Stem Cells

Fat-tissue derived adult stem cells can be harvested and placed into joints for the purpose of regenerating injured and arthritic joints.

We take advantage of the fact that adult stem cells that occur in tissues and organs throughout the body retain their regenerative capabilities throughout their life. Bone marrow and fat tissue have the structural and cellular elements that make them the best sites for cell harvesting in clinical regenerative applications.

Stem Cell Harvesting

Stem cells harvested from fat tissue can develop into a wide variety of adult cell types such as muscle, bone, cartilage, tendon and ligament. It is also apparent that fat-derived stem cells can develop into liver cells, nerve and other tissues under the right conditions. Fat tissue is a favoured site for harvesting cells for clinical purposes because cells:
  • are harvested with minimal invasiveness to the patient;
  • are found in abundant numbers;
  • can be safely and effectively transplanted; and
  • are suitable for treating ligament, tendon, cartilage bone and other tissues.

The stem cells used in clinical point-of-care facilities are harvested from the patient, to be transplanted in the same time session back into the patient. This is called autologous stem cell transplantation. Autologous means that the donor and recipient is the same individual.

Stem Cell Procedure

Autologous stem cell transplantation is provided for the intention of joint and connective tissue regeneration. It involves the following processes;
  • harvesting fat from the available sites (liposuction of the abdomen, flanks or buttocks);
  • extracting the stem and other regenerative cells from the fat; and
  • administering the cells back to the patient into the ligaments, tendons or joints.

The procedure is performed in a procedure room under sterile conditions with patient draped. Then 60 ml of blood is drawn from the patient. This is spun and separated to yield Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP).

Then liposuction is performed to the abdomen, flanks or buttocks of the patient. Specially engineered equipment is used to minimize damage to the stem cells during harvesting.

Once the fat is harvested, the patient is cleaned, any wound is dressed, the drapes are removed and the patient can get up and move around. The patient will be made comfortable in a reclining chair where they await the final phase of the procedure, which is cell implantation.

The next step is to extract the stem cells and other regenerative cells from the harvested fat tissue. This is a multi-step process that is performed in a sterile chamber and takes 90 minutes.

The PRP is mixed with the stem cell concentrate. The platelets release many growth factors and chemical messengers that help to activate stem cells.

In order to encourage the injected cells to stay in the environment of the joint space, they are attached to a scaffold that binds them. The scaffold is a small quantity of unprocessed fat from the liposuction.

Thus a mixture of fat cells, PRP and stem cell concentrate is then injected into the joint space under ultrasound guidance.

What to Expect After the Procedure?

The joint may be stiff and sore for a few days and then the anti-inflammatory phase of the transplant manifests in the joint feeling less painful. The full effect of the implantation takes up to 12 weeks to develop. From the worldwide data on such procedures, there is an 80% chance of obtaining improvements in moderately to mildly affected joints.

Follow-up visits will be arranged the following day, a month following the procedure, and then 3 months later again, depending on the patient’s needs.

For more details download our brochure.