Fat Tissue Can Help Treat Joint Problems

Injecting your own fat tissue into the joints can help treat bone joint conditions, including injuries and osteoarthritis, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center. With the help of a new device called Lipogems, used at the time of arthroscopic surgery, researcher can now process and use a patient’s own fat tissue to provide a potential source of stem cells and growth factors to promote healing.

“Fat has long been used for support of tissue repair and replacement,” said Dr. Brian Cole, lead author of the study, in a news release. “Fat has the ability to be a source of important cells which produce important proteins involved with healing and reduction in inflammation.”

Here, fat cells are taken from the abdomen or thigh while the patient is sedated with a local anesthetic. The Lipogem procedure rinses and cleans inflammatory oils and blood from the harvested fat while keeping the natural and beneficial properties of the fat tissue, which is injected into the injured site. The procedure helps the fat tissue to remain where it is injected instead of being immediately reabsorbed by the body, allowing the body to maximize the benefits of the injection for an extended period of time. Researchers say it takes about three weeks for the tissue to promote healing and symptom reduction.