Adipose tissue has many natural reparative characteristics that help support healing mechanisms throughout the body.

For some years now we have been certain, not only experimentally but also clinically, that adipose tissue contains multipotent stem cells (Fig. 1), capable of generating new mesenchymal cells such as adipose, bone or cartilage tissue.

This explains the evolution of surgical techniques such as lipofilling ( the infiltration of fat harvested and reintroduced to the same person for aesthetic purposes to fill in depressed areas or scar retractions) and intra-articular infiltration techniques of stem cells derived from adipose tissue (a well-established practice for the treatment of medium to severe arthrosis [1]).

The harvest is performed from the abdomen. The stem cells once harvested together with the adipose tissue are processed (micro-fragmented) and concentrated. Closed non-enzymatic systems are the safest and most effective means of purifying adipose tissue. [2]

Cellule staminali

The resulting stem cells and stromal niches of adipose tissue can then be injected into the joint. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia (without numbing the patient) and can be completed in approximately one hour. Recovery time after undergoing the procedure is very short. The effect of the treatment is pain relief and improved joint motility. Currently, 1/2-year follow-up results of this type of procedure are available and are very encouraging, both on the knee [3,4] and on the hip [5] and shoulder [6].

UNFORTUNATELY, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO PROVE THE LONG-TERM DURABILITY OF SUCH NON-INVASIVE TREATMENT.

TODAY, THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY to perform CRIOCONSERVATION OF YOUR OWN ADIPOSE TISSUE in a tissue bank, as is done for other human organs. THE ADVANTAGE IS THAT ONE CAN USE ONE’S OWN STEM CELLS FOR REPARATIVE OR REGENERATIVE PURPOSES IN THE FUTURE (FOR AT LEAST 5 YEARS). [7]

10 things to know if you want to cryfreeze your adipose tissue:

1)    Will I feel pain?

The procedure for freezing fat tissue is painless. It is carried out with a small procedure and light sedation.

2)    Is it a safe treatment?

The fat tissue units are harvested using a sterile closed-loop system and undergo all the safety checks on arrival at the laboratory to certify their suitability for banking.

3)    What is the appropriate age for preserving my adipose tissue?

There is no minimum or maximum age, it can be done effectively at any time from the onset of the disease.

4)     How long is the procedure?

The medical specialist will design an infiltration programme according to the subjectivity of your case and it could last up to 6 years. The tissue units will be cryopreserved for this maximum period and will be in an appropriate quantity according to the case to optimise tissue regeneration.

5)     How often should I have any check-ups?

You will need to come to the clinic at least once a year to undergo a simple infiltration of the cryopreserved adipose tissue.

6)    Will I have to request leave from work?

This is not necessary. Fat tissue harvesting is a simple surgical procedure performed in the operating theatre by a surgeon under local anaesthesia or sedation. The procedure is simple, takes about 1 hour, and you only have to be absent from work on the day of the operation, after which it is advisable to have a quiet day and avoid driving.

7)    How many times do I have to undergo this procedure? Is one time sufficient?

The purpose of cryopreservation of adipose tissue is to obtain an adequate quantity of adipose tissue units for planned infiltrations over time. Therefore, a single harvest is sufficient to carry out a therapeutic treatment over several years.

8)    Until what age can I use frozen adipose tissue?

After cryopreservation, the adipose tissue remains in the same condition without deteriorating and the passage of years does not damage it.[7] There is no age limit for tissue regeneration treatment.

9) The time has come to carry out the treatment, what do I have to do to use my tissue units?

The laboratory will thaw the requested tissue units and they will be delivered directly to the clinic where the treatment will be performed on the scheduled date.

10) I don’t want to use my cryopreserved adipose tissue. what is its destiny?

If it is decided not to use the frozen adipose tissue, the patient is free to decide what to do with it. There are two possibilities: they can be donated to science or they can be eliminated.

Bibliography

 

  1. Mesenchymal stem cells in joint disease and repair. Barry F, Murphy M. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013;9:584–594.
  1. The efficacy of different sources of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Shariatzadeh M, Song J, Wilson SL. Cell Tissue Res. 2019;378:399–410
  1. Safety and Efficacy of Percutaneous Injection of Lipogems Micro-Fractured Adipose Tissue for Osteoarthritic Knees. Panchal J, Malanga G, Sheinkop M. Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2018 Nov;47(11).
  1. Autologous Micro-Fragmented Adipose Tissue (MFAT) to Treat Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis: Early Outcomes of a Consecutive Case Series. Van Genechten W, Vuylsteke K, Martinez PR, Swinnen L, Sas K, Verdonk P. J Clin Med. 2021 May 21;10(11):2231.
  1. Mesenchymal Stem Cells injection in hip osteoarthritis: preliminary results. Dall’Oca C, Breda S, Elena N, Valentini R, Samaila EM, Magnan B. Acta Biomed. 2019 Jan 10;90(1-S):75-80.
  2. Clinical use of autologous micro-fragmented fat progressively restores pain and function in shoulder osteoarthritis. Vinet-Jones H, F Darr K. Regen Med. 2020 Oct; 15(10):2153 – 2161.

Book online