repaired area. The bioactive proteins activate tissue recovery, new blood vessel formation, bone regeneration and connective tissue repair.

Dr. Levitz was one of the first orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists in the US to use the bio-patch and Carticel Therapy. Commonly referred to as the biologic rotator cuff implant, the patch relies on the body’s natural biological agents to jumpstart healing, even as surgery is in progress. The bio-patch is used most often for severe rotator cuff tears that will increase in size without surgical intervention and for chronic, non-healing rotator cuff tears.

“The (bio-)patch is the ideal solution for a patient with a large or chronic tear,” said Dr. Levitz. “This is a revolutionary approach to what is an otherwise hopeless, irreparable and painful shoulder injury.”

Carticel Therapy is a minimally-invasive surgical approach that uses patients’ cloned cartilage cells (chondrocytes) to correct recurring articular knee cartilage injuries. When implanted into a cartilage injury, the patients’ cells can form new cartilage, which is very similar to the original cartilage. The Carticel implantation procedure is called Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation or ACI.

For patients hampered by damaged meniscus cartilage despite previous operations and facing osteoarthritis and eventually a knee replacement, there is the meniscal cartilage transplantation. A revolutionary, minimally invasive surgical technique, meniscal allograft transplant hinders degeneration of the knee joint and eliminates the constant pain caused by the damaged cartilage.

The most widely used orthopedic transplantation technique, allograft tissue, comes from two sources: living donors undergoing primary joint replacements or cadaveric donors. Dr. Levitz performs most transplants arthroscopically.

“Regardless of the cause of the injury, the field of orthobiologics is very promising in the healing process,” said Dr. Levitz. “I look forward to providing the latest advances and options to the communities we serve.”
South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker