Thanks to a new treatment method, many patients can be spared a stressful surgery.
Nowadays almost one in six people in Austria suffers from joint problems. Stem cell injections from the patient’s own adipose tissue can relieve discomfort.
Those affected from joint problems complain about severe pain and movement restrictions due to wear and injuries – usually in the knees or hips. But medicine has come a long way towards achieving the goal of regenerating damaged joints, using stem cells from the body’s own adipose tissue.
“For about 10 years, we know that body fat contains stem cells that play an important role in the healing of tissue,” says DDr. Karl-Georg Heinrich from Vienna. Everybody has a large supply of these special cells in the body’s fat deposits. The medical benefit of body fat is in the focus of DDr. Heinrich’s work in his clinic in Vienna.
Worldwide, the regenerative potential of fat stem cells for the treatment of joint problems such as osteoarthritis or cartilage damage is being investigated in clinical trials. Researchers found that many patients experienced an improvement in pain symptoms and mobility after having received a stem cell treatment. “By transplanting the affected person’s fat stem cells to the damaged joint, we support a natural healing mechanism and help the body remedy the cause of the problem,” explains DDr. Heinrich. As a result, damaged joints can regenerate up to a certain level. This not only works for knee or hip joints, but also for all other joints (such as fingers, shoulders, and the spine).
Under local anesthesia, the doctor obtains a small amounts of the patient’s body fat. Immediately afterwards the stem cells contained in the body are injected in the areas to be treated. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and the patient is then discharged home. The next day the patient comes for a check-up.
“Ideally, as a result of the stem cell treatment, the pain subsides and the joint becomes mobile again,” says the doctor. This is confirmed by international scientific studies.
This therapy is basically suitable for adults of all ages and with a good general state of health. For those affected, the regained mobility means a gain in autonomy and quality of life.
“Treating the damaged body parts with autologous stem cells could help many patients retain their natural joints,” says DDr. Heinrich. This would save people who suffer from osteoarthritis and joint damage from undergoing stressful surgeries under general anesthesia and the associated long period of time needed for recovery.
DDr. Karl-Georg Heinrich,
Contact: ☎ +43 1 532 18 01,
Published in Krone on April 2, 2019.