These stem cell treatments are actually comprehensive regenerative treatments that use the patient’s adipose or fat tissue to repair damaged tissues. Fat is biologically active; it forms an environment rich in stem and other cells that promote healing. Researchers have been aware of the healing power of fat since the time of World War I when it was used to help heal soldiers’ wounds. Today, physicians are using fat to repair tissue damaged by arthritis.
During the procedure, fat is drawn from the abdomen or thigh using local anesthesia. The fat is then placed in a Lipogems® device that cleans and separates the inflammatory oils and blood from the beneficial components of the fat tissue. Using ultrasound guidance for precision, the processed mixture, or lipoaspirate, is then injected into the injured area. The injected cells are not reabsorbed by the body, but remain at the injection site, providing cushioning and support for damaged tissue while the body heals itself. Most Lipogems® treatments are performed on an outpatient basis and take about an hour. The procedure can also be used in conjunction with surgical treatment to help the body repair damaged tissue.
Dr. Baker currently offers Lipogems® treatment at The Hughston Clinic. However, as most insurance companies do not yet cover the procedure, the patient is responsible for the full cost which can range from $3,500 to $4,500. Interested patients can make an appointment with Dr. Baker to find out whether the procedure is right for them. Patients are encouraged to bring recent x-rays and MRIs with them, but should be aware that further imaging studies may be required.