Dr. Otten on Orthobiologic Wrist Pain Treatment

By Last updated on April 5th, 2020 Last updated on April 5th, 2020 No Comments

Anyone who has ever dealt with wrist pain can testify how uncomfortable daily life can get. They will also probably tell you that whenever they go to a doctor, the solutions offered are limited to physical therapy and surgery. In this interview with Dr. Otten, we found there’s a third option: orthobiologic, naturally regenerative treatment.

Why Is Wrist Pain Common?
The wrist is an exquisitely complicated joint. It lifts, bends and rotates in and out. It also is involved in every single motion that we make during the day.

There are 8 major bones in the wrist. Each bone is lined with something called articular cartilage, to make it glide smoothly and pain-free.

There’s also a large cartilage complex—often referred to as the TFCC—”kind of like the meniscus for the knee,” as Dr. Otten put it.

Not only that, the wrist has major ligaments and tendons crossing each other over and working in unison, all of which are prone to injuries.

“Most patients want to avoid surgical intervention on the wrist. In my practice, over the last 10 years, utilising orthobiologic therapies, such as Stem Cells and PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), we have exquisitely high success rates in reducing wrist pain and improving function,” Dr. Otten shared.

Why Not Surgery?

Most patients can’t afford the downtime, nor do they want surgical intervention in the wrist. And, with the conventional medicine, we’ve only utilised surgical intervention, physical therapy and cortisone, before about 10-15 years ago, which was the advent of orthobiologic therapies—starting with PRP about 20 years ago, and moving on to Stem Cells about 10 years ago.Professional athletes have now turned to orthobiologic treatment for their wrist problems because of the minimum downtime and high success rates.

“Each individual portion of the wrist, whether it is the tendon, the articular cartilage, the joint lining, or the cartilage, needs to be addressed immediately. When you diagnose wrist problems, it’s important to include all the major functions of all the major tendons as well, not just the problem we see on the imaging (MRI, X-ray or ultrasound),” the lead physician explains.

Orthobiologic therapies require a simple injection (or a series of several injections) and an immobilization of the wrist for 7-14 days.

“During your consultation, it is important that we review all of the imaging available to us, whether it is MRI, X-ray, ultrasound, or the combination of the above,” Dr. Otten added.

The wrist is such a complex joint that you need to look at the cartilage of each bone, the TFCC, the joint lining called the synovium, as well as surrounding ligaments and tendons to identify the precise source of the pain.

There even are even small ligaments that connect each carpal bone, which is often the cause of major pain for patients.

Most of these problems can be either completely healed or significantly improved with either PRP or Stem Cell therapies.

Orthobiologics: A Long Term and a Short Term Solution

One of the major appeals of naturally regenerative orthobiologic healing technology is its aim to provide lasting, long-term results while having minimum downtime.

While surgical intervention is often limited to addressing a particular issue for the time being, orthobiologic therapies such as Stem Cells and PRP are focused on regenerating the damaged tissue or bone for good.

How is this possible? It is important to emphasize the core mechanics of how orthobiologic technologies work:

  • A safe volume of stem cells is harvested from a part of your body
  • Stem cells have the ability to transform into any type of cell
  • The cells are slightly tweaked and enhanced to address a specific issue
  • The volume is injected into the problem area, allowing the cells to repair the damage

“Using your own body’s ability to heal itself, whether it’s Platelets or Stem Cells—or a combination of those—is my preferred intervention to reduce wrist pain,” says Dr. Otten.

“In my practice over the last 10 years, utilizing your own body’s ability to heal itself, whether it’s Platelets or Stem Cells—or a combination of the two—is the preferred intervention to treat wrist pain,” he concludes.

Dr. Matthew HC Otten

Dr. Matthew HC Otten

Director of Orthopedic & Orthobiologics
Fellowship-trained & Board Certified in Sports medicine
Director Angiography at Harvard Clinical Research Institute
Michigan Stage University Alumni