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Dr

People are now living longer, more active lives. Those who suffer from cartilage damage to a joint, such as the knee, hip, shoulder, or ankle, may be unable to remain active at the desired level, and functional limitations may increase over time.

These pathologies often negatively impact a person’s quality of life, frequently limiting activities of daily living and the ability to work. The intrinsic regenerative capacity of cartilage is extremely limited, therefore, injury to articular cartilage may lead to progressive degenerative changes, potentially resulting in the development of advanced osteoarthritis.

In the early stages of cartilage injury, therapies may focus on symptomatic relief. With more advanced cartilage pathology, there may be need for complex surgical procedures. In cases of severe degenerative changes, a total joint replacement may be the sole remaining option to relieve pain and restore function.

 

Figure 1: Comparison between a healthy knee (a) and a knee afftected by arthrosis (b). Articular cartilage wear and subchondral bone reaction is highlighted in the affected knee.

Recent studies have provided evidence that new techniques in ‘bio-orthopaedics’ have the capacity to assist with cartilage regeneration, and have the potential to slow the progression of arthrosis and improve clinical outcomes. One such treatment in the field of regenerative medicine that has been a focus of recent research is mesenchymal stem cell therapy.

Various modalities of mesenchymal stem cell therapy have demonstrated potential for providing clinical improvement in cases of degenerative joint changes and osteoarthritis. These cells can be easily obtained from adipose (fat) tissue, regardless of patient age. Due to the availability of this tissue, it is possible to immediately use the cells without needing to cultivate them in a laboratory.

 

WHAT IS LIPOGEMS AND WHAT IS ITS FUNCTION?

Figure 2: The kit for aspirating adipose tissue with LIPOGEMS

The LIPOGEMS system is a disposable kit for lipo-aspiration, preparation, and grafting of adipose tissue obtained from the same patient. The entire procedure is completed in one session as an outpatient. This system reduces the adipose tissue into small fragments, which are then purified of any remaining fatty residue or blood. The processing of adipose tissue is done in a closed system, completely immersed in a physiological solution to minimize cell trauma and to avoid oxidation of the cell population within the adipose tissue. The product obtained using the LIPOGEMS system conserves the biological characteristics of natural adipose tissue, and also allows for the injection of purified cells via a thin needle due to the reduction process.

 

LIPOGEMS, in addition to containing a high concentration of mesenchymal stem cells for the purposes of tissue regeneration, provides a cellular suspension after processing that acts in a visco-supplementary role. The procedure is conducted under local anaesthesia as an outpatient. Approximately 60cc of adipose tissue is aspirated from the abdomen or thigh. The aspirated fat undergoes processing in the LIPOGEMS system in order to produce the injectable suspension of mesenchymal stem cells. The suspension is then injected into the symptomatic joint. We recommend a rest period of 24-48 hours after the procedure to reduce the occurrence of inflammation, and advise the application of ice to the area several times per day.

Figure 4: LIPOGEMS device.

Figure 3: Part of the LIPOGEMS procedure undertaken by our Foundation.

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