Krone: Stem Cells for the Joints – Common Questions

Problems with the knee, hip, or spine often lead to a massive reduction in the quality of life. A new method of treatment can help relieve the symptoms.

People suffering from joint problems are affected by pain and lost mobility in everyday life. Walking, climbing stairs, writing, and household activities are more or less a big challenge. Getting free of pain and being able to do sports again appears as an unrealizable dream.

Injection therapies and physiotherapy often only provide temporary relief. An artificial joint prosthesis seems to be the only available solution. However, some patients have reservations about the lengthy operation and extensive follow-up. A new treatment method with stem cells from the patient’s own fat tissue can cause a natural regeneration of the joint, DDr. Karl-Georg Heinrich, doctor from Vienna, reports.

Hope for those suffering from pain: Have causes clarified as quickly as possible, seek professional support

Stem cells are considered a great hope in medicine. How can stem cells obtained from body fat help in the treatment of the above problems?

DDr. Heinrich: I have been working with body fat since 1994. For some years we treat joints with stem cells from the fat deposits of those affected. My experience is consistent with the results of clinical trials carried out around the world: Patients treated for cartilage damage and osteoarthritis on their knees, hips, or other joints showed improvement in pain and mobility.

By transplanting the body’s own fat stem cells to the defective body parts, we support the natural ability to regenerate. In many cases joint function can be preserved and patients’ quality of life is enhanced.

Which diseases of the joints can be treated with this new method?

DDr. Heinrich: Age-related wear and sports injuries are the main reasons for pain and limited mobility. These problems are called osteoarthritis and cartilage damage. In the knee, meniscal damage often causes wear on the cartilage even in younger years.

Successful fat stem cell treatment can preserve the natural joint. This would save many people a path of suffering that often ends with an artificial joint replacement. Stem cell treatment is possible on all joints (knee, hip, shoulder, hand, spine).

How do procedure and aftercare work?

DDr. Heinrich: I first harvest a small amount of body fat in local anesthesia. This fat contains the stem cells. Subsequently, I inject these in the area of the joints to be treated. The patients are discharged home thereafter and return for check-up the next day. Protection of the joint is important to allow it to regenerate. However, patients can be spared the elaborate rehabilitation typically associated with conventional surgery.

Frequently asked question: I suffer from osteoarthritis of my knees and hips, but I am already 78 years old. Is treatment possible in higher age?

DDr. Heinrich: The stem cell treatment is basically suitable for adults of all ages with a stable state of health. It also offers people an option for whom surgery under general anesthesia is not indicated or who reject an artificial joint replacement.

DDr. Karl-Georg Heinrich,
Contact: ☎ +43 1 532 18 01,

Published in Krone on June 4, 2019.

Schedule appointment or Skype information now