A cell transplantation technique, historically used in human medicine with “groundbreaking regenerative capabilities”, has been made available to UK vets for the first time to treat a range of canine orthopaedic cases.
Originating in the medical world, the Lipogems technique was invented by Carlo Tremolada, an Italian maxillofacial plastic surgeon searching for a way to create a smoother, more viscous fat graft for filling defects and creating natural volumetric face enhancement.
Unexpectedly, patients given Lipogems experienced a significant decrease in bruising and inflammation normally associated with these procedures and demonstrated substantial regenerative effects on the underlying tissues.
Scientists identified the regenerative characteristics in Lipogems and it received US Food and Drug Administration Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (Act) Section 510(k) clearance in 2014. A subsequent review in 2016 saw it amended to include application in orthopaedic surgery settings.
The Lipogems method is carried out in one surgical step via a single-use kit for the lipoaspiration process and deployment of adipose tissue. Micro-fragmenting adipose tissue (harvested from fat) is obtained from lipoaspirates through a non-enzymatic, mechanical process using a closed system and disposable device.
Adipose tissue is harvested using a vacuum syringe around the flank of the dog under general anaesthetic, after the region has been anaesthetised by local infiltration with sterile saline and adrenaline.
Harvested fat tissue using the Lipogems device is washed in saline and gently agitated so the pericytes detach from small vessels and activate. Cells with the stromal vascular structure of adipose tissue then act as a local scaffold to maintain regenerative activity for many months.
Vet Offer Zeira said: “To colleagues who ask me, ‘why Lipogems?’, I give them this – the shortest and most truthful answer – whoever deals with regenerative medicine uses stem cells; whoever deals with stem cells should use Lipogems.
Dr Zeira said: “The results are amazing. Dogs that suffered severe lameness manage to walk with nearly no lameness within five to six days.”
Lipogems Canine chief executive Martin ffrench Blake said the objective of the Lipogems product was to favour the natural regenerative process of tissues and was used in numerous pathologies.
Crown Vet Referrals is the only clinic in the UK and Ireland to have staff trained in the Lipogems Canine technique.
- Read the full story in the 10 July issue of Veterinary Times.