Treatment of bone joint injuries and osteoarthritis through the body fat

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Treatment of bone joint injuries and osteoarthritis through the body fat

Body fat can now be effective in treating conditions of the bone joints like injuries or osteoarthritis (OA). OA is caused by wear and tear in the tissue between joints and affects 27 million people worldwide. A recently developed device capable to gently suctions, processes and uses a patient's fat tissue to give a possible source of stem cells and growth factors to encourage healing.

Orthopedic physicians at Rush University Medical Center are the first sports medicine specialists in the Midwest that offered treatment with the device, called Lipogems. It was used at the time of arthroscopic surgery and got approval by FDA in November 2016.

This technology is optimal for patients suffering from certain orthopedic conditions like painful joints – including the knee, ankle or shoulder, having the narrow range of motion. It can also be used for defects in the soft tissue of tendons, ligaments, and/or muscles, where it is helpful in improving the biologic environment as explained by Dr. Brian Cole, professor of orthopedic surgery and section head of the Rush Cartilage Restoration Center at Rush University Medical Center.

Professor Cole also said that fat had been used in support of tissue repair and replacement, for a long time. Fat can act as a component of important cells, that produces important proteins involved in healing and reducing inflammation. Fat cells liposuction of abdomen or thigh is done using Lipogems system, while the local anesthesia is used for patient sedation.

The Lipogem procedure involves harvesting of fat, from which inflammatory oils and blood are rinsed out and cleaned. It maintains the natural and beneficial properties of the fat tissue, which are injected into the injured site. This whole procedure from harvesting to the injection is completed within 30 minutes.

The body does not immediately reabsorb fat tissue, but it tends to remain in the area where it is injected. This enables the body to enlarge the benefits of the injection for the long duration. Following injection; the tissue promotes healing and symptom reduction as early as three weeks after treatment.

According to Cole, Lipogems treatment is an option, when the standard treatment approaches like physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or steroid injections are not able to provide significant relief. It is beneficial, and alternative treatment for people who are not able to undergo surgery, or Lipogems can be used in combination with their surgery,"

Dr. Cole was the first doctor in Chicago to use Lipogems in tandem with arthroscopic surgery, which he conducted on a patient with knee arthritis. Cole believes that while he and his team were thinking about the timing of employing this technology to be sure there were no important safety issues, they are now eager to investigate the effectiveness of this innovative treatment."

Cole and his teammates are also interested in performing and studying the Lipogem procedure as an addition to other soft-tissue problems such as rotator cuff tears and tendon or ligament injury.

Dr. Cole and his group are excited to make this novel alternative treatment available to the patients. They are conducting ongoing basic science and clinical research trials on patients with knee arthritis and other similar conditions, to examine the function of stem cells and growth factors that are present in the small blood vessels in fat.


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The original title of the article:

Body fat can help treat bone joint injuries and osteoarthritis


Dr. Brian Cole et al.

Exploratory, Bone Joint Injuries, Osteoarthritis
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