Dr. Mariam Razaq is a leading the way in orthopaedic medicine by assisting patients who fall in the “treatment gap” between conservative therapies and major, surgical intervention. Dr. Razaq is using an innovative system called Lipogems that provides patients a natural, FDA cleared option to high-cost, unproven treatments like mesenchymal cell therapies and other technologies that are not approved by the FDA, ultimately putting patients at risk.1
“Washington DC/Maryland area has many mesenchymal cell clinics run by chiropractors. We encourage patients to stay away from mesenchymal cell clinics that pose risk and harm to the patients by using products that are not FDA cleared.” Said Dr. Razaq.
When patients experience injuries or orthopaedic issues that cause them discomfort, the first line of treatment is typically conservative interventions like physical therapy, corticosteroids and viscosupplementation. Unfortunately, when these options are no longer effective or the patient is not ready for major, invasive surgery, they suffer from debilitating pain, reduce quality of life, and significant financial burden.
“Many patients from Washington DC/Maryland area and other states/countries come to me asking for options after they have tried conservative therapy but are not ready for major invasive surgery” said Dr. Razaq,” This is especially true for older highly active folks that want to enjoy their retirement but are suffering from orthopaedic issues and younger patients who do not want to take time off of work or from their families or want to enjoy playing sports/activities.”
Typically patients can last from 9-12 years in the treatment gap, but it is more like 20 years.2 Younger patients spend 40 years in the treatment gap, which is majority of their life.2 Most people are the in the treatment gap for a variety of factors: they live alone, are worried about asking for help, worried about long term recovery and complications from major invasive surgery, time to recovery, and taking time away from work or their families.3 With FDA clearance, strong scientific evidence and teams of scientists and physicians, Dr. Razaq decided to add this option to help people currently struggling with orthopaedic issues. Lipogems’ minimally invasive procedure uses the patient’s own fat tissue and the patented system processes the tissue using only saline in minutes. There is no need for a centrifuge or heavy equipment, making the procedure quick and efficient. Since fat is a structural tissue, it provides cushion and support, allowing it to support the healing of the damaged or injured tissue.
“I like to use the patient's own fat because of its healing properties. The healing properties that fat has is tremendous and it also has an easier access point than bone marrow. Using the patients fat is a much less painful procedure than other similar procedures.”Said Dr. Razaq, “I feel as though you should always explore and exhaust all of the possible options especially the ones that can prevent you from needing surgery. I have been doing Lipogems for 5 years and my patients love using their own fat. Your body's greatest ability is that to heal itself if given the option to and Lipogems does that.” Fat is easy to collect from the body from the belly or love handles using a minimally invasive procedure and local anesthetic. Studies have shown that the quantity of many of the important cells do not decline with age in comparison to other tissue sources.4,5,6 A clear advantage of using one’s own tissue is the decreased likelihood for rejection and infection. The Lipogems system is able to wash, rinse and resize the tissue for multiple site injections during a single session.
As responsible healthcare providers, it is important that orthopaedic physicians offer FDA-cleared options to help prevent patients from seeking unproven technologies like those found at mesenchymal cell clinics, which have already demonstrated harm to patients.