In a recent observational study by Heidari et al. (2020), 110 patients (age 42 to 94) underwent a microfragmented adipose tissue (MFAT) injection for knee osteoarthritis. Patients had varying degrees of knee osteoarthritis with most patients having advanced knee osteoarthritis. Over 80% of patients had some degree of joint space narrowing or spurring on x-rays.
A liposuction procedure was performed and processed with the Lipogems system creating a refined microfragmented adipose tissue (MFAT) product that was injected under ultrasound guidance into the knee. The average medial pain score improved from the equivalent of a 7/10 to a 3/10 in intensity, and patients had improved function (using the Oxford Knee Scores). There were no adverse events reported during the intraoperative, recovery or postoperative periods.
In this study, the authors found that 81% of patients had a reduction in pain and improvement in function with a single autologous MFAT procedure with Lipogems. Even patients with higher grades of arthritis demonstrated an improvement in pain and function. The authors concluded that “the results are encouraging and suggest a positive role for intra-articular injection of MFAT as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis.”
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent form of arthritis, and is characterized by chronic progressive degeneration of the articular cartilage of the joint.
What is a mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)?
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are also referred to as mesenchymal stromal cells or medicinal signaling cells. MSCs are thought to be a powerful therapeutic tool against tissue damage and degeneration (Chahla et al, 2016; Herberts et al, 2011; Burke et al, 2016).
Is adipose tissue a potential source of MSCs?
Adipose tissue has been recognized as a reliable and potent source for MSCs (Pittenger, 1999; Buttgereit et al, 2015; Hunter & Bierma-Zeinstra, 2019). Lipogems is FDA-cleared device for processing and same-day injection of adipose.
How does this article advance our knowledge of regenerative medicine?
Given that arthritis is such a prevalent condition and a general desire from patients potentially prevent or delay knee replacement surgery it is important to identify the efficacy of various regenerative procedures.
In this study, adipose-derived MSCs from the Lipogems procedure showed “encouraging and suggest a positive role for intra-articular injection of MFAT as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis” (Heidari et al, 2020).
More information on Lipogems here.
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