As biologic healing technology evolves, more components of the blood are discovered to have deep healing properties that promise better results than is achieved with surgery and other standard medical treatments. Autologous conditions serum has been showing great results for relieving pain and degeneration in joints caused by osteoarthritis – a persistent disease affecting millions of people.
Osteoarthritis is a common cause of joint disability. It is progressive, chronic, and difficult to treat with traditional medical practices and drugs. Other options in the biologic category such as hyaluronan or steroids are safe but their efficacy for OA are still being weighed
What is ACS?
Autologous conditioned serum is a biologic treatment that is derived from your own blood. It contains an anti-inflammatory cytokine (small protein) called IRAP (Interkeukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein) that has been shown in studies to be a key factor in providing pain relief especially with arthritic conditions. IRAP can be obtained from cells called Monocytes. Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1b) is a key pro-inflammatory cytokine that has been strongly associated with arthritis-related pain, inflammation and cartilage degradation. IRAP competes with IL-1b for receptors and a high concentration of this material can inhibit the effects of IL-1b and can ultimately help inhibit inflammation and pain and degeneration of the joint. ACS is known for its use with degenerative joint disease which includes chondromalacia and arthritis. Its properties have also shown to stimulate tissue healing as well and in some situations may be ideal for soft tissue injuries.
Benefits of ACS:
- Improves many of the negative effects of OA, including stiffness and chronic pain.
- Can effectively address the knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, ankle, spine and other joints that are commonly injured or in the early stages of degeneration in athletes.
- Positive effects can last up to a year and sometimes longer.
- Non-invasive, with no procedural recovery time.
- May prove to be an alternative to many surgical options that introduce their own risks and recovery time.
- Low risk.
- Excellent anti-inflammation results which halts the cascade of trauma reactions that often make recovery take far longer.
- Improves quality of life.
- Helps protect and preserve healthy cartilage.
- Assists in halting the progression of osteoarthritis.
How do I prepare for an ACS injection?
Discontinue any anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Aspirin, Celebrex, Voltaren, Mobic, etc) or supplements (Tumeric, Curcumin, Ginger, Fish oil, etc) five days prior to your procedure. If there is a medical reason to be on these medications, discuss this with the physician prior to the treatment. Drink fluids the night and morning before the injection to allow for an adequate blood draw.
What can I expect on the day of the procedure?
You’ll need to come to clinic earlier in the day for a blood draw from your arm and return later in the day for the injection. Paperwork will need to be completed prior to your blood draw. ACS will be administered via injection to the affected area using ultrasound guidance in the clinic. Depending on your injury, an orthosis may be administered followed by any prescriptions including physical therapy. A follow-up appointment will be made at this time as well.
What can I expect after my procedure?
ACS may initially cause stiffness and mild swelling that can potentially last for up to one week. Anti-inflammatory medications are discouraged for up to two weeks after the procedure to allow for an adequate natural inflammatory response. Ice, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and prescribed pain medications can be used if necessary. Activity involving the injured body part as well as flying travel is discouraged during the first week for precautionary reasons. Physical therapy can begin one week after the ACS treatment has concluded.
Will I need repeat injections in the future?
ACS can be administered as a single treatment or multiple treatments over a period of days or weeks. If the soft tissue healing effects plateau, then a supplemental biologic injection may be recommended. For chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and chondromalacia of the joints, ACS treatment combined with rehabilitation may not necessitate further treatment. It is possible that repeat supplemental treatment may be needed again in the future due the joint’s chronic degenerative condition. The type of supplemental treatment would be determined during follow-up.