Athens Medical Group’s Sports Injury Clinics are on duty and operate 24 hours a day, providing high-level medical and nursing services in state-of-the-art facilities, as well as a free choice of physician among a team of highly trained and experienced scientists and surgeons.
Specialised sport scientists, all leaders in their area of expertise, including orthopaedic surgeons and physicians, physical therapists, rehabilitation trainers and nutritionists offer their services in alignment with international guidelines in both Europe and the United States of America.
We are well aware that injuries affect not only the athlete but his team as well and therefore we always work in close cooperation with the coaching staff of the sports club so that they are kept up to date during every aspect of the athlete’s rehabilitation.
Our Clinics enjoy wide recognition both within Greek boundaries as well as internationally, with a constant presence in International Conferences and Seminars and numerous publications in International Scientific Journals.
We are pioneers in all new diagnostic and therapeutic methods always striving to achieve the best possible outcome. Our goal is to educate, prevent and treat sport related injuries in close cooperation with physical therapists, trainers, radiologists so as to provide athletes with an individual and specialised rehabilitation program following surgery.
Athens Medical Group’s Sports Injury Clinics are supported by all medical specialties in order to ensure that patients receive holistic treatment and comprehensive care.
Athens Medical Group’s Sports Injury Clinics are highly specialised in dealing with all kinds of sports injuries, using optimally innovative and established treatment methods
The following areas are a few in which we offer our services:
Articular cartilage lesions are treated by three-dimensional autologous chondrocyte culture and treatment using stem cells.
Focal lesions of articular cartilage in individuals up to 50 years of age and without meniscal damage are treated using autologous chondrocytes, which are implanted in the lesion.
The operation is takes place in two stages:
Mobilization of the joint is usually initiated early on after surgery, as it helps to stimulate healthy cartilage growth. Weight bearing is usually limited for at least six to eight weeks, but over time it can increase in load and intensity. Sport-specific activities can begin progressively about 9 months after surgery
Full participation in sports activities is allowed after at least 12 months.
In our hospitals we have the possibility to implant autologous chondrocytes into major joint cartilage damage, for example 3×4 cm. Biopsies that have taken place one year after autologous chondrocyte implantation show vitreous cartilage growth at 90-95%.
In recent years, as part of efforts to more effectively treat articular cartilage damage, a new technique has emerged: the administration of stem cells of the patient’s own bone marrow.
This technique is applied in several esteemed medical centers in Europe and particularly in the US. The results so far are very encouraging because they show an increase in cartilage thickness in the joint after stem cell implantation.
This improvement of cartilage usually leads to a significant reduction in pain and improves the movement of the joint.
Thus, an improvement in quality of life and a significant delay in the progression of osteoarthritis are achieved.
Treatment with a patient’s own bone marrow stem cells is carried out in three stages:
Stage 1: Taking bone marrow. With one syringe, an amount (about 60 ml) of marrow is sucked out of the patient’s pelvis. This procedure should be done under operating (aseptic) conditions. At the same time, a small amount of blood is taken. The patient stays in the operating room for only half an hour!
Stage 2: Preparing the cellular product. The stem cells are isolated from the marrow in the biotechnology laboratory by specialised scientific staff. Then, elements in the blood that accelerate healing are isolated and mixed with the stem cells.
At the same time, all the necessary quality checks are carried out to prevent any contamination at all stages of the treatment. Thus, a mixture of stem cells with great healing capability is produced.
Stage 3: Administration of the cellular product to the joint. With an injection of the product into the joint, many active stem cells are transported to the point of the damage. The patient rests for 24 hours allowing for the stem cells to attach to the damaged parts of the joint.
Sport’s hernia syndrome is a well-known condition that many athletes face, causing backache in the groin. As a result sport’s hernia does not allow them to compete normally and it may even force them to abandon their careers.
It is characterized by a sudden onset of pain, deep in the groin, which gradually worsens and can extend to the perineum and the gluteus muscles. Conditions that increase intra-abdominal pressure, like coughing, can increase pain, while the extension of pain to the testicles is observed in 30% of patients. Footballers’ movements, such as sharp accelerations and slowdowns, abrupt changes in direction and torsion of the trunk and shootouts, may cause intense pain. Some researchers believe that the sport’s hernia is the most common cause of chronic pain in athletes.
The diagnosis of a sports hernia is determined based on the patient’s history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests.
Clinically, it is difficult to distinguish sport’s hernia from other causes of inguinal pain. Sport’s hernia is not a “real” hernia in the sense that it does not project from the abdominal wall. X-rays, ultrasound, and MRI can help exclude other diseases that cause inguinal pain, but are not particularly useful for diagnosing sport’s hernia.
Non – surgical therapies (e.g. administration of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs) usually fail, but can be tested in cases of uncertain diagnosis. If symptoms persist, the patient should be subjected to surgical exploration and restoration. Surgical treatment is reported to have a success rate of 90%.
There are two surgical approaches for the treatment of sport’s hernia. Firstly, there is the classic “open” method, in which a 6 – 10cm incision is made in the abdomen of the patient. Once the hernia is identified, internal sutures or a synthetic mesh to reinforce the abdominal wall are applied.
Secondly, there is the laparoscopic approach, which is more modern and is performed through 3 small incisions of 5 millimeters each in the skin without the muscles being cut. The surgeon works with a special camera, that has the ability to magnify 10 times, and the surgery is completed quickly, bloodlessly and with great precision.
Advantages of laparoscopic surgery
The laparoscopic technique requires smaller incisions and does not cause any muscle damage. This results to less postoperative pain and faster recovery. Due to the large magnification ability of the laparoscopic camera inserted in the patient’s body, the testicles’ nerves and vessels of the latter are identified by the surgeon during the operation, ensuring that unwanted injuries are avoided.
The laparoscopic technique is ideal for treating, inter alia, the bilateral inguinal hernia, since both sides are approached using the same three small incisions and the aesthetic result is excellent.
In laparoscopic surgery, patients feel little or no post-operative pain and are able to return to their sport activities within 4 – 6 weeks. In contrast, after open surgery, patients need 3 – 4 months of stress avoidance.
In recent years there has been great clinical interest in the robotic restoration of the sport’s hernia, which is the evolution of laparoscopic treatment. The technique is safe, bloodless and uses the latest technology with minimally invasive effect on the body. It allows optimal mesh placement under stereoscopic and three-dimensional vision. Post-operative complications are minimal and recovery is immediate.
Filadelfeos & Kefalariou 1, 14562 Kifisia Athens, Greece