Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy harnesses your body’s ability to self-heal and is an innovative, and in the majority of cases, effective treatment for osteoarthritis and tendinosis.
Overview of stem cells
Stem cells can be grouped into two types - embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. The Celgen treatment uses adult stem cells from the adipose (fat) tissue of a patient's body. Adipose tissue is a rich source of adult stem cells. The Celgen treatment does not use embryonic stem cells.
The cells that are re-injected into your body come from your own adipose (fat) tissue. The mechanisms by which the injected cells repair and regenerate diseased tissue are not yet fully understood. There is evidence that a number of mechanisms are involved in the regeneration process, such as stimulating repair or regeneration of damaged cells, reducing inflammation in the diseased tissue, suppressing the local auto-immune response, improving cellular function of host cells and recruiting cells from other parts of the body.
Who provides the Celgen treatment?
Dr Ameer Ibrahim is in charge or your procedure that utilises a stem cell processing service. These therapies utilise the regenerative capacities of cells derived from adipose tissue. The Celgen treatment is used for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis and tendinopathy, oro-maxillofacial conditions such as neuralgic pain, and plastic reconstructive and cosmetic conditions.
Celgen treatment options
Your treatment may be administered as a single set of injections on the day of tissue harvesting. This is called a Celgen procedure. The single set of injections may be at one or multiple injection sites.
Celgen may also be administered as three sets of injections, where one set is performed on the day of surgery and the other sets occur at two subsequent dates. This variation is called a Celgen + Cryo treatment. The Celgen + Cryo treatment includes the freezing and storage of a portion of your cells (cryopreservation) for future use.
The suitability of each treatment option will depend upon your medical condition and Dr Ibrahim’s clinical judgment.
The Celgen procedure
The Celgen procedure is that part of the stem cell treatment, which occurs in the surgical facility where your adipose tissue is harvested, processed into stem cell and injected into your joints on the day of tissue harvesting.
Dr Ibrahim and Dr Kuah touring the Cryosite facility in Sydney. Cryosite store frozen stem cells which can then be thawed and reinjected at another time.
There are four steps in the stem cell procedure:
Step 1- Preparation for tissue harvesting: On the day you are admitted to the surgical facility, you enter pre-op where you are prepared for surgery. This includes receiving pre-operative medications to help you relax and pre-surgical scrubs to reduce the bacterial load on your skin where your adipose tissue will be harvested. If you are having a Celgen Cryo treatment, you will need to provide 55 mL of your blood. Serum is extracted from this blood and used to preserve the portion of your cells, which are sent to the cryopreservation facility.
Step 2- Tissue removal: Adipose tissue is removed in the operating theatre by lipo-aspiration (a mini-liposuction procedure) which is performed under local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia if other surgical procedures are involved. The lipo-aspiration is performed by Dr Ibrahim or another surgeon under his/her supervision.
Step 3 - Tissue processing: The adipose tissue is processed to isolate stem cells and other regenerative cells. These cells are placed in a suspension that will be injected back into your body (this process takes up to 2 hours). Highly trained laboratory staff undertake the cell processing in a specialised laboratory located in the surgical facility.
Step 4 - Injection of processed regenerative cells: Dr Ibrahim injects all or a portion of your cells directly into your joints or soft tissues on the day of tissue harvesting. In the case of the Celgen + Cryo treatment, the portion of cells, which is not injected on the day of surgery, is cryopreserved and injected at a later date. These subsequent sets of injections are called Cryo injections.
Information specific to the Celgen + Cryo treatments
In rare cases, insufficient adipose tissue may be harvested to provide enough cells for cryopreservation. In this event, you will be converted to a Celgen treatment with one set of injections on the day of tissue harvesting and if you are a Celgen + Cryo patient, your fees will be adjusted accordingly as discussed with Dr Ibrahim.
Similarly, if your cells cannot be successfully used at the time of your scheduled Cryo injection, you will be notified by Dr Ibrahim and your Cryo injections may not go ahead. In this event, fees payable will be adjusted accordingly as discussed with Dr Ibrahim.
In the event that you miss your scheduled Cryo injection, your cells may be compromised and unsuitable for use. If you think you will miss your Cryo injection appointment it is important that you contact Dr Ibrahim at least 36 hours prior to your scheduled Cryo injection so that the release of your cells can be halted. Once released from cryostorage your cells cannot be returned.
Risks related to Celgen
Celgen is a low risk treatment.
The main risks include:
Infection, bruising and pain at the site of fat removal.
Infection and pain at the injection site.
Contour irregularities and depressions in the skin at the site of the removal of the adipose tissue are uncommon, but may occur.
You will receive 2 or 3 small incisions on your lower abdomen or flanks. These incisions provide access for the surgical instruments, which minimal invasively remove adipose tissue for Celgen processing. Anaesthetic is used at these incision sites in order to reduce pain and discomfort. It is possible, though unusual, to have bleeding from these sites during or after the tissue harvesting procedure.
You will be given an intravenous antibiotic before your surgery to reduce the risk of infection. There is a possible risk of allergy or other side effects to this antibiotic. If you have an allergy to a specific antibiotic it is important that you let Dr Ibrahim know.
Administration of medicines or additional procedures or treatments may be needed if Dr Ibrahim finds something unexpected, including any of the stated risks above, during or after the tissue harvesting procedure.
Dr Ibrahim will advise you regarding fasting requirements prior to your tissue harvesting procedure.
It is advisable to have a friend or relative drive you home after your tissue harvesting procedure because you will be under the influence of the anaesthetic used in this procedure. Having a relative or friend drive you home after a Cryo injection is optional.
No guarantee of effectiveness
Like all stem cell treatments, the science behind Celgen treatment is still developing. We therefore cannot guarantee that it will improve your condition. You may be a good candidate for the Celgen treatment according to what we currently know about it; the treatment may be carried out properly; but you may still experience little or no benefit.