Fat stem cell transplantation is a new minimally invasive treatment for joint wear. Stem cell therapy can be used as a curative treatment for minor joint degeneration in order to postpone a major intervention such as resection arthroplasty.
Treatment costs are not covered by health insurance. Nevertheless, the positive results of the self-fat treatment of rhizarthrosis established since 2014 are scientifically proven (Herold C, et al. Handchir Mikrochir Plast Chir. 2014 Apr;46(2):108-12. Erne HC, et al. Autologous Fat Injection versus Lundborg Resection Arthroplasty for the Treatment of Trapeziometacarpal Joint Osteoarthritis. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018 Jan;141(1):119-124. Herold C, et al. Autologous Fat Transfer for Thumb Carpometacarpal Joint Osteoarthritis: A Prospective Study. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017 Aug;140(2):327-335.). As a rule, pain relief and functional improvement can be expected for at least 12 months.
The cells can be gently aspirated from the abdomen, thighs, buttocks or knees. The suctioned fat tissue is cleaned and filtered several times. The cells are then injected into the thumb saddle joint. The stem cells from the fat tissue can develop into cartilage cells. In addition, the cells can lead to an improvement of the synovial fluid.
- All your questions about possible complications and alternative treatments should be answered in advance.
- Keep nicotine and alcohol consumption to a minimum!
- Blood-thinning medication (e.g. ASS, Thomapyrin®) must be discontinued at least 10 days before the operation after consultation with your doctor.
- Vitamin preparations (A, E) and food supplements (omega-3 fatty acids, St. John's wort preparations, etc.) must be discontinued at least 4 weeks before the operation.
- Surgery limits the ability to travel by air. Therefore, do not plan any professional or private air travel during the 6 weeks after the operation!
- The outpatient procedure is performed under local anesthesia and twilight sleep and lasts approx. 60 minutes.
- The raising and cooling of the hand in the first 72 hours is very important.
- Immobilization is recommended for 1 week (Palmare forearm wrist joint thumb splint with free interphalangeal joint).
- Complete fist closure and finger extension exercises should be performed several times per hour. All joints outside the splint must be fully moved several times an hour.
- Postoperative clinical controls are recommended on the 1st and 3rd postoperative day and after 1 and 2 and 4 weeks.