Television Star Undergoes Stem Cell Therapy for Back Injury

Posted on May 31, 2018


Tarek El Moussa, the star of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop,” recently underwent fat stem cell therapy for a severe back injury that left him nearly unable to walk.

The 36-year old El Moussa injured his back before this year’s premiere of the popular home renovation series. This was the second back injury El Moussa has suffered; he experienced a debilitating back injury in 2017.

He has also undergone treatment for testicular and thyroid cancer in recent years.

The stem cell treatment El Moussa chose is known as stromal vascular fraction, or SVF.

“During SVF treatment, stem cells are collected from the adipose (fat) tissue of the patient using a specialized liposuction,” said Dr. Joel Singer, a New York stem cell physician.

After the stem cells are collected, they are spun to separate them from blood, tissue and other cells.

SVF collection yields millions of stem cells compared to other stem cell treatments, such as bone marrow collection.

“Once separated, they are returned to the patient through injection or intravenous (IV) delivery,” Singer said.

Once injected, the stem cells go to work.

Stem cells have the powerful ability to repair tissue damaged by disease or injury. Stem cells also can reproduce themselves without limit, creating new tissue.

“Back injuries are fairly common, and the most common types of back injuries include sprains and strains, herniated disks and fractured vertebrae,” Singer said.

Back injuries often occur because of heavy lifting, sports injuries or from working around the house or trauma like a fall or car accident. Back injuries can also develop because of sitting or a sedentary lifestyle.

No matter the cause, back injuries often mean pain and limited motion. Without treatment, these effects can become worse and even make walking, standing up and lying down difficult.

Conventional treatments for back pain include pain relievers and muscle relaxers, ice and heat, bed rest, and physical therapy. Extreme injuries may also require surgery.

“While these treatments may bring back-injury sufferers relief, it is often just temporary because they do not fix the source of the injury: damaged tissue,” Singer said.

SVF therapy can treat the heart of the matter by reducing inflammation and pain at the injury site.

“The ability to actually heal tissues sets stem cell therapy apart from other medical treatments,” Singer said.

Stem cell therapy has proven useful for a variety of medical conditions, including the treatment of joint injuries caused by trauma or osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition caused when the cartilage wears away, causing bone to rub against bone.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis affects around 27 million Americans.

“Osteoarthritis typically develops in older people but can affect individuals of all ages as a result of injury or repetitive use,” Singer said.

Stem cell therapy is also beneficial for other health conditions such as chronic heart and lung conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“Stem cell therapy benefits individuals who are living with heart disease and COPD the same way it helps people living with back injuries or degenerative joint conditions; it reduces inflammation and helps regenerate healthy tissue,” Singer said.

These benefits have also made stem cell therapy an excellent option for individuals diagnosed with an autoimmune condition such as lupus, myasthenia gravis or multiple sclerosis.

“Many autoimmune diseases do not respond to conventional treatment. Some autoimmune diseases have no treatment – just symptom management,” Singer said.

According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, one in five Americans has an autoimmune disease. Many of these conditions affect the joints, muscles and organs. All autoimmune diseases cause inflammation.

“Reducing inflammation and healing damaged tissues can help individuals with autoimmune conditions see improvements in their quality of life,” Singer said.


Sources: ‘Flip or Flop’ star Tarek El Moussa undergoing stem-cell therapy for back injury. 10 May 2018.

AARDA. How many Americans have an autoimmune disease? 29 April 2017.

Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis Facts.



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