Avoid the hospital and try Lipogems, a minimally invasive, FDA approved option that can be performed at Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics.
We very recently added the revolutionary Lipogems procedure to our list of service offerings. Lipogems, in a nutshell, is an FDA approved technology that addresses arthritis and other damaged musculoskeletal tissues.
Lipogems is a system that gently processes your own powerful fat using only saline to wash away impurities. This collected fat is then sized and filtered and strategically injected into the injured area to support the repair, replacement, and reconstruction of damaged or injured tissue.
Benefits of Lipogems
- Simple and quick procedure: The minimally invasive procedure can be performed in less than an hour in the physician’s office or in a surgical setting.
- Minimal downtime after the procedure.
- Minimal pain medication is needed after the procedure.
- Multiple orthopaedic uses: Your own microfragmented fat (Mfat) may be injected into multiple areas at the same time.
- No risk of rejection or infection since you are using your own tissue.
- Lipogems supports the healing process of damaged or injured tissue: Your processed fat (microfragmented fat) provides cushioning to support the healing process of damaged or injured tissue.
- Over 50,000 procedures performed worldwide with a low rate of minor complications and no major complications reported.
- Offered by leading orthopaedic physicians around the world.
- One-time procedure for the majority of people
- Cheaper than the out-of-pocket cost of major orthopaedic surgery
To paint a clearer picture of this new, exciting orthopaedic service, the following is a question-and-answer session featuring our own Lipogems certified doctor, Joshua Siegel, MD, who is one of the first in the state of New Hampshire and region to provide this service.
Why are people not ready for major invasive surgery?
Siegel: People are trying to avoid surgery for a variety of reasons. Maybe the patient tried conservative options but had limited relief, Maybe the orthopaedic issue has not progressed enough to have major surgery, maybe the patient is too young to undergo a joint replacement surgery that may last only 15-20 years. Occasionally, patients may be too ill or too infirmed for such major surgery. Some patients have such busy lifestyles that they lack the time needed to take off after major surgery. Some patients only want natural options instead of major surgery. Presently, many patients would like to avoid the hospital right now due to COVID-19.
Are corticosteroids a good option if I am not ready for major invasive surgery?
Siegel: Corticosteroids are short-acting pain relievers requiring patients to come in multiple times for injections. Although widely used, it’s important to avoid long term use of corticosteroids as they have been shown to damage cartilage. Recent studies found that corticosteroid injections speed the loss of cartilage that cushions the knee1,2 and have a high complication rate (8%)3. If possible, I prefer to heal the tissue rather than mask the pain.
Why are you using the patient’s own fat tissue?
Siegel: Fat is a very powerful tissue that has been used for injury repair since World War I! Many patients do not know how powerful fat really is. Studies have shown that the quantity of their fat does not decline with age as it does with other tissue sources.3,4,5,6
Collecting fat is simple and minimally invasive when compared to harvesting other tissues such as bone marrow. There is minimal—if any—risk of rejection. Since fat is a structural tissue, it provides cushion and support, allowing it to assist the healing of the damaged or injured tissue, unlike many blood or other liquid injections.
What is Lipogems and is it FDA cleared for use in orthopaedics?
Siegel: Yes, Lipogems is FDA cleared for use in orthopaedics and arthroscopic surgery and has strong scientific evidence with 100+ peer-reviewed publications with up to three years of evidence. Lipogems provides patients a natural, FDA approved option that can be performed using minimally invasive techniques in under an hour. Lipogems uses the patient’s own fat, and the patented system processes and resizes the tissue using only saline in minutes. The processed tissue is called microfragmented fat (Mfat) and is injected into areas to help provide cushion to support the healing of damaged or injured tissue. It also provides cellular biologic benefits to the tissue it supports.
What are the potential benefits of Lipogems compared to major invasive surgery?
Siegel: Lipogems is a minimally invasive, minor procedure with little or no downtime and has minimal risk. That is compared to major surgery with all its pain, downtime, blood loss, and other risks including infection and failure of the procedure. With Lipogems, multiple areas can be treated during the same procedure with minimal additional pain, time, or discomfort. It’s very common for patients to have multiple degenerative joints as they age, and Lipogems is an excellent option to address many of these at the same time.
As a researcher and clinician, I have evaluated the evidence. There have been over 50,000 Lipogems procedures performed with a low reported rate of minor complications (1-2%) and no major complications. The procedure is usually a “one and done,” making it economical. Utilizing Lipogems many times may be cheaper than the out-of-pocket costs of major orthopaedic surgery and may be used in multiple sites in the same setting. Even with the best insurance plans, the cost of major orthopaedic surgery is very expensive and the recovery period is cumbersome and lengthy. Patients are busy and like that there is minimal downtime or pain with the Lipogems procedure.
Is there any evidence or research about Lipogems?
Lipogems is at the forefront of research and is committed to delivering ethical and responsible science. There are over 100+ publications in peer-reviewed journals with up to three years of evidence. The majority (~97%) of the studies were performed independently without company funding at leading institutions worldwide (ex. NYU, University of Pittsburgh, and Harvard/Spaulding). Leading publications, physicians, and researchers have presented at scientific and orthopaedic societies worldwide.
Will someone need major orthopaedic surgery in the future?
It’s important to know that, like everything in medicine, results may vary. You may or may not need major orthopaedic surgery in the future. However, Lipogems is a great option if you are still suffering after attempting conservative or arthroscopic treatments, and/or if your major orthopaedic surgery has been canceled or delayed.
1. McAlindon TE et al. Effect of Intra-articular Triamcinolone vs Saline on Knee Cartilage Volume and Pain in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2017 May 16;317(19):1967-1975.
2. Kompel A et al. Intra-articular Corticosteroid Injections in the Hip and Knee: Perhaps Not as Safe as We Thought? Radiology. Dec 2019.
3. https://www.niams.nih.gov/newsroom/spotlight-on-research/long-term-benefit-steroid-injections-knee-osteoarthritis-challenged. Accessed on April 20, 2020.
4. Beane, O.S., et al. (2014). “Impact of aging on the regenerative properties of bone marrow-, muscle-, and adipose-derived mesenchymal stem/ stromal cells.” PloS one 9.12. e115963.
5. Stolzing, A., et al. (2008). “Age-related changes in human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells: consequences for cell therapies.” Mechanisms of aging and development 129.3: 163-173.
6. Kern, S., et al. (2006). “Comparative analysis of mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, or adipose tissue.” Stem cells 24.5: 1294-1301
Individual results vary. Not all patients will have the same post-procedure recovery and activity level. See your physician to discuss your potential benefits and risks. The Lipogems System is a sterile medical device intended for the closed-loop processing of your own fat tissue in medical procedures involving the harvesting, concentrating, and transferring of your own fat (adipose) tissue harvested with a legally marketed lipoplasty system. This can be a minimally invasive procedure that’s done in the office, to support soft tissue defects and may promote healing in orthopaedics and arthroscopic surgery. Lipogems may or may not be appropriate for all patients. Like any medical procedure, there is a risk for soreness, redness, swelling, and/or pain. These procedures require needle access (size, location, and depth vary depending on the procedure), and this may result in (but not limited to), discomfort, pain, apprehension, bruising, tenderness, bleeding, swelling, or infiltration at the injection site. Other symptoms that may occur include lightheadedness, fainting, nausea, or vomiting. There is a slight risk of infection at the injection site and has minimal risk of adverse reactions or complications as with any other injection procedure. Since the fat is from your own body, there is little concern of disease transmission, allergic reaction, or tissue rejection. For patients with chronic medical conditions such as autoimmune, diabetes, heart or lung disease, circulatory diseases, or obesity, extreme caution may be necessary. There are rare but possible risks and complications due to fat transfer including an allergic reaction to the local anesthetic, damage to underlying structures, hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal), changes in sensation, unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures, permanent discoloration caused by a ruptured blood vessel at the treatment site, calcification, a divot in the area of the tissue harvest, perioperative bleeding, a blood clot at the treatment or donor site, an infection, scar tissue, and a fat embolism caused by a fat injection mistakenly directed into a blood vessel, and death. The information presented is for educational purposes only. Speak to your doctor to decide if Lipogems procedure is appropriate for you. Individual results vary, and not all patients will return to the same activity level. The lifetime of any procedure is limited and depends on several factors like patient weight and activity level. Your doctor will counsel you about strategies for your post-procedural care. It’s important to closely follow your physician’s instructions regarding post-procedure activity, treatment, and follow-up care. Ask your doctor if Lipogems procedure is right for you. Lipogems or other corporate affiliated entities own, use, or have applied for the following trademarks or service marks: Lipogems. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners or holders.