Duke University Doctor Finds New Ally in Orthopaedics: Fat Cells to Help Repair Damaged Tissue


Published on February 05, 2019

A top orthopaedic surgeon at Duke University Hospital is now offering an innovative, FDA-cleared option for orthopaedic patients facing possible surgery. The cutting-edge medical technology, Lipogems, takes a patient’s own adipose (fat) cells, then naturally and minimally processes it. The newly-cleansed fat is injected to areas of injury or damage, providing cushion and support to create a healing environment for the surrounding tissue.

Dr. Selene Parekh, a busy surgeon and professor of orthopaedics at Duke University, is deeply impressed with Lipogems’ role in supporting orthopaedic repairs and healing. “The concept of reparative medicine is very appealing. It makes sense to use your own tissue,” Dr. Parekh said. “Using your own tissue is the ideal way to help you to heal the natural way.”

Selene Parekh, MD | Orthopaedic Surgeon | Duke Health

In fact, the Lipogems procedure, cleared by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), can be used either as another option to major orthopaedic and arthroscopic surgeries, or as a complement to them.

Lipogems, already boasting twenty-five thousand patients worldwide, represents a natural option with strong scientific evidence compared to unreliable and possibly unsafe stem cell-based treatment. The Lipogems system is just now being slowly, selectively introduced to American healthcare. Duke is the one of the medical establishments in the greater Raleigh area presently authorized to offer the unique Lipogems technology.

“These patients have usually tried physical therapy and other non-operative options, with limited success,” Dr. Parekh said.

Lipogems Device

The Lipogems procedure lasts less than an hour and can be performed as an outpatient procedure in a doctor’s office with a local anesthetic and without need for sedation. Dr. Parekh said patients “are usually apprehensive of the fat ‘harvest’ (extraction). But once performed, they are surprised about how easy it is. We inject a local anesthetic-numbing medicine, and we harvest the fat from the belly (or from the ‘love handles’). During the procedure, many patients jokingly say, ‘Will you take more fat?’

“Patients have been thrilled with the results and enjoy their life. They also appreciate it is a great option for people that are not ready for major invasive surgery like weekend warriors or younger or folks in their 50-70’s.”

For information on Lipogems, visit understandlipogems.com or seleneparekhmd.com