Guest: Dr. Kris Alden
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Kris Alden is a fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopaedic surgeon. He specializes in hip, knee, and shoulder reconstruction. Dr. Alden is a leader in the field of joint replacement. He practices with a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic group, Hinsdale Orthopaedics, and draws patients from all over the Midwest and across the United States. He was awarded the Kate and Michael Barany Award for research and scholarship and also a recipient of the Outstanding PhD Thesis award for his Biophysics research on calcium channel function in skeletal and cardiac muscle and neuron functioning. His graduate work was published in multiple scientific journals. As a practicing surgeon, Dr. Kris Alden has lectured on and trained other surgeons in novel primary and complex joint reconstruction techniques across North America and Europe.
Segment Overview: Dr. Kris Alden discusses how more orthopedic and rehabilitation specialists are utilizing innovative regenerative therapies and therapeutic biologics to restore functionality in the body and improve quality of life for athletes and patients. Dr. Alden will also discuss details surrounding why more physicians are choosing one specific top-line treatment which is a non-surgical and non-opioid option for patients. (www.Mimedx.com)
Neal Howard: Welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. Glad that you could join us today. In studio, we’ve got Dr. Kris Alden, an orthopedic surgeon joining us to talk about how more orthopedic and rehabilitation specialists are utilizing some very innovative therapies and therapeutic biologics to restore functionality in the body. After he gives us a little bit of background about himself, we’ll jump right into some of this innovative technology. Welcome to the program Dr. Alden. How are you?
Dr. Kris Alden: I’m good. Thanks for having me.
N: Great. Is the orthopedic surgery something that you’ve always been involved in since you went into med school or something that kind of evolved out of your experiences in learning?
A: Sort of funny you asked that. I think most orthopedic surgeons fall into two categories basically one that they know they want to be an orthopedic surgeon by the time they’re in high school or junior high or whatever and then there’s people like me that know absolutely nothing about it and actually I didn’t figure it out until my last year of med school. That’s what I wanted to do and I was exposed to it as a rotation and found it to be really fun. Something I love to do. I believe life is about mobility and that’s why I love doing what I do.
N: In your practice, what would you say some of the most common injuries or maybe conditions that you run into?
A: The majority of my practice basically involves the treatment of hip and knee arthritis. I would probably say 95% of my patients come in was, they’re generally a little bit older usually 40s, 50s, 60s and above and vast majority of them come in for the treatment of a degenerative condition of the hip or the knee. That’s what I’ve kind of put myself out there is, that sort of a specialty and the treatment. The treatment of arthritis is sort of what I’ve sort of specialized in over the last ten years basically.
N: Traditionally, what are the most common ways that you treat, say arthritis or some of the most common things that come your way?
A: We always try to start with the easy stuff things like physical therapy over-the-counter, safe, non-narcotic, non addicting type pain medications. Then we can involve in the things like physical therapy and then injections and then ultimately surgery which of course is always a last resort for the treatment of arthritis. But that’s one way we can solve it, would be a joint replacement type procedure.
N: You do employ some of the traditional methods but you’ve also joined us today to talk about some new innovations.
A: I have used injections obviously I think every orthopedic surgeon does over the course of their career. Those types of injections can evolve. We’ve used basically a 100% steroids, but we find that there can be some side effects associated with them. Then viscosupplementation is another type of injection that we commonly employ but I learned about a new fix probably about 3 years ago. I was sort of intrigued by the possibility of what it can do and started about 2 ½ years ago, using it in selected patients. Then only I’ve expanded that indication and we’ve had outstanding results in the treatment of hip and knee, as well as shoulder problems not just arthritis but also tendinitis and bursitis. It’s been a great adjunct to my arm interim to treat hip and knee problems and arthritic conditions.
N: Just to be clear, AmnioFix is an injectable itself or is it different from an injectable or different from other injectables?
A: It’s different. Basically it’s amniotic tissue that we reconstituted into a liquid form and it’s basically an injection of growth factors and proteins that can help stimulate the recruitment of stem cells and there’s some kind of stem cells that circulate in the body. They can go to the site of the injection to promote healing and regeneration.
N: Are these the patient’s own stem cells or are they stem cells that come from another source?
A: The tissue is derived from women who deliver a baby. It’s a planned c-section. They’re donors. They’re screened, very tight leaned, very closely and the amniotic tissue is then obviously processed and sterilized and then we reconstitute in clinics. It’s not necessarily the patient’s own stem cells but it can attract those molecules, those proteins and growth factors can attract the patient’s stem cells to go to the site whether it’s the hip knee or shoulder.
N: It’s basically a stimulation of the patient’s own powers, right?
A: Correct. It’s sort of an easy way to get the patient stem cells to the site. There’s a lot of misinformation about stem cells out in the Internet and we talked about it with patients. I tell them the only way to really get your stem cells would be to go on and do a bone marrow aspiration or harvest and recruit the stem cells out of that bone marrow. Grow them and then re-inject them and that obviously is a very involved complicated difficult process and expensive. I basically tell them this is inexpensive way to recruit stem cells. They basically, the proteins and growth factors that we inject are, they act like a magnet for stem cells to go to the site and the joint and hopefully repair and regenerate tissue.
N: You say you’ve been aware of AmnioFix for about three years or so. In your experience, what types of drawbacks or maybe some negative side effects have you encountered and how can those be avoided and/or eliminated?
A: As far as like drawbacks, I would say the major drawback would be that it doesn’t work and that’s really honestly, a very small subset of patients. We’ve been tracking everybody very closely and it’s probably 15 to 20% of patients don’t get that substantial benefit that we see. That’s the main, I would say main, if there’s a negative that would be it. There is some pain at the site of the injection and we think that is a sort of pro-inflammatory response that may be a part of the process. I tell patients, I warn them, “Your knee or shoulder or hip is going to be sore.”. For anywhere from a day to three days, but as far as I drawbacks we haven’t seen any adverse reactions or any problems related to the injections themselves.
N: That being said in wrapping up, why in your opinion do you think the non-surgical and non opioid treatment options for your patients benefit both the medical practice and the patient’s lives?
A: I think the main benefit that we see is that, we’re always looking for something that’s going to help patients achieve better function and mobility in a non-surgical safe, low-cost environment and I think AmnioFix solved that. It basically gives us the ability to get patients better with a simple injection. Perhaps these patients have failed other injection modalities and they’re looking at surgery. If we can offer them something that’s going to either delay or prevent the need for that arthroplasty type procedure, then it’s a huge win for patients.
N: Where could we learn some more online about AmnioFix.
A: I think they actually have a really good website in the AmnioFix MiMedx. If you google that you’ll find their website which got a lot of great information about the injections and treatment options.
N: Dr. Alden, thank you so much. Hoping you’ll come back with this.
A: Absolutely, thank you. Thank you Neal. Wonderful. Thanks so much.
N: You’ve been listening to hpr.fm, Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of the programs are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm. You can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, listen in and download at SoundCloud and be sure and visit our affiliate page at hpr.fm and healthprofessionalradio.com.au.