Biologic Therapies for Aging Discs Flagstaff AZ

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Roman T. Lewicky, MD
(928) 774-7757
1485 N. Tourquoise Dr.
Flagstaff, AZ
Business
Northern Arizona Orthopaedics, LTD.
Specialties
Orthopedics
Insurance
Insurance Plans Accepted: Blue CrossUnited Healthcare
Medicare Accepted: Yes
Workmens Comp Accepted: Yes
Accepts Uninsured Patients: Yes
Emergency Care: No

Doctor Information
Primary Hospital: Flagstaff Medical Center
Residency Training: Northwestern University Medical Center Orthopaedic Surgery 1975
Medical School: Northwestern University Medical School, 1968
Additional Information
Member Organizations: ABOS AAOS AANA ArMA
Awards: Arizona Sports Medicine Doctor of the Year, 1982.
Languages Spoken: English,Spanish,Ukrainian,Polish

Data Provided By:
Bert Mc Kinnon, MD
(928) 773-2538
77 W Forest Ave Ste 301
Flagstaff, AZ
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Co Sch Of Med, Denver Co 80262
Graduation Year: 1973

Data Provided By:
Yuri M. Lewicky, MD
(928) 774-7757
1485 N. Turquoise Drive 
Flagstaff, AZ
Specialty
Orthopaedic Sugeon
Gender
Sports Medicine Doctor, shoulder, knee injuries

Data Provided By:
William Michael Mc Fadden, DDS
(928) 774-4982
1425 N Beaver St
Flagstaff, AZ
Specialties
Orthodontics/Dentofacial Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Nathaniel James Stewart, MD
(608) 791-9876
1200 N Beaver St
Flagstaff, AZ
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Mn Med Sch-Minneapolis, Minneapolis Mn 55455
Graduation Year: 1992

Data Provided By:
Paul Kingsley Forberg, MD
(928) 527-0904
Flagstaff, AZ
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Tufts Univ Sch Of Med, Boston Ma 02111
Graduation Year: 1967

Data Provided By:
Joel Thomas Rohrbough, MD
(928) 774-7757
77 W Forest Ave Ste 302
Flagstaff, AZ
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Loma Linda Univ Sch Of Med, Loma Linda Ca 92350
Graduation Year: 1992

Data Provided By:
Robert T Caskey, DDS
(928) 774-2745
710 N Beaver St Ste 4B
Flagstaff, AZ
Specialties
Orthodontics/Dentofacial Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Michael Abeshaus, MD
(928) 774-7757
1485 N Turquoise Dr Ste 200
Flagstaff, AZ
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Az Coll Of Med, Tucson Az 85724
Graduation Year: 1986

Data Provided By:
Darius Mirza Moezzi
(928) 773-2280
77 W Forest Ave
Flagstaff, AZ
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
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Biologic Therapies for Aging Discs

The lines and wrinkles on our faces aren't the only signs of the inevitable aging process. Progressive degenerative changes have also been documented in the spine. One of the areas of great interest is the intervertebral disc . New biologic therapies for aging discs are the subject of this review article on the topic.

There are 33 vertebrae or spinal bones. Between each vertebra is a disc made of tough cartilage with a fluid center. These discs provide the cushion that allows your backbone to bend and twist. Discs also act like shock absorbers as we walk, run, and jump. Each vertebral segment consists of bone next to bone with a cartilage cushion between. They are tied together with connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons.

Degenerative disc disease is an example of something that affects most people as they get older. Everyone is going to have a certain amount of damage to the spine. This occurs throughout a lifetime. The discs can flatten, and protrude from between the bones. In time, most people will have small tears in the outer layers of these discs.

Finding ways to repair damage to the discs is the focus of many research studies. One of the most recent directions in research has been the use of biologic therapies to restore the disc. Examples of these treatment approaches include disc cell reimplantation, stem cell implantation, disc denervation, injection of therapeutic proteins, and gene therapy.

What are these therapies and how do they work? Biologic therapies of this type are meant to help at the cellular level. Scientists have shown that inside the cells of the disc there is a limited amount of blood flow. As a result, there are waste products building up. The cell becomes very acidic and that is a harsh environment that doesn't support cell health very well.

As we age, there are fewer new cells to replace the old. Fluid leaks out of the discs that never gets replaced. We start to lose the strength of the discs needed to cushion and support the spine. A loss of disc height can lead to disc space collapse.

That's what's happening on the inside at the cellular level. On the outside, the affected individual may not feel anything until the degenerative process has gone on quite a while. Eventually, back pain, loss of motion, and loss of function get our attention. By then, there may not be much that can be done to save the disc. Right now, surgery to remove the disc is often the only option.

That could change if any of these biologic therapies can be perfected. Right now they are still in the experimental stages. Most of the studies have been done on animals but a few human trials have been conducted.

For example, disc tissue reimplantation is a process in which a few healthy cells are removed from an intact disc. They are taken to a lab where they can be multiplied and then reinjected into the diseased disc. The hope is that the new, healthy cells will replace the damaged cells and restore the strength of t...

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