BMAC therapy is a regenerative treatment for healing and pain management. This non-surgical regenerative therapy is a relatively new procedure, so many patients are left with questions about what BMAC therapy is and how it works.
What is BMAC therapy?
BMAC (Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate) therapy is a non-invasive outpatient procedure that our physicians perform in the office, so patients should be in and out of the office within a few hours. Bone marrow aspirate is directly obtained from a bone called the iliac crest (commonly known as the hip bone). BMAC therapy is known as a stem cell-based therapy because bone marrow houses stem cells, which can form new cells such as bone, cartilage and muscle. A special needle is used to gather the bone marrow. This needle is able to collect a high concentration of stem cells from a patient’s marrow. The newly concentrated stem cells are then injected into the problematic area to stimulate cell regeneration.
The major benefits of this regenerative therapy are:
- Decreased pain
- May heal chronic injuries
- Alternative to surgical intervention
- Increased healing potential
- May eliminate the need for long-term medication
- Faster recovery time
- May repair previous injuries
How does BMAC therapy compare to cortisone injections?
Studies have shown that cortisone injections may actually weaken tissue. Cortisone shots do provide temporary pain relief but do not promote long-term healing. BMAC therapy heals and strengthens tendons and ligaments in a way that cortisone does not. While many physicians are still relying heavily on cortisone injections, a growing number of physicians are using either BMAC therapy or PRP therapy.
How long does it take to feel the benefits of BMAC therapy?
Most patients notice some level of improvement within 2-6 weeks, sometimes sooner, but the amount of time will vary by patient. Patients can expect a decrease in pain and an increase in strength and stability. It is common for patients to require only a single injection of BMAC to feel positive results, but some patients will require a second or third injection.
Is BMAC therapy right for me?
BMAC therapy is recommended for patients who have tried other types of treatment and are ready to attempt a new method. It is also for patients who are seeking treatment but have concerns about surgery and other more invasive procedures.
This regenerative therapy procedure is an all-natural alternative to surgical intervention for individuals suffering from:
- Cervical facet pain
- Thoracic facet pain
- Lumbar facet pain
- Sacroiliac joints
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Plantar fascitis
- Sports injuries
- Trigger points
Unfortunately, patients with the following conditions are not candidates for this procedure:
- Platelet dysfunction syndrome
- Critical thrombocytopenia
- Bone cancer
Patients who have recently received a cortisone injection are also unable to receive this procedure. We do not provide BMAC therapy for women who are pregnant.
Is BMAC therapy painful?
We use local anesthesia to reduce patient discomfort and ensure a quality experience. Pain levels vary by patient but no patient should experience serious pain.
BMAC therapy is an outpatient and minimally invasive procedure that is completed within only a few hours, so patients often have a comfortable visit. Physicians will usually communicate with the patient while the procedure is taking place to be sure that discomfort is minimal.
Patients often feel sore for 1-2 weeks after the procedure, but time may vary.
Does BMAC therapy work?
As a newer regenerative treatment, BMAC therapy is still being studied and new research is still ongoing. Several publications and peer reviewed journals have shown the efficacy of BMAC therapy, and new research continues to be pursued and published to prove the validity of BMAC therapy.
Before the procedure
Before scheduling the procedure, a physician will perform an evaluation to determine if BMAC therapy is an appropriate treatment for the patient. A physician will ask the patient questions and perform several tests to be sure that BMAC therapy is right for the patient.
Patients need to discontinue use of NSAIDS 5-7 days prior to the procedure. Also, patients should continue use of other blood thinners unless directed by their physician.
After the procedure
Because the procedure involves anesthetics, patients will need to have someone drive them home after the procedure. They may be given an analgesic prescription and in most cases a 4-6 week physical therapy course is prescribed. Patients may experience some soreness at the site of the injection, but this often dissipates within a week. Most individuals can return to normal activities within 72 hours, while the length of time to return to athletic activities averages anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Patients cannot take NSAIDs or steroids for two weeks following the procedure.
Are you or a loved one experiencing pain? Deuk Spine Institute is always accepting new patient inquiries. To learn more about BMAC therapy, contact us or give us a call at 1-800-FIX-MY-BACK.
1. Coombes BK, Bisset L, Vicenzino B. Efficacy and safety of corticosteroid injections and other injections for management of tendinopathy: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. The Lancet. 2010;376(9754):1751-1767. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(10)61160-9.
2. Chahla J, Dean CS, Moatshe G, Pascual-Garrido C, Cruz RS, Laprade RF. Concentrated Bone Marrow Aspirate for the Treatment of Chondral Injuries and Osteoarthritis of the Knee. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;4(1):232596711562548. doi:10.1177/2325967115625481.