There are three separate procedures involved. The first two are done with you asleep (general anaesthetic)

Step 1: harvesting of the Stem cells

This is done by a procedure known as liposuction. This is not a cosmetic liposuction it is done only to harvest the cells. The specimen is then taken to the lab for the separation of the Stem Cells from the fat cells.

Mechanism of liposuction

Suction-assisted liposuction (SAL) Suction-assisted liposuction is the standard method of liposuction. In this approach, a small cannula (like a straw) is inserted through a small incision. It is attached to a vacuum device. The surgeon pushes and pulls it in a forwards and backwards motion, carefully through the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and drawing them out of the body by suction.


Since this is not a cosmetic liposuction and the amount of fat removed is small recovery should be quick. A compression device which can easily be removed by the patient is worn for two weeks. If non-absorbable sutures are placed, they will be removed after five to ten days. Any pain is controlled by a prescription or over-the-counter medication, and may last as long as two weeks, depending on the particular procedure. Bruising will fade after a few days or maybe as long as two weeks later. Swelling will subside with time. while numbness may last for several weeks. Normal activity can be resumed anywhere from several days.

Side effects

A side effect, as opposed to a complication, is medically minor, although it can be uncomfortable, annoying, and even painful.

  • Bruising: can be painful in the short term, and should fade after a few weeks.
  • Swelling: should subside gradually over a month or two.
  • Scars: will vary in size depending on the particular procedure, and should fade over the weeks. Scarring is an individual thing, partly dependent on heredity. For some, scar healing may take as long as a year.
  • Pain: should be temporary and controlled by either over-the-counter medication, or by a prescription.
  • Numbness: sometimes persists for a few weeks.

There could be various factors limiting movement for a short while, such as:

  • Wearing a compression garment
  • Temporary swelling or pain

Step 2: The arthroscopy is then performed on the knee


Arthroscopic surgery is used to correct mechanical problems within your knee joint. Unfortunately once the structures in your joint have become damaged failure to correct the damage will result in further deterioration of your knee.


The arthroscope is a pencil-thin tube containing light fibres and a means of transmitting a picture from inside the knee to a video camera. In addition the knee joint is filled with fluid to allow the arthroscope to be moved through the joint. The arthroscope is inserted through a small incision, less than 1cm long just below and on the outside of the knee cap. At least one other incision is made on the inside of the knee cap. Some times more than two incisions need to be made to insert the small instruments to carry out the actual surgical procedure.


In general SCAAS requires you to be in hospital for one day only. The degree of pain will vary from individual to individual, it is not just related to the procedure or the amount of work carried out. After surgery you should start your exercises, apply ice and make an appointment to see the physiotherapist as soon as possible after the operation

Step 3: Before you go home, the stem cells are injected into the knee

The stem cells come back from the lab within a few hours, ready to be injected into your knee after the surgery is complete. The dressings are then reapplied, and you’re seen by a physio before being discharged.

We recommend a follow-up appointment within 10-14 days so we can review your progress.