Regenerative rehabilitation is an emerging area of investigation that seeks to integrate regenerative medicine with rehabilitation medicine. It is based on the realization that combining these two areas of medicine at an early stage of treatment will produce a better clinical outcome than the traditional linear approach of first administering the elements of regeneration followed, after a delay, by rehabilitation. Indeed, in certain settings, a case can be made for initiating rehabilitation protocols before starting regenerative intervention. This review summarizes the contents of a workshop held during the 2018 annual meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society. It introduced the concept of regenerative rehabilitation and then provided two orthopaedic examples drawn from the domains of cartilage repair and bone healing. Rehabilitation medicine can supply a variety of physical stimuli, including electrical stimulation, thermal stimulation and mechanical stimulation. Of these, mechanical stimulation has the most obvious relevance to orthopaedics. The mechano-responsiveness of cartilage and bone has been known for a long time, but is poorly understood and has led to only limited clinical application. Improved bioreactor designs that allow multi-axial loading enable new insights into the responsiveness of chondrocytes and chondroprogenitor cells to specific types of load, especially shear. Recent studies on the mechanobiology of bone healing show that modulating the mechanical environment of an experimental osseous lesion by a process of “Reverse Dynamization” soon after injury considerably enhances healing. Future studies are needed to probe the molecular mechanisms responsible for these phenomena and to translate these findings into clinical practice.
- bone healing
- regenerative rehabilitation
- reverse dynamization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine