FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After six years in the military, a stint as a semi-professional football player and the demands of his job at the Postal Service, 40-year old Dwight Gifford struggled with knee pain.
“My job, my day-to-day functions as a postman, getting up and going down stairs, picking up packages, bending, stooping, all those normal activities we take for granted I go through pain all the time with,” Gifford said.
At the age of 74, Carmine DeSena, who served in the military and as a New York City police officer, said he’s in the same boat.
“You don’t know it but it kind of takes its toll on your knees and as you get older you start feeling a little sore and then you go to the doctor one day and he says, ‘Guess what? You’re near bone-on-bone,’” DeSena said.
Both men dreaded the idea of surgery to ease their knee pain and were surprised when Dr. Jorge Gonzalez offered them both free treatment with a device called Lipogem.
“Lipogem is a new cutting edge FDA approved medical device that uses the patients’ own fat. The fat is extracted and injected into troubled areas to help aid in the healing and repair of damaged tissues,” Gonzalez said.
The fat is harvested, filtered through a special process and then prepared for injection back into the patient.
“The fat has a ton of reparative cells and it’s the patient’s own tissue so because of that there’s less chance of rejection and infection,” Gonzalez said.
From start to finish the process takes about an hour-and-a-half and is done under local anesthesia.
“I felt no pain and it was a wonderful experience,” said DeSena.
In just a few days, patients are back on their feet.
“It’s a blessing. I’m really grateful I was chosen for this project,” said Gifford.
The procedure can be used for a variety of orthopedic concerns in patients who have not been helped by conservative approaches such as medication and physical therapy.