Stem Cell Treatments – Potential Fountain of Youth
It’s been observed for years that facial fat grafting resulted in improved skin texture & appearance, which we now understand is due to stem cells & other growth factors that are contained in the transplanted fat.
Stem cells have the ability to regenerate different types of tissue. These special cells are attracted to areas of injury & disease where they can change into a variety of cell and tissue types—including bone, cartilage, blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and skin. Stem cell treatments 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.
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.
Obtaining fat is less painful than harvesting bone marrow and it 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, many tend to also have arthritis or other degenerative problems. Because I had patients and family members with severe arthritis in their knees but did not want knee replacement surgery, and I had over 30 years experience injecting knees, I slowly started providing this fat-derived healing factor treatment about 3 years ago.
The first person that I treated with stem cells isolated from fat, had severe bone-on-bone arthritis in his knees, but continues to be almost pain-free 2 years after the treatment, and bicycles daily.
Another patient 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. That surgery would have caused him to lose at least a couple of months of work. I treated the project manager's knees and he was back on a roof working the next morning (I don't recommend that).
My eighty year-old dad had both of his knees replaced long before stem cell treatments were an option, and had been having pain above the replacements where the bone was breaking down. About six months ago I put some of his stem cells into the weakened areas of bone and, knock on wood, he’s had no pain since.
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.