This exciting therapy utilizes a patient's Adipose (fat) Derived Stem Cells (ADSC) combined with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to produce a potent biological therapeutic combination. Stem cells are abundant in adipose tissue, containing from 100 to 1000 times the concentration of stem cells found in bone marrow!
ADSC provide a living bio-scaffold and a multi-potent cell replenishment source (i.e. capable of differentiating into many different cell types) useful for healing musculoskeletal disorders. These stem cells are capable of differentiating into bone, cartilage, tendon, ligament and muscle. Combined with platelet rich plasma, which contains growth factors and cytokines that stimulate the stem cells, the management of various musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoarthritis and chronic soft tissue tears/degeneration, has taken a big step forward. Furthermore, the use of ADSC and PRP together is the first non-surgical attempt to stimulate cartilage growth in knees with osteoarthritis and cartilage (meniscus) tears.
The ADSC are harvested from the subcutaneous fat of the abdomen, flank, buttock or thigh. This simple process uses local anesthetic, and usually only a small amount of fat (30cc of fat) is needed. The procedure is done in the office as an outpatient. Once harvested, your fat, containing millions of stem cells, is immediately combined with your PRP, and injected into the appropriate area. Ultrasound guidance is often used to ensure accuracy of needle placement. Average procedure time is about an hour from start to finish.
The stem cell/PRP procedure is typically followed by 1 or 2 PRP therapy 'booster shots' done about 4 weeks apart, depending on the musculoskeletal disorder being treated.
Some local discomfort and bruising at both the fat harvesting site and the injection site are normal, lasting up to 1-2 weeks. As with any procedure that penetrates the skin, there is a low risk of infection. Finally, the usual risks of liposuction that result from large amounts of fat being removed do not apply here based on the small quantity being taken. Furthermore, as local anesthetic is used, the risks that accompany general anesthesia and/or IV sedation do not apply. Learn about the risks associated with liposuction here.
Sometimes within weeks, once the post-injection discomfort passes, but the full effects of injection therapy may take several months to manifest.
For an up to date reference list, visit the US National Library of Congress' website, devoted entirely to published research on a multitude of topics, including PRP therapy. In the search window enter 'adipose derived stem cells AND...'. After the word AND, enter the topic you are interested in, such as 'Adipose Derived Stem Cells AND Osteoarthritis of the Knee'. This will return a currently published list of articles for your review.
For an up to date listing of international research projects on this topic currently underway, but not yet completed click here. Again, in the search window, enter the same search string, and you will be given an up to date list of all such research projects.
Struggling to deal with osteoarthritis, or another musculoskeletal disorder? Contact us today and get your injection therapy underway!