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Fat transfer rejuvenates hip of runner with no downtime

fat transfer saves runner's hip - Vanek Plastic Surgery

Marty had the hip of an 80-year-old—until a pain-free fat transfer procedure from Dr. Paul Vanek got him up and running again. Here is his remarkable story.

by Patricia Nugent, Mimi Vanderhaven magazine

The last thing an avid runner expects to hear from his doctor is, “You have the hip of an 80-year-old.”

So when 38-year-old Marty Mackar received that diagnosis following an MRI that indicated he suffered from arthritis and only one-third of the cartilage remained on his hip joint, the news was a jolt.

Photography: Benjamin Margalit.

Marty Mackar had his fat transfer last August. There was no downtime. In fact, he walked out of Dr. Paul Vanek’s office right after the procedure. “Afterward my hip felt 100% better.” — Marty MackarBack.

“I had pushed my body so hard, training for the Boston Marathon and playing lots of indoor soccer, that I tore a muscle,” he recalls. “But the MRI showed there was more going on than just the muscle, so I underwent surgery to address the advanced arthritis and resculpt the hip bone. Afterward there was still pain and stiffness. I was told I probably wouldn’t run again, which was devastating.”

Then his orthopedic doctor mentioned a break-through procedure performed by Dr. Paul Vanek of extracting structural fat from the abdomen and injecting this into joints to both cushion and lubricate, as well as regrow cartilage. He is one of a handful of doctors in Ohio to specialize in this transfer, which has shown remarkable success in reducing joint pain and increasing functionality and strength.

It has applications for joints, including the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows and wrists, that are affected by arthritis or tendonitis, and the effects of the procedure usually last one to two years, says Dr. Vanek.
He has perfected this technique over the past two years. And thanks to his background as a biochemist, biophysicist and researcher for the National Institute of Health, he is privy to emerging medical technologies and strives to bring them to Northeast Ohio.

Getting Back on Track

Marty underwent the fat transfer last August. “It was pain free thanks to a local anesthetic. I was awake the whole time while Dr. Vanek gently suctioned the fat from my belly.”

Dr. Vanek explains that the fat was then held in a container where it separates, “leaving the purified, stem-cell rich fat on the top layer like cream separated from milk. That was what we injected into his hip.”

There was no downtime. In fact, Marty walked out of the doctor’s office after the procedure.

“Afterward my hip felt 100 percent better,” he says. “Though there are remaining issues with my groin muscle healing from the first surgery, my ultimate goal is to be back on the track running and training.”

Marty says the fat transfer procedure with Dr. Vanek and his staff was a wonderful experience, and that he was educated about every step of the process along the way.

Dr. Vanek believes that the warm and inviting atmosphere and attitude of his staff is what distinguishes his practice from others. He mentions, “Patients describe their experience here as comforting and nurturing, and I’m proud of that.”

In addition to improving functionality of patients’ joints with fat transfer procedures, as a plastic surgeon Dr. Vanek uses his surgical skills to perform a variety of esthetic rejuvenation procedures for body and face, from facelifts to neck lifts, brow lifts, eyelid lifts, rhinoplasty, breast augmentations/reductions or lifts, liposuction, tummy tucks and more. He also offers a variety of laser services and is the first in the area to offer the new Hydra Facial MD non-invasive anti-aging skin care treatment, now at an introductory $99 price.


Dr. Paul Vanek is double board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery, and is a Fellow of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. His offices are easily accessible from I-90, located at 9485 Mentor Avenue, Suite 100, in Mentor. For more information, call 440-205-5750 or visit MentorPlasticSurgery.com.

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