Original Research

Safety and Efficacy of Percutaneous Injection of Lipogems Micro-Fractured Adipose Tissue for Osteoarthritic Knees

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No significant adverse events were reported in the subjects of this study. Common minor adverse events included pain and swelling, which generally resolved in 48 to 72 hours after the procedure.

NPRS improved from an average of 5.7 at baseline to 3.0 at 6 months and 4.35 at 12 months

Compared with baseline, significant improvements were noted in the mean values of NPRS (Figure 1) at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months. The mean KSS significantly improved from baseline at 6 weeks and 12 months (Figure 2). Significant improvements were also noted in the mean values of FXN (Figure 3) and the mean LEAS significantly improved from baseline at 6 weeks and 6 months (Figure 4).

KSS improved from an average of 74.0 at baseline to 79.6 at 6 months and 81.6 at 12 months


Knee OA is a disabling condition that affects a substantial proportion of the aging population. The current treatment methods do little to address the degenerative environment of the joint, which includes cytokines such as IL-1 and IL-2. Orthobiologic agents have been used recently to address these issues, which include PRP and MSCs from various sources, including bone marrow and adipose tissue.

FXN improved from an average of 65.4 at baseline to 75.2 at 6 months and 76.4 at 12 months

A recent meta-analysis conducted by Cui and colleagues14 evaluated 18 studies of MSC treatment for knee OA with a total of 565 participants (226 males and 339 females). The duration from the onset of knee pain to registration in each study ranged from 3 months to ≥7 years. The follow-up period was 3 months -24 months. The majority of studies recruited patients with knee OA with a severity grade of 1-4 on the K-L scale; K-L grades 1 and 2 and grades 3 and 4 were defined as early OA and advanced OA, respectively. The results suggested that MSC treatment significantly improved pain and functional status, relative to the baseline evaluations in knee OA, and the beneficial effect was maintained for 2 years after treatment. Furthermore, the treatment effectiveness was not reduced over time.14

LEAS improved from an average of 36.6 at baseline to 47.1 at 6 months and 42.0 at 12 months

Included in the abovementioned meta-analysis were 2 papers by Koh and colleagues in 2012 and 2013 on the use of AMSCs for the treatment of OA. 15,16 The first study included 18 patients whose adipose tissue was harvested from the inner side of the infrapatellar fat pad via a skin incision after arthroscopic debridement. The cells were centrifuged and injected into the patient’s knee the same day. The results showed a significant reduction of pain and an increased quality of life for all patients, and a positive correlation was found between the number of cells injected and pain improvements. The authors concluded that AMSCs were a valid cell source for treating cartilage damage.15

In their second study, Koh and colleagues reported their results of treating 30 elderly patients with OA (≥65 years), who had failed conventional treatment, using intra-articular injections of AMSCs.16 This patient population is important since OA most commonly occurs in the elderly population. Patients underwent arthroscopic lavage and cartilage evaluation before receiving an injection of AMSCs delivered in PRP. The authors demonstrated that AMSC therapy for elderly patients with mild to moderate OA was an effective treatment resulting in reduction of pain and regeneration of cartilage.16

In another study, Adriani and colleagues17 performed autologous percutaneous fat injection from January 2012 to March 2015 for the treatment of knee OA. Their 30 patients (12 males and 18 females; mean age of 63.3 years; mean body mass index of 25.1) had stable or progressive knee OA for at least 12 months, no other injection treatments during the previous 12 months, and no prior knee surgeries. The patients were evaluated at baseline and 1 week and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after treatment using the NPRS and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) as outcome measures. The average VAS was 7.7 at baseline and improved to 4.3 at 3-month follow-up; however, a slight deterioration (VAS 5.0) was noted at 1 year. Total WOMAC score was 89.9 at baseline, 68.6 at 3 months, and 73.2 at 12-month follow-up.17

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