Using a small liposuction procedure, the physicians extracted the adipose tissue (fat), from which they harvested the stem cells. The team had developed a specific scalpel into which the stem cells were placed. During the procedure, 3D images from the patient’s CT scans reconstructed an exact match of the patient’s bone structure, which allowed the physicians to place the scalpel and stem cells exactly in the damaged part of the knee. The stem cells allow for new cartilage growth, and the incisions for this procedure were much smaller than the incisions made for a total knee replacement procedure. Dr. Szivek states that it may be years before this procedure is available to arthritic patients.
Dr. Dennis Lox, a physical medicine and regenerative medicine specialist in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, states that there are many up-and-coming possible treatment modalities for osteoarthritis of the knee incorporating regenerative medicine technology. Dr. Lox predicts that modifications to existing surgical devices will ultimately incorporate regenerative medicine technologies.
“Currently, platelet rich plasma is being utilized in the operating room to speed recovery,” said Dr. Lox. “As future developments are undertaken, consideration for synergistic regenerative medicine and stem cell technologies will be a natural consideration.”
Dr. Lox reports that studies being conducted around the world have been utilizing stem cell products in osteoarthritis and other joints besides just the knee. As further clinical information becomes available, more treatment options will become viable.
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Dennis M. Lox, M.D. is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Since 1990, he has used sports medicine techiques and cutting-edge technology to help heal musculoskeletal injuries and relieve pain.