At Okyanos Center for Regenerative Medicine, adult stem cell procedures are performed in our state-of-the-art surgery centre and cardiac cath lab by a licensed and specially trained physician. Although treatment steps may vary slightly from patient to patient (depending on what condition is being treated), the procedure itself involves three basic steps:
- First, water-assisted fat harvesting is done to obtain about a cup of adipose (fat) tissue.
- The unique blend of stem and regenerative cells which exist in the adipose tissue are then isolated and prepared for intravenous delivery utilizing an EU-approved, closed/sterile, fully automated CGMP cell processing system. For patients receiving direct injections, a closed/sterile, manually operated cell processing technology will be used to obtain a micro-fragmented, cell-rich product for injection.
- Your adult stem cells are then delivered intravenously and/or by direct injection into the heart, joint or other area of the body depending on the individualized treatment plan developed for each patient at Okyanos.
Adult Stem Cell Procedure Steps
Step 1: Fat Harvesting
Treatment begins with a small volume of fat being collected for the purpose of harvesting stem cells. This is done in our sterile surgical facility under IV sedation. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the doctor will make a minimum of 2 small incisions, the incision being about the size of a pencil eraser tip, and remove the necessary quantity of fat with a water-assisted suction device. Thinner patients may require more incisions so that we can obtain an adequate amount of fat for your treatment from other areas besides the abdomen. This will be discussed and finalized with the surgeon pre-operatively.
Step 2: Cell Processing
Immediately following the fat harvesting step, your stem cells will be isolated from the extracted fat tissue. Your cells are not changed or manipulated in any way; they are merely separated from the adipose and prepared for prompt, safe re-introduction into your body. During the time it takes your cells to be processed (up to about 2 hours), you will be able to rest in one of our patient recovery suites.
Step 3: Implantation
After a period of rest, your adult stem cells are implanted by direct injection or re-introduced by IV infusion, depending on the individualized treatment plan developed for you. Doctors at Okyanos may recommend both direct injection as well as intravenous delivery of cells to address underlying causes of inflammation, destructive immune response or restricted blood flow.
Cardiac patients will be taken from the recovery suite to the cardiac catheterization lab (cath lab) where the cells will be injected into your heart muscle through a catheter that will be inserted into the artery in your groin. (The catheter in the groin will be removed at the end of the procedure.)
Adult stem cell procedures at Okyanos are minimally invasive, same-day outpatient treatments. Though recovery can and does vary from patient to patient, our protocols are designed and carried out with the goal of keeping “downtime” to a minimum. After a period of observation, you will be able to return to your hotel to rest comfortably with your caregiver or family.
Aftercare and Follow-Up
Immediately after the procedure, you will be monitored to ensure the procedure sites and liposuction incision sites are healing well. The first 48 hours following your procedure, you should take care to avoid strenuous physical activity. The Okyanos nursing team will give you specific discharge instructions depending on the type of treatment you received.
Okyanos will make arrangements to follow up with you at home upon your return and to monitor your progress at scheduled intervals over the next few months following your adult stem cell procedure.
The Okyanos Experience: A Closer Look
Travel Day & Pre-Operative Visit
On the day prior to the procedure, you will travel into Freeport International Airport where our Patient Concierge and private courtesy driver will meet you. We will arrange an office visit with members of our medical staff to go over your history one more time and perform any final testing such as a cardiac exam or an echocardiogram. We will answer any questions that you or your family may still have about any aspect of the stem cell treatment. Once this visit is complete, the driver will transport you and your family back to your hotel. Courtesy ground transportation is provided to you and your family or caregiver during your entire stay on the island.
On the morning of your stem cell procedure, the driver will transport you and your caregiver from the hotel to our facility. Once the fat harvesting procedure is completed (Step 1), you will rest in a private patient suite where family members are permitted to join while the cell processing (Step 2) is completed.
After stem cell implantation (Step 3) is complete, you will return to your recovery suite. Again, family members and caregivers are permitted to join you while you rest. If your recovery remains on track after several hours of monitoring, we will return you to the Grand Lucayan Hotel where medical equipment and staff are available as needed.
Follow-up Day and Departure Plans
The day after the procedure, you will return to the clinic for a follow-up visit with the doctor. Following this office visit and check-up, you and your family will meet with a Registered Nurse who will go over detailed instructions for your follow-up and post-procedure plan. Once you have been medically discharged, you may proceed with your planned travel arrangements. Okyanos will work with your primary physician and cardiologist to follow up with you and to monitor your recovery and progress over the months following the procedure.
We understand the anxiety that is commonly experienced when needing a medical treatment. We encourage you to learn as much as you need to feel comfortable about Okyanos, the procedure and what to expect during your time with us. Let your Patient Liaison know of any additional needs or questions you may have and we will do our best to accommodate.
To learn more about adult stem cell procedures appropriate for your condition, you may contact a Patient Liaison by dialing 855-OKYANOS (855-659-2667).