Krone: Fat for the Joints?

Positive experiences from veterinary medicine with special stem cells in the treatment of osteoarthritis can obviously also be used for humans

Author: Dr. Wolfgang Exel

It worked in dogs and racing horses: Stem cells taken from the animal’s own fat could actually improve damaged joints in four-legged top athletes. For a number of years, such experiments have also been successful in humans, as authors of international studies confirm.

Stem cells from fat tissue must not be confused with those obtained from embryos. However, the so-called mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from fat tissue are likely to play an important role in the regeneration of worn cartilage and bones.

One of the first doctors who used fat therapeutically is DDr. Karl-Georg Heinrich. Amongst others he specializes in liposuction and is convinced of the benefits of the stem cells contained in the fat: “We have used MSC for over 10 years in breast augmentation and skin regeneration.”

DDr. Heinrich observed that MSC injections in the vicinity of joints also led to an improvement of chronic joint problems. He found out that MSC have already been successfully used internationally in animal studies as well as in human clinical trials.

The procedure: A small amount of fat is taken from the abdominal or hip area under local anesthesia. This fat is used to isolate the mesenchymal stem cells, which are subsequently injected into the affected joint areas (mainly knees, hips, hands, fingers). The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and the patients are discharged home afterwards.

Critics point out that there is still too little experience with this method. DDr. Heinrich: “Fat contains a large amount of stem cells. For more than 100 years, the patient’s own stem cells have been transplanted without problems when fat injections were carried out. The patient’s own cells are one of the safest ways of treatment in medicine!”

The Viennese doctor though explains the limitations: “Of course, there is no guarantee of cure. However, according to many research studies, most patients report pain relief and significantly improved mobility. I believe that this therapy could spare many people a long path of suffering that eventually leads to an artificial joint.”

DDr. Karl-Georg Heinrich,
General Practitioner from Vienna.

Published in Krone Gesund on January 21, 2017.

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