After suffering a potentially career-ending knee injury, Brian Farber of the San Diego Sockers in the Professional Arena Soccer League searched for a treatment to get him back in the game. After a few failed attempts, Farber turned to regenerative medicine. He would later become one of the first people in San Diego to receive this innovative regenerative medicine treatment.
Farber had suffered a knee injury and torn patellar ligament about two and a half years earlier. Initial treatment with physical therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections were unsuccessful. He was not a candidate for surgery and was told that he would “just have to live with the pain”. But, the pain made it difficult to resume professional soccer and his other favorite daily activities such as jogging with his wife and teaching at his soccer academy. Farber had even considered retiring from professional soccer.
Fortunately, a colleague introduced him to Dr. Christopher Rogers, founder of the San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group. Dr. Rogers had treated many other patients successfully and was confident that stem cell therapy would heal Farber’s injury. Dr. Rogers is the first physician in San Diego to offer this state-of-the-art and FDA compliant treatment known as Lipogems®.
Lipogems is a medical device which uses a patient’s own fat (adipose) tissue harvested with a legally marketed lipoplasty system (mixed with a specific FDA approved solution) Dr. Rogers uses high-resolution ultrasound imaging to visualize the injury and to inject the solution into the injured tissue.
Farber decreased his activity for ten days to facilitate the healing process. Follow-up care included physical therapy, progressive strengthening, and BEMER technology, which uses pulsed electromagnetic waves to stimulate cellular activity and improve circulation. Within three months Farber was feeling strong and by six months he was feeling good enough to play competitive soccer.
Farber, who is known to his soccer fans as “Flash” is pleased that he can stand up to his nickname once again. He says that “it feels great to run without pain”. He was recently voted Comeback Player of the Year and selected to the Indoor National Team. He is preparing for the Indoor World Cup.
Dr. Rogers and his team at the San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group are excited for Brian. We are rooting for Brian and his team this year.
Chronic degenerative tendon disorders (tendinopathy) occur frequently and are difficult to treat. Tendon injuries are often associated with significant physical dysfunction and disability, due to the limited self-repair capacity and propensity for scar formation. Non-insertional Achilles tendinopathy is a common cause of ankle pain and typically occurs 2 – 6 cm proximal to the tendon insertion on the calcaneus.
Athletes, whether elite or recreational, are the most common group to present with Achilles tendinopathy, but it is also found in people with advanced age, obesity, diabetes or hypertension. Other risk factors for Achilles tendinopathy include previous tendon injury, decreased muscle strength, altered gait kinematics, limited ankle dorsiflexion, training errors, and the use of steroids or fluoroquinolones.
Conservative Treatment for Achilles Tendon Tears
Conservative care of Achilles tendinopathy includes removal of precipitating factors, rest, training routine modifications and the use of orthotics to correct foot or ankle malalignment. Decreased myotendinous flexibility may be treated with stretching. Muscle weakness is treated with progressive eccentric strengthening exercises twice a day for up to 12 weeks using either the Alfredson or Silbernagel protocol. Combining these protocols with low-energy shock-wave therapy (ESWT) may improve outcomes. With this said, up to 33% of patients will fail conservative care and consider surgical excision of the pathologic tissue with or without tendon transfer augmentation.
Lipogems® for Achilles Tendon Tears
There is a new treatment option out there. Recent studies have demonstrated that lipoaspirate contains and produces growth-factors, such as platelet-derived growth-factor (PDGF), fibroblast growth-factor (FGF), transforming growth-factor beta (TGF-β), and vascular endothelial growth-factor (VEGF) 1. These growth factors are known to play an important regulatory role in cellular proliferation, cellular migration, matrix synthesis and angiogenesis. The Lipogems® system can produce a non-expanded, rinsed, and microfragmented adipose tissue graft that maintains an intact stromal vascular niche and contains cellular elements with mesenchymal stem cell and pericyte characteristics
Recent Case Study
Dr. Christopher Rogers recently presented a case study at the TOBY conference in Las Vegas. He and his team were able to successfully treat a 16 year old girl who had developed functionally limiting chronic Achilles tendinopathy and partial tear that were non-responsive to conservative care. She was treated with ultrasound guided lipoaspirate (Lipogems®) and LP-PRP injection combined with a progressive strengthening program. She achieved a resolution of her pain and restoration of physical function at the six month follow-up. Ultrasound and MRI imaging revealed a diffuse fibrillar pattern consistent with regenerated tendon fibers that had replaced the tendinopathic and partially torn tendon regions.
Tendon engineering is an interesting challenge for the orthopedic medicine physician. Lipoaspirate and LP-PRP have the potential to stimulate tenocyte proliferation, matrix synthesis and angiogenesis which can lead to regeneration of a degenerated Achilles tendon. Future clinical trials using lipoaspirate for the treatment of chronic Achilles tendinopathy and partial tears are warranted.
We’re pleased to have been the first medical center in San Diego to offer the revolutionary LIPOGEMS® regenerative medicine therapy. Call us today to schedule an appointment. 760-909-2355
Do you suffer from an injury or ailment that limits your normal daily functioning due to a soft tissue defect in the tendon, ligament, muscle or cartilage? Have treatment options, such as physical therapy, medications or steroid injections, not provided permanent relief for you? You may want to consider Lipogems as a minimally invasive alternative to a major surgical procedure.
What is Lipogems Treatment?
Lipogems® is a disposable, single-use, FDA approved device for processing and same-day injection of fat tissue. It’s a non-expanded and micro-fractured autologous fat tissue product for treating joint and tendon injuries. This cutting-edge technology uses your body’s own fat tissue to cushion and support areas of injury or damage as your body heals itself. The fat tissue can be removed from the abdomen or thigh areas. This tissue is then precisely injected into the patient’s injured areas with the use of ultrasound or X-ray guidance.
Lipogems has now been successfully performed in more than 8,000 clinical cases globally, and we’re pleased to have been the first medical center in San Diego to offer this revolutionary regenerative medicine therapy.
Benefits of Lipogems
Mesenchymal stem cells require support from other cells and proteins to exert their healing benefits. Unlike other so-called “stem cell” treatments, the unique advantage of Lipogems® is that the complete healing environment of the fat tissue is captured, carefully processed, and then precisely injected. This improves cell viability and regenerative capacity.
Unlike steroid or gel injections, the tissue will stay in the treated area for years allowing your body to maximize the benefits for an extended period of time.
The Lipogems procedure can be performed in less than one to two hours in an outpatient clinical setting.
Due to their innovation, Lipogems was awarded Best New Technology in Sports Medicine in 2016 by leading sports medicine physicians.
How quickly will you see results?
Seeing improvements following the Lipogems® procedure typically depends on your age, degree of injury and overall health. Some of our patients note improvement the day following the procedure, while other people may take up to 2-3 months to see improvement. More than 90% of our patients have seen significant improvement in less than 3 months.
Patients undergoing the Lipogems procedure at our clinic undergo a strict screening procedure to assure that they are very good candidates for the treatment. We have been tracking our outcomes for more than 15 months. At this time, more than 90% of our patients have seen significant relief with the treatment, often being able to resume normal, pain-free physical activity. This has led them to improve their fitness, lose weight and improve the quality of their lives in a meaningful way. If you think you can benefit from Lipogems treatment, call us today at 760-483-9060.