Dr. Howard is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine practitioner, specializing in shoulder, elbow, knee, and hip issues. The doctor utilizes many biologic treatments as an effective method to treat joint conditions, manage pain, and avoid surgery. Biologic injections such as stem cell, hyaluronic acid, PRP, bone marrow, and steroid injections are non-surgical methods that Dr. Howard may employ after his diagnosis.
Biologic treatments use substances that are cultivated from living organisms. They enhance repair and healing of fractures and injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They can lower pain, increase movement, decrease the body’s degeneration, and delay the need for surgery.
Dr. Howard performs these treatments in his 2 Pinellas County offices, helping patients throughout the Tampa Bay area, including Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Largo, Tarpon Springs, New Port Richey, Dunedin, and St Petersburg.
Corticosteroids are medications that suppress inflammation and swelling. A corticosteroid injection into an inflamed joint can significantly decrease swelling, pain, and lack of range of motion. Corticosteroid injections are used sparingly as repeated injections over time can cause more harm than they help.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is part of the patient’s blood that is drawn from the arm in the clinic. The blood is then placed into a centrifuge and the platelets are separated from the red blood cells. The platelets are then injected into the injured area to enhance and kick start a healing process to have the body naturally fix itself. Different PRP types are used for tendon healing, arthritis, or other conditions.
Stem cells are cells that have not chosen their specific cell type yet. These are usually obtained from donated placenta after a baby is born. These cells are preserved in a freezer, thawed, and injected into the injured area. While there are great claims and promises with stem cell treatments, not much scientific evidence is available to back up most claims of stem cell treatments.
Hyaluronic Acid is the natural jelly lubricant that exists in the knee. Scientists have been able to synthesize this lubricant in the lab and make it available to be injected into an injured joint. This medication can greatly help patients who have mild arthritis but who are not ready for a joint replacement. This medication is covered by most insurances (including Medicare) and is FDA approved.
Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate or BMAC is essentially super charged PRP. BMAC contains some of the body’s own actual stem cells. Unfortunately BMAC is only located inside the marrow of the bones, necessitating a small invasive procedure to obtain the necessary material. BMAC is then concentrated in a centrifuge and then injected into the injured area.