Did you know your own body fat and bone marrow contains a large amount of stem cells? Bone Marrow and Adipose tissue contains adult stem cells, these cells are thought to be “mother cells” found among differentiated tissue or organ. The adult stem cell can renew itself and can differentiate to almost all of the major specialized cell types. The primary roles of adult stem cells are to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found.

Research on adult stem cells has generated a great deal of excitement. Scientists now have evidence that stem cells exist in many other tissues like: adipose tissue, brain and heart. Thanks to these findings, investigators and clinicians are studying the use of stem cells in transplant. Both marrow and fat derived stem cells are effective and have the potential to differentiate into mature functional tissues.

Adult hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow have been widely used in transplant for more than 40 years. The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica specializes in the use of stem cells derived from bone marrow and adipose tissue, to treat many inflammatory and degenerative diseases. These cells are taken from your own tissue, so the security is very high and the possibility of rejection is almost non-existent.

But which kind of stem cells are actually better?

At the Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, this is a question we receive from many of our patients, and we understand that anyone considering a stem cell treatment will want to choose the option that promises the best results. However, most patients are surprised to learn that in terms of clinical results, there is no evidence to substantiate significant difference between the use of bone marrow derived cells or fat derived cells, the clinical outcome for both is practically the same.

It is important to mention that fat derived cells are based on more recent discoveries, so there are fewer studies using these cells. Because of their profound anti-inflammatory effect there are some advantages, to fat derives stem cells, depending on the treated disease. Another important advantage is their abundance. Fat tissue contains hundreds, even thousands of times more stem cells than bone marrow, and therefore, there is no need for culturing.

At the Stem Cells Transplant Institute, Dr. Mesen will guide you to your best option. Although clinically the outcomes are very similar, there are some differences in the extraction, cell preparation, deployment and recovery according to the cell type.

Regarding extraction, in the case of stem cells removed from bone marrow the surgical procedure must be performed under general anesthesia, and the process involves inserting a needle into the hipbone to extract the stem cells. In the case of stem cells removed from fat, the procedure is performed under local anesthesia. The process involves a mini-liposuction to obtain the patient´s own fat, usually from the abdominal or flank area. The extraction is relatively painless and is performed in a short period of time.

With respect to the cell preparation; bone marrow stem cells need first to be cultured over several days to be delivered into the patient, while stem cells isolated from fat, uses a technology that yields a higher number of viable stem cells and can be used almost immediately.

Talking about cell delivery into the patient, stem cells obtained from bone marrow are injected into arteries, veins, spinal fluid, joints, other organs or subcutaneously. Stem cells obtained from fat, are deployed back into the patient’s body directly into joints or intravenously.

Finally, we can find differences in the recovery process. Downtime from stem cell therapy using bone marrow extraction can take several weeks, while patients who receive stem cell therapy from adipose derived stem cells require only a few hours.

In conclusion, one of the most promising treatments for numerous types of injuries and diseases is stem cell therapy. The most common way that stem cells are currently used is via harvesting of adult stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow or fat tissue, and injecting them at the site of damage or intravenously. The main function of these cells is to repair any damaged cells.

In terms of effectiveness of stem cell therapy, bone marrow stem cells and adipose-derived stem cells are very similar, but we can find differences in terms of extraction, cell preparation, deployment, and recovery.

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica is a pioneer in stem cells treatment and we are happy to answer all of the questions you have about this new medical trend. We offer high quality services in one of the most beautiful places in the world.