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Adipose-Derived Stem Cells: MFAT For Tendon Tears

Samuel G Oltman, ND, RMSK

Tendon tears can be debilitating injuries, causing pain, limited mobility, and a significant impact on daily life. However, there is a promising and groundbreaking therapy known as Micro-Fragmented Adipose Tissue (MFAT) that utilizes adipose-derived stem cells to accelerate the healing process for tendon tears. In this article, we will explore the remarkable potential of MFAT in harnessing the healing power of adipose-derived stem cells to repair and regenerate damaged tendons.

Understanding Tendon Tears:

Tendons are strong, fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones, enabling movement and providing stability. However, tendon tears can occur due to overuse, trauma, or age-related degeneration. Traditional treatment methods for tendon tears often involve rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgical intervention. While these approaches can yield positive results, they may not always fully restore the tendon's strength and functionality.

The Breakthrough: MFAT Therapy with Adipose-Derived Stem Cells

MFAT therapy represents a significant breakthrough in the field of tendon tear healing by utilizing micro-fragmented adipose tissue, which contains a high concentration of adipose-derived stem cells. These cells possess remarkable regenerative potential and can promote tissue repair and regeneration, as seen in many small studies that have recently been published (1,2,3,4). I also have personally treated numerous patients over the years whose tears have fully resolved using MFAT therapy, confirmed with imaging, mostly in rotator cuff tendon and achilles tendon tears.

Tendon tear, stem cell, mfat

How MFAT Therapy Works:

MFAT therapy begins with the collection of adipose tissue through a minimally invasive liposuction. The collected fat is then minimally processed using specialized equipment to produce micro-fragments, which contain a concentrated mixture of adipose-derived stem cells, growth factors, and other beneficial components. This micro-fragmented adipose tissue is then injected precisely into the site of the tendon tear using ultrasound guidance, stimulating the healing process.

Benefits of MFAT Therapy for Tendon Tear Healing:

  • Regenerative Potential: The micro-fragmented adipose tissue used in MFAT therapy contains a high number of adipose-derived stem cells. These stem cells have the ability to differentiate into various cell types and promote tissue repair, leading to enhanced tendon healing.

  • Anti-inflammatory Effects: MFAT therapy helps reduce inflammation in the injured tendon over the long term. The adipose-derived stem cells release anti-inflammatory factors, creating an environment that supports healing and reduces pain and swelling.

  • Improved Tissue Quality: The introduction of micro-fragmented adipose tissue promotes the synthesis of collagen, the primary structural protein in tendons. This leads to the formation of stronger and more organized tissue, restoring the tendon's strength and functionality.

  • Minimally Invasive Approach: MFAT therapy is a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgical procedures for tendon tear healing. This reduces the risks associated with surgery, shortens recovery time, and eliminates the need for extensive post-operative rehabilitation.

  • Personalized Treatment: Each individual's adipose tissue contains a unique pool of stem cells that come from YOU. With MFAT therapy, the micro-fragmented adipose tissue can be customized to match your specific needs, optimizing the treatment and potentially enhancing the healing response.

The utilization of adipose-derived stem cells in MFAT therapy represents a significant advancement in the healing of tendon tears. By harnessing the regenerative potential of adipose-derived stem cells, MFAT therapy promotes faster and more effective recovery, improves tissue quality, and reduces inflammation. As research continues to progress, MFAT therapy holds immense promise in revolutionizing tendon tear treatment, offering hope and restored functionality to individuals facing this challenging injury. Contact us today to learn more about how Dr. Oltman and MFAT therapy could help you.


  1. Senesi L, De Francesco F, Marchesini A, et al. Efficacy of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells and stromal vascular fraction alone and combined to biomaterials in tendinopathy or tendon injury: systematic review of current concepts. Medicina. 2023;59(2):273.

  2. Marathe A, Song B, Jayaram P. Microfragmented adipose tissue with adjuvant platelet-rich plasma combination therapy for partial-thickness supraspinatus tear. Cureus. 13(6):e15583.

  3. Iuso AM, Pacik D, Martin J, Oakes D, Malanga GA. Adipose cellular injection in the treatment of an intrasubstance Achilles tendon defect: a case report. Regenerative Medicine. 2022;17(11):835-843.

  4. Kokubu S, Inaki R, Hoshi K, Hikita A. Adipose-derived stem cells improve tendon repair and prevent ectopic ossification in tendinopathy by inhibiting inflammation and inducing neovascularization in the early stage of tendon healing. Regen Ther. 2020;14:103-110.


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