By: Dr. Noel Peterson
Our same-day adipose tissue graft is a natural regenerative treatment that can result in a wide range of benefits within a matter of weeks. Read on to understand the procedure we use, and why it is so effective:
The Healing Power of Nature
You can think of adipose tissue as a nursery for nurturing and storing adult mesenchymal stem cells (click here for more information on mesenchymal stem cells). Every person’s body has an abundance of these adult mesenchymal stem cells and the highest concentration is found in our own adipose (fat) tissue. The stem cell concentration in adipose tissue is more than 500-1000 times as concentrated as it is in bone marrow. That’s right, 500x-1000x more adult stem cells in the same volume of adipose tissue graft compared to bone marrow aspirate. In fact, up to 45% of the nucleated cells within the adipose tissue are pluripotent stem cells.
Studies have shown that adipose tissue graft are able to differentiate into several cell types, including cartilage (chondrocytes), heart (cardiomyocytes), vascular endothelial cells, nerve cells, hepatocytes, epithelial cells, and adipocytes, making them an important source for the treatment of a multitude of human diseases.
The procedure we use harvests a tissue complex known as adipose tissue graft. Adipose tissue harvests provide a rich tissue matrix and bio-scaffolding to aid in repair and regeneration of affected tissues. These specific tissue fractions are located within the highly vascular adipose bed and serve to nurture and protect your stem cell population. When harvested along with the stem cells, and mixed with your own platelet rich plasma, these biocellular products provide the tissue rich matrix, cytokine cell signals, and scaffolding necessary for stem cells to help repair and heal damaged and eroded cartilage. Therefore, your adipose tissue is the ideal site for harvesting stem cells.
The harvesting procedure is minimally invasive and only requires two to four small ¼” incisions. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area before the procedure. While most patients find the procedure only mildly uncomfortable, many of our patients choose to have conscious sedation during the procedure.
From start to finish the procedure will take about 2 hours. First, a 4-ounce quantity of blood is drawn. This sample will be used to extract platelet-rich plasma, which we will later mix with the adipose tissue graft to activate the stem cells. Next, a small ¼” incision is made in the skin and a specialized fat harvester is inserted and used to extract your adipose cells and tissues. We then separate and microfragment the tissue matrix. The PRP and the microfragmented tissue matrix are mixed and immediately injected into your affected area: hip joint, knee joint, back, shoulder, etc.
Post Procedure recovery can vary from patient to patient. Most of our knee and hip procedure patients are able to walk immediately after the procedure, though pain and swelling can be worse for some. Often patients feel a significant improvement within the first 10 weeks, for others, it may take 4 or more months for the body to repair their injuries. This procedure can be a viable, cost-effective alternative to surgery and drug therapy – we recommend you contact us to find out in person if this is the right procedure for you and to hear more about the results you can expect.