• Fat-derived stem cells and healing factors obtained from fat may improve arthritis symptoms

Stem Cells and Healing Factors From Your Own Body Can Potentially Help You Postpone a Knee Replacement

It was observed for years that facial fat grafting resulted in improved skin texture & appearance, and it was just in the last few years that we've learned that this improvement is due to stem cells & other growth and healing factors that are contained and released from the transplanted fat.

Stem cells, and probably even more important, some of the growth and healing factors found in fat, have the ability to stimulate the regeneration of different types of tissues, including cartilage, muscle, bone and fat.

When stem cells and healing factors and are obtained from your fat or your bone marrow, and then injected back into your body, they're attracted to the signals coming from areas of injury or disease. The multiple substances included with and/or released by the stem cells have shown promising results in multiple medical conditions including severe arthritis & orthopedic injuries, cardiac disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and more. 

In musculoskeletal conditions, stem cell treatments have been successfully used to promote healing of fractures and, when injected into injured or degenerated knee, elbow, shoulder, and hip joints, to stimulate cartilage growth, decrease pain, and increase function.

Many people still don’t know that bone marrow transplants, which have been safely used since the fifties, are a type of stem cell therapy. After World War II and the atomic bomb, research was begun to find a way to replace bone marrow destroyed by radiation, since without bone marrow, blood cells aren’t produced. Bone marrow transplant therapy was eventually developed that restored blood-making capabilities and was successful because of the rich source of stem cells in the marrow.

It’s now known that stem cells are found in multiple sources in the body, but two of the richest tissues in adults are bone marrow and fat. Fat makes up around 15-20% of the body weight of an average person and most people wouldn’t mind sacrificing a few ounces.

Stem cells taken from fat helped our patient avoid a knee replacement

Our patient waves to the camera as fat is removed for a stem cell. healing factor treatment to his knee

Obtaining fat through a mini-liposuction procedure is relatively simple, and fat contains more mesenchymal stem cells (that can differentiate into multiple types of cells) than does bone marrow, especially after middle age. Even teeth contain stem cells that can be used for therapeutic purposes.

Since many of our patients are seeking aesthetic treatments to correct the results of aging, they're also at an age where they may have arthritis or other degenerative problems. 

Because I had patients and family members with severe arthritis in their knees who were looking for alternatives to knee replacement surgery, and I had over 30 years experience performing treatments on the knees, I slowly started providing this fat-derived healing factor treatment about three and a half years ago.

The first person that I treated with stem cells and healing factors isolated from fat, was my uncle, had severe bone-on-bone arthritis in his knees and had been postponing knee replacements for over a year. Immediately after the treatment, he helped me replace the door on my office refrigerator. Two and a half years later he continues to rate his knee pain and functional improvement at 90%, and plans on repeating the treatment when he can no longer ride his bike around the neighborhood daily.

Another patient who I treated owns a construction company, and after I’d treated his severe knee arthritis and achilles tendonitis with fat-derived stem cells & healing factors, he sent me one of his most valuable project managers, who had been told he needed both knees replaced.

Knee replacement surgery would have caused the manager to lose at least a couple of months of work and the company owner was willing to help pay for a stem cell treatment like he'd received, to avoid losing his top manager. The manager received stem cells to both of his knees and was back at work installing a roof the next morning (I don't recommend that and of course, individual results vary).  

Stem cell treatments can postpone knee replacement surgery

Dr. Elliott's dad, immediately after a stem cell and healing factor injection to the bone above his knee replacement.

My eighty year-old dad had both of his knees replaced about fifteen years ago, before stem cell treatments were an option. He'd developed pain and a thinning of the bone (called osteolysis) just above one of his knee replacements, and had been told that he'd have to undergo a repeat knee replacement.

In Feb. of 2017, I took some fat from his abdomen, removed the stem cells and healing factors, and injected them into the area of bone that was breaking down above the replacement and causing pain.

Since a couple of weeks after the treatment he's had no more knee pain, and the MRI done in July by his orthopedic surgeon, showed that the bone density had returned to the area where the bone had been thinning previously. 

I definitely don’t have anything close to the knowledge or experience an orthopedic surgeon or experienced regenerative physician has, and I recommend that patients interested in these treatments consult with one. Stem cell treatments are still, to a degree, investigative procedures, and like all medical treatments, have no guarantees and some risks. Stem cell treatments are also so far not covered by insurance.

But with the improvement increasingly seen from stem cell treatments for multiple medical conditions, I’d encourage anyone with a medical problem that isn’t improving with other treatments, to look into whether there’s been promising results with their specific condition.

Our goal is to help people look & feel better both from the outside as well as the inside, so we offer regenerative therapies including fat-derived stem cells & PRP (platelet rich plasma).

Harvesting and Storing Adult Stem Cells

The procedure for fat-derived stem cell therapy involves obtaining a few ounces of fat by mini-liposuction done with local anesthetic, separating out the stem cells from the fat, and returning them either by IV or injection. The entire process takes less than three hours.The stem cells obtained from the adipose or fatty tissue processed in the laboratory at Skinspirations can be added to more of a patient’s body fat for injection immediately to make the injection more long-lasting, or they can be frozen for future use in a variety of medical applications We also can send the harvested stem cells to a stem cell storage provider to be available for the patient’s future needs.

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