So many of us spend hours in the gym, trying desperately to get rid of our ‘muffin top’ – that bit of excess waist fat that spills over the top of your pants’ waistband. Well now, diabetes researchers have found a surprisingly helpful use for that fat, incorporating into a new healing protocol for diabetic ulcers!
For those who aren’t aware, diabetic ulcers form from wounds, which are simply injuries that involve a break in the skin. Wounds that do not heal in a timely fashion can become chronic non-healing wounds, also known as ulcers, which can cause pain, discomfort and limited mobility. For people with diabetes, ulcers and wounds are a main cause of forming diabetic foot infections, which can put the limb at risk.
In this new course of treatment for diabetic ulcers, currently being tested in North London’s Royal Free Hospital, patients are given a local anaesthetic in their muffin top area and beside their wound. Using a large syringe, the doctors extract fat tissue from the abdomen then spin the tissue rapidly in a centrifuge, allowing active stem cells to separate from the tissue’s other cells. During the procedure, doctors also collect a patient’s blood sample in order to extract platet-rich plasma (concentrated blood cells known for their healing properties.) The wound is then cleaned, and the plasma and stem cells are injected into the ulcer using a new needle. After just 30 minutes, the patient is free to return home.
Lead researcher Professor Ash Mosahebi says, “We are seeing wounds heal extremely quickly. With conventional treatments, such as creams and dressings, patients can be back and forth for years experiencing infections and may need to be prescribed antibiotics. Body fat is a rich source of stem cells, which several studies have shown have great potential in wound repair and in improving blood supply, but the regenerative power of fat and blood has not been fully realized yet.’
While this is still in its trial stage, you can bet I’ll be watching closely for further developments. I mean, a procedure that saves your feet and your waistline? Count me in!