Stem cells have a variety of uses – from combating aging effects to providing healing benefits for chronic illnesses such as heart failure. A common misconception is that the only types of stem cells viable are embryonic or those taken from umbilical cord blood, but that’s not the case. Adult stem cells come from fat or bone marrow and provide a more convenient alternative for stem cell benefits. So, what is this process called, and what should you expect?
What are adult stem cells?
Stem cells are cells that are characterized by the ability to renew themselves through cell division and have the potential to develop into different cell types. They come from a number of sources, including embryos, umbilical cord blood, and fat. Stem cells have two important characteristics:
1. They have the ability to replicate. Stem cells can create an infinite number of copies made from the same cell.
2. Stem cells have the ability to become other types of cells. This includes the potential to create an infinite number of the new cell type.
Stem cells that have differentiated or developed from a stage where it can be any cell in the body to a stage where it is prepared to become new cells of a certain type are called adult stem cells. Adult stem cells have been shown to de-differentiate and thus become other types of tissues. That means that they not only replicate and replace healthy cells, but they can also replace the surrounding tissues.
Where do adult stem cells come from?
Adult stem cells commonly come from two main sources – fat and bone marrow. When extracting stem cells from bone marrow, it’s known as a bone marrow transplant – or stem cell transplant. Extracting stem cells from fat is known as adipose-derived stem cells. Contrary to other tissues, stem cells from fat are easier to obtain and more abundant – making adipose-derived stem cells the most viable option.
What conditions do adult stem cells help?
There are a variety of conditions where stem cells are viable options as a solution. Some of the most common are:
- Sports or muscle injuries
- Neurological disorders
- Autoimmune diseases – including rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease
- Erectile dysfunction
- Peyronie’s disease
- Heart disease
- Vascular disease
- Lung disease
- Eye disease
- Skin disease
For more information about stem cell therapy, visit our page.
How are adult stem cells harvested from fat?
Harvesting adult stem cells from fat is typically a safe procedure, and patients often experience little discomfort and quick recovery times. First, an area such as the stomach or leg is picked to remove the fat. The harvest site is sterilized, and a local anesthetic is then injected into the area. Fat is suctioned using a special syringe and cannula. During a typical harvest, about 50 ml — or 1 1.2 oz. — of fat are extracted.
After the harvested cells have been extracted, a centrifuge and incubator are used to do some simple processing. The processing isolates the adult stem cells from the other fat cells. The final product is called stromal vascular fraction (SVF). SVF obtained from fat can contain up to about 25 million adult stem cells from 50 ml of fat. SVF also contains a large number of growth factors. These growth factors are chemical text messages the cells use to communicate with each other. After SVF has been obtained, it can be deployed where needed.
How long does it take to recover?
As with any similar procedure, swelling and bruising are common at the harvest site. The swelling and bruising resolve within two to three weeks after the procedure. Most patients receive a prescription for pain medications for use as needed. In most cases, antibiotics are prescribed before the procedure, but they’re not needed for recovery. Despite some swelling and bruising, patients should be able to return to work immediately.
Contact Innovations Medical for Stem Cell Therapy
If you suffer from autoimmune diseases or other chronic illnesses, Innovations Medical is here for you. Our skilled professionals help you decide which stem cell therapy treatment is best for you – keeping you informed and confident in the next steps. We’ve been helping our patients look and feel their best since 1984, and even our most advanced procedures are often minimally invasive.
To find out if stem cell therapy is right for you, and to learn how Innovations Medical can improve your life, call us at (214) 643-8665 or schedule an appointment.