Stem Cell Therapy

Your fat tissue could hold the power to heal

What is a stem cell and why are they important?
Stem cells are “smart” cells that play an important role in our bodies and our health.
They are living cells that serve a specific purpose in our body. They have the potential to decrease inflammation and pain, heal or possibly rebuild damaged tissue after – or instead of – surgery, repair skin tissue and minimize wounds and scars.

There are two main types of stem cells:

Embryonic stem cells*:

  • Derived from embryos developed from eggs fertilized in vitro and then donated for research purposes with the donor’s consent.
  • NOT derived from eggs fertilized in a woman’s body
  • Can heal or regenerate diseased tissue or organs

*Stem cell treatments available through Sanford do not utilize embryonic stem cells.

Adult stem cells:

  • Found in most parts of the body such as the abdomen, brain, liver, muscle, skin, teeth, heart and bone marrow
  • Exist in both adults and children – NOT embryos
  • Can heal or regenerate diseased tissue or organs

Stem cell therapy vs. PRP

Stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy are often grouped together, but they are two completely different forms of therapy.

PRP: Our blood contains small solid components known as platelets, which are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, these platelets have also been shown to contain growth factors, which are important in the healing process.

For PRP therapy, a patient’s own blood is used. Platelets are separated from the blood and then re-injected into the injured area, releasing growth factors to promote healing.

Stem cell therapy: Fat is removed from a patient. Stem cells are separated from the fat. Those stem cells are then re-injected into the injured area to heal – or potentially regrow – tissue.

Adipose stem cells vs. Bone marrow stem cells

Current studies show stem cells found in the adipose tissue in stomach fat hold promise for better treatments than other kinds of stem cells.

There is a larger supply of stem cells available from the same amount of fat as bone marrow – 500 times more to be exact.

There is a specific line of stem cells that seem to be the most beneficial for healing. The proportion of those cells in adipose stem cells is much higher than in bone marrow.

Removing fat from under the skin through mini-liposuction under local anesthesia is far less invasive and painful than removing bone marrow fluid and cells through a needle inserted into bone.

Turning stem cells into treatments

One of the most common stem cell therapies currently available in the U.S. uses bone marrow stem cells to treat blood diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia.

But now a new kind of stem cell therapy is gaining momentum. It uses adipose (adult) stem cells, which exist in various parts of your body. For this therapy, adipose stem cells found in your abdominal fat are most commonly used.