Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that utilizes the body’s natural healing ability to repair and regenerate damaged or diseased cells, tissues and organs.
Stem cells are the body’s unspecialized cells that can multiply and differentiate into other cell types. They are present in the human embryo, where they differentiate and divide to form the various tissues of the body. They later get distributed throughout the body in specific pockets of tissues such as the bone marrow, blood and adipose tissue (fat), and function to renew old and worn out tissue cells.
This amazing potential has been used in stem cell therapy to heal and treat dying, damaged or diseased tissue. The goal of stem cell therapy is to amplify the natural repair system by harvesting stem cells from a site, and reinjecting them at sites that require repair and regeneration.
Adipose tissue has a high concentration of stem cells and is easy to harvest, so is often preferred for stem cell therapy.
Stem cells are used in regenerative medicine to renew and repair diseased or damaged tissue, and have shown promising results in treatment of various orthopedic, cardiovascular, neuromuscular and autoimmune conditions.
Stem cell therapy in Orthopaedics is used to treat various degenerative conditions of the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle, and spine. It is also used for muscle, ligament, tendon and bone-related injuries.
A suitable area for extracting fat, either from the abdomen, buttock or thigh, is chosen and anesthetized. An adequate amount of fat is obtained from just below the skin with the help of a small cannula. The extracted fat is centrifuged to obtain a concentrate of fat stem cells. Blood is then drawn and a concentrate of blood platelets, which contains a high level of growth factors, is usually separated. A mixture of the fat-derived stem cells and the growth factors is then returned to the body through an intravenous line or directly injected into the area to be treated. When targeting deep tissues, stem cell injection is guided by live imaging studies. The procedure takes about an hour after which you may return to your regular activities.
You may experience some soreness at the injection sites. Recovery varies depending on the site of injection, but in most cases, you will leave the facility in a few hours and are able to return to work in 2 or 3 days.
The advantages of adipose-derived stem cells include
- Stem cells are easily harvested from adipose tissue through a less painful and minimally invasive technique with minimal risk to the patient.
- Due to the high concentration of stem cells in adipose tissue, the harvested cells do not have to be cultured to increase their numbers.
- Adipose tissue-derived stem cells have an increased potential for regeneration of blood vessels which helps carry oxygen and nutrients necessary for tissue healing.
- It is a safe process without the risk of cell rejection or transmission of diseases as the fat cells are removed from owns own body.
Risks and complications
Stem cell therapy is generally considered a safe procedure with minimal complications, however, as with any medical procedure, complications can occur and may include:
- Infection of the tissues while aspirating or injecting stem cells.
- Contamination during the preparation process.