From a position of having very little knowledge as to the type of medical care available in the United States being I’ve been lucky to never have needed anything more than a prescription to rid myself of some peculiar rash picked up from who the heck knows where, I would presume that it is the best in the world, or close to it, considering the size and wealth of our country. I’ll take a Huntington Post contributor of the United States healthcare system Grace-Marie Turner’s word that it is one of the best.
“The United States remains the world leader in medical innovation, having produced more than half of the world’s new medicines over the last decade.” Writes Turner in a completely unrelated piece about the healthcare system.
The question I then ask, if the United States is in fact a world leader in medical innovation why would anybody with the resources of Kobe Bryant have to receive treatment for something as simple as knee ailments (reported to have arrived in Germany for knee treatment by Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt) outside of the U.S.? What exactly is he having done and why can’t he receive the treatment in the United States?
The procedure that Bryant is having performed is called Orthokine therapy and is not approved by the FDA in the United States which answers the question of why the trip to Germany.
The non-technical explanation of the procedure is it involves taking blood from Bryant, the blood goes through a process that includes storage for a period of time and then spinning it in a centrifuge, the properties that protect and alleviate pain in the joint from the blood are increased; that blood is then injected into the affected area.
In the most simplest way that I can explain the benefits of the procedure is that it is a means of rejuvenating the joint’s natural healing and protection proprieties which in effect decreases the pain one might be suffering in the joint, increase range of motion and decrease the rate of progression of the joint disease one might have, such as osteoarthritis. The hope is that the procedure will give the joint a longer pain-free and optimal usage life span than what you would normally expect without the treatment. If you would like a more technical explanation I recommend reading Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Mark Galland’s article on the subject.
It is that extra bit of time that Bryant is depending on to allow him to play at close to his normal dominate self on the court this coming season. Bryant has been flying out to Germany to have the Orthokine therapy for a few years now. It could be the reason why Kobe at the age of 34 and after completing 16 long seasons he was able to put together one of his best seasons offensively in the 2012-13 season where he earned 1st team All-NBA honors. It seemed to have worked then, and the hope is that after adding another 2 years of age on those knees and turning 36, it can work again.