Stem Cell Therapy (BMAC Procedure)
The human body is constantly making stem cells in the bone marrow. These cells are directed to different areas of the body where they are needed for certain conditions and injuries.
The stem cell is an immature, undeveloped cell found in the bone marrow of bones such as the pelvis. There is evidence that stem cell treatments help to heal damaged tissues and stimulate the growth of new tissue. This is often referred to as “regenerative therapy”.
In essence, stem cell therapy is using your body’s own repair mechanisms to assist or stimulate healing and preservation of normal tissues of the body. This is applied in orthopedics for conditions of the muscle, ligaments, tendons, and articular cartilage of the joints, especially of the knee, shoulder, elbow, hip, and ankle at The Institute of Athletic Medicine.
Stem cells are most frequently obtained from the iliac crest bone of the pelvis. This area is rich in stem cells and typically patients have very little pain when the procedure is performed in this area through a very small 2mm incision under local anesthesia – numbing medication. It can be obtained with a small procedure in the office or in association with an outpatient orthopedic procedure at a surgery center.
The harvesting of stem cells from the bone marrow of the pelvis is FDA approved and tightly regulated to protect patients from less effective sources of stem cells. Although stem cells can be obtained from the placenta or umbilical cord, there are added risks from taking cells from other individuals such as disease transmission or unusual and unintended tissue growth. For these reasons, the great majority of stem cell procedures for orthopedic purposes are performed using the bone marrow aspiration from the iliac crest, also known as the BMAC or bone marrow aspirate concentrate procedure. Best results of stem cell therapy for orthopedic applications have been seen with the BMAC procedure as documented in clinical studies performed throughout the world.
Although the BMAC stem cell therapy procedure is frequently associated with the treatment of the elite professional athlete, it is now readily available to athletes and non-athletes alike of all ages. It is being employed to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions, some of which are listed here:
- Osteoarthritis of the knee, shoulder, elbow, hip and ankle
- Rotator cuff tears
- Ligament tears
- Muscle and tendon injuries
BMAC stem cell therapy research and clinical outcomes:
- There is evidence that these therapies can assist in the healing or rotator cuff tears, especially when combined with traditional arthroscopic treatment
- There is no evidence that simply injecting stem cells in shoulder with a complete rotator cuff tear will affect complete healing
- These therapies may alter the course of arthritis of the joints and delay the need for joint replacement when applied with other traditional therapies such as hyaluronic acid or gel injections, bracing, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.
BMAC stem cell therapy is a very safe procedure as has been shown in numerous studies around the world. As with any procedure, there are risks. The risks associated with a BMAC procedure include infection, swelling, abnormal tissue growth, and localized pain at the harvest site.
Common Orthobiologic Surgical Techniques
On average when did patients report having less pain with this treatment option?
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
PRP therapy is a procure where blood is drawn from a vein in the arm and centrifuged to separate the plasma from the blood. Plasma is the liquid part of your blood, and centrifuging the blood separates the plasma and all the growth factors that it contains rom the rest of the blood. This growth factor rich fluid or plasma can then be injected into a variety of tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and joints to assist in healing and decreasing pain and inflammation.
PRP injections can be used in addition to stem cell therapy and may add to the healing effects of the stem cell injection.
There are many clinical studies documenting the effectiveness of PRP therapy whether alone or in combination with other treatments such as stem cell therapy or hyaluronic acid injections / gel injections.