I am a physician with a serious sports background (a job as a tennis pro throughout college and medical school), racketball, basketball, skying, and climbing. I am also 6.5” tall and weigh 225 lbs. Throughout the years I put a lot of wear and tear on my knees, and had a few injuries as well. Besides a touch of arthritis, both my anterior cruciate and medial ligaments were partially torn in both knees, as well as chronic swelling of my tendons and soft tissues. I have had several cortisone injections as well as prolonged regimens of anti inflammatory drugs, but my knees hurt almost all the time, and I had a hard time bending, even for routine tasks such as picking something off the floor.
Thirteen months ago I torn my meniscus in my left knee descending a set of stairs, and ended up with a locked knee. I thought my only option is arthroscopic surgery, which would shave down the part of my meniscus that was torn, and repair some of the old tears in my ligaments. I was hesitant because as a physician I know that this type of surgery, even in expert hands, leaves scar tissue, thins out the meniscus even more, and also involves extensive rehabilitation and “down” time. Dr. Ohanian offered me an alternative in the form of an autologous lipogen infusion, which is essentially risk free, done in an outpatient setting and much less invasive.
This procedure consists in harvesting lipogens ( a type of embryonic cells) from my own fatty tissues through liposuction, processing the raw fat and re-infusing the solution into my knees. The lipogens then mature to form cells which repair the meniscus and ligaments tears naturally over time, decrease local inflammation, and ultimately reconstruct the tissue that has been injured. Originally I was hesitant because physicians are trained to only believe in procedures which have been extensively researched, and proven beyond any doubt useful. However I have also been taught that medicine is an art, as well as a science, and if no new procedures were tried, no new benefits would be discovered. For me the balance was tipped by the fact that the procedure involved almost no risks, and could potentially be very beneficial.
Dr Ohanian performed the procedure in her office, expeditiously and with very little discomfort. No anesthesia (other than local) was involved, and she used a specialized fat processing kit. I rested my knee for about a month (i.e. no sports)and avoided activities that strained my knees for ten months afterwards. Now at twelve months I am back playing tennis in a league, climbing and playing basketball and soccer with my young boys.In another half a year I will get a repeat MRI to asses objective repair of my knee. Subjectively though I feel much, much better, and am pain free for the first time in more than a decade. I highly recommend this procedure for qualified patients.